Before you do anything else, you might want to read a timeline of the most important events in the history of climate change science…




The science clearly linking climate change to human activity has been confirmed repeatedly for over 50 years. To quote from NASA, “Multiple studies published in peer-reviewed scientific journals show that 97 percent or more of actively publishing climate scientists agree that climate-warming trends over the past century are extremely likely due to human activities.” 

During the same 50 years a fossil-fuel supported misinformation campaign has fought back, misleading the public and affecting the education of children and the legislation desperately needed. The IPCC (the United Nations) and the NCA (the US Federal Government) have issued report after report, often reporting that previous assessments had been too optimistic or that scientists had actually underestimated the pace and severity of the climate problem. 

Most of the leading scientific organizations throughout the world have issued public statements endorsing the position that climate change has been caused by human action.

In November, 2019, on the 40th anniversary of the world’s first climate conference, 11,000 scientists from 153 nations declared, in a Bioscience report, “clearly and unequivocally that planet Earth is facing a climate emergency and that we must change how we live.” The scientists say the urgent changes needed include ending population growth, leaving fossil fuels in the ground, halting forest destruction, and slashing meat eating.

As you explore the different sections in SCIENCE, you will find that climate change has created a web of interconnected relationships that are compounding the consequences we face. 

Setting records for the number of storms and wildfires, the contiguous USA ranked fifth warmest during 2020, according to a report issued by the NCEI, published on January 8, 2021.

Looking for a searchable chronology of climate-change events dating from 1824  to the present? Look no further, thanks to the University of Maine’s Sharon Tisher.

This visualization shows monthly global temperature anomalies (changes from an average) between the years 1880 and 2021. Whites and blues indicate cooler temperatures, while oranges and reds show warmer temperatures. As you can see, global temperatures have warmed from mainly human activities as time has progressed.
These temperatures are based on data from NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS). Anomalies are defined relative to a base period of 1951 to 1980. The data file used to create this visualization can be accessed here.



Climate Change 2021The Physical Science Basis Summary for Policymakers

This Summary for Policymakers (SPM) presents key findings of the Working Group I (WGI) contribution to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Sixth Assessment Report (AR6)1

Climate Time Machine

This visualization shows the annual Arctic sea ice minimum since 1979. At the end of each summer, the sea ice cover reaches its minimum extent, leaving what is called the perennial ice cover. The area…

Earth Observing Dashboard

Global environmental changes observed by NASA, ESA, and JAXA . Here you can browse the Earth Observation datasets and use the interactive features, including maps that compute simple analytics by drawing an area of interest.…

State of the Global Climate Observing System 2021

As the impacts of a warming climate become more evident, there is an ever-increasing demand for more detailed information on climate change, both to explain and project changes and to help planning and implementing adaptation…

Video: Global Warming from 1880 to 2020

Earth’s global average surface temperature in 2020 tied with 2016 as the warmest year on record, according to an analysis by NASA. Continuing the planet’s long-term warming trend, the year’s globally averaged temperature was 1.84…

Making climate impact science more accessible to the public: ISIpedia launch

Decision-makers on all levels are provided with a new tool to tackle the climate challenge. Data and explanations on global warming impacts – from floods to droughts - are made more accessible to the public…

How Scientists Are Using the International Space Station to Study Earth’s Climate

On Earth, we often look toward the sky, longing to know what resides in the rest of the universe. Meanwhile, 250 miles above our planet, the International Space Station is looking back.

Understanding Climate Change

JPL scientists study Earth’s changing climate, focusing on four broad themes: icy regions; the movement of water between sea, air, and land; greenhouse gas emissions and absorption; and our world’s ecosystems.

Climate at a glance

Look up monthly rankings for 1-12, 18, 24, 36, 48, and 60-month time periods using this tool from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Less than 2 °C warming by 2100 unlikely

Our model is not a ‘business as usual’ scenario, but rather is based on data which already show the effect of emission mitigation policies. Achieving the goal of less than 1.5 °C warming will require carbon…

Reduced dividends on natural capital?

Natural capital provides the world’s population with a variety of critical services. These include ecosystem services (providing goods such as food, fiber, fuel, water, and wood), regulating environmental conditions (by controlling pollution, protecting against natural…

NOAA’s Weather and Climate Toolkit

NOAA's Weather and Climate Toolkit (WCT) is free, platform independent software distributed from NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI). The WCT allows the visualization and data export of weather and climate data, including Radar,…

Climate Impacts Group

The Climate Impacts Group provides a range of technical resources that can be used to help address climate impacts.

Climate Adaptation Science Centers

The CASCs develop data and tools that address the informational needs of natural and cultural resource managers.

Data Snapshots: Reusable Climate Maps

This visual catalog with convenient filtering options can help you find the climate data you need. How-to instructions can help you navigate data access tools.


Science is under siege. Anti-science groups and individuals seek to delegitimize, interfere with, and undermine facts and evidence that threaten their financial interests and ideological beliefs. Aggressive legal action, harassment, and even death threats are…

Greenhouse Gas Bulletin

The State of Greenhouse Gases in the Atmosphere Based on Global Observations through 2018

Climate Central

Extreme Weather Videos

A Look at 2018: Takeaway Points from the State of the Climate Supplement

A snapshot of salient events and trends affecting the global climate, the global oceans, the tropics, the Arctic, Antarctica, and regional climates.

Massachusetts raises 2050 waste reduction target, may expand organics ban

A new draft solid waste master plan from the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) calls for a 30% reduction in annual disposal by 2030 and a 90% reduction by 2050. An estimated 5.7 million…


The IPCC provides regular assessments of the scientific basis of climate change, its impacts and future risks, and options for adaptation and mitigation. Created in 1988 by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the United…

World Scientists’ Warning of a Climate Emergency

Scientists have a moral obligation to clearly warn humanity of any catastrophic threat and to “tell it like it is.” On the basis of this obligation and the graphical indicators presented below, we declare, with…

Following are a series of videos, dating back to 1956, collected by Peter Sinclair.



Scientists in Antarctica discover a vast, salty groundwater system under the ice sheet – with implications for sea level rise

By Matthew Siegfries & Others   05/05/22  
A new discovery deep beneath one of Antarctica’s rivers of ice could change scientists’ understanding of how the ice flows, with important implications for estimating future sea level rise.

April sets record for highest CO2 levels in human history

By Andrew Freedman  Photo: Indranil Aditya/NurPhoto via Getty Images   05/04/22  
Levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere reached the highest levels on record for any calendar month during April, averaging 420 parts per million (ppm) for the first time since observations began in 1958, according…

Over 1,000 scientists from around the world take to the streets

By Alejandra O'Connell-Domenech   04/15/22  
The protest came after a report from the UN stated humanity only has three more years to curb greenhouse gas emissions and avoid climate-related disasters...

‘It’s Not Political to Tell the Truth’: Scientists Arrested Over Climate Protests

By Angely Mercado  Photo: Thomas Krych , Getty Images   04/15/22  
Soil scientist Rose Abramoff has long tried to be “apolitical,” she says, in her efforts to educate people about climate change: She’s supported efforts at non-profits and fact-checked materials for organizations, for example, alongside writing…

Climate scientist on hunger strike ‘after being refused bail’

By Samuel Webb   04/14/22  
A scientist who was arrested during a climate change protest is on hunger strike after being denied bail, it has been claimed. Activist group Extinction Rebellion claims Emma Smart, an ecologist, was detained on Thursday…

Polar science threatens to crack under strain of Russia’s war in Ukraine

By Alison Snyder and Andrew Freedman  Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios   04/07/22  
Crucial scientific projects in the Arctic are in limbo — and their progress is under threat — as Russia becomes more isolated from the world for its invasion of Ukraine. Why it matters: These research…

U.N. report outlines possible solutions for climate change and its societal impact

By Evan Bush   04/05/22  
From wildfires to sea level rise and heat waves, climate change is having a dramatic impact on the environment and people’s health and well-being. So what can the world do about it? That’s the focus…

UN warns Earth ‘firmly on track toward an unlivable world’

By Frank Jordans and Seth Borenstein  Photo: Michael Probst/AP Photo   04/05/22  
Temperatures on Earth will shoot past a key danger point unless greenhouse gas emissions fall faster than countries have committed, the world’s top body of climate scientists said Monday, warning of the consequences of inaction…

The world is running out of options to hit climate goals, U.N. report shows

By Sarah Kaplan and Brady Dennis  Photo: Miguel Riopa/AFP/Getty Images   04/04/22  
With the world on track to blaze past its climate goals, only immediate, sweeping societal transformation can stave off catastrophic warming. The world is on track to blaze past a crucial climate target within eight…

Renewables Are Key to Cutting Emissions Over Next Decade, U.N. Panel Says

By Nidhi Subbaraman  Photo: Theo Stroomer   04/04/22  
Countries must make major, rapid shifts away from fossil fuels and to renewable energy to meet the goals in the 2015 Paris agreement, climate experts tapped by the United Nations said in a report...

‘It’s now or never’: UN climate report shows globe is on ‘track toward an unlivable world’

By Doyle Rice and Dinah Voyles Pulver  Photo: Michael Probst/AP Photo   04/04/22  
The time for talk has passed and the time to act is now, according to a new United Nations report on how to curb the worst consequences of climate change. Rapid mitigation measures – reductions…

Climate action is a ‘now or never’ situation, IPCC warns

By Sara Kiley Watson  Photo: Dan Meyers/Unsplash   04/04/22  
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released the third chapter of the Sixth Assessment Report covering climate mitigation. And its findings are grim. United Nations secretary general António Guterres called it a “litany of…

We have the tools to save the planet from climate change. Politics is getting in the way, new IPCC report says

By Isabella Isaacs-Thomas   04/04/22  
We have the knowledge, money, technology and affordable clean energy that we need to cut our carbon emissions in half by 2030. That’s the good news from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Working Group…

IPCC: For climate goals, it’s ‘now or never’

By Chelsea Harvey  Photo: Jes Aznar/Getty Images   04/04/22  
For decades, the key to halting climate change has been clear: The world must reduce net greenhouse gas emissions down to zero. Now, a comprehensive new U.N. climate report summarizes years of studies from climate…

UN calls for ‘substantial reduction’ in fossil fuels to limit climate change

By Rachel Frazin  Photo: Martin Meissner/AP Photo   04/04/22  
The United Nations’ climate change panel is calling for a “substantial reduction” in the global use of fossil fuels in order to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. Warning there is limited time to…

‘We are at a crossroads’: New IPCC report says it’s fossil fuels or our future

By Lina Tran and Joseph Winters  Photo: Federico Gambarini/Getty Images   04/04/22  
Nations have moved too slowly to curb climate change, and now must take swift and aggressive steps if they hope to avoid the worst impacts of global warming, the world’s top scientists warned on Monday.…

New UN Climate Report Outlines Failure of Existing Policies, Need for Rapid Emissions Cuts

The world must make immediate and drastic cuts to carbon emissions to keep warming to under 1.5 degrees C, according to a new report from the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Existing policies…

‘It’s Now Or Never’: We Have 3 Years to Reverse Course, Major Climate Report Finds

By Molly Taft  Photo: Michael Probst/AP Photo   04/04/22  
In order to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, the world needs to make a serious U-turn over the next three years to curb our emissions, a stark new report finds. It’s possible to…

‘A file of shame’: Major UN climate report shows world is on track for catastrophic levels of warming

By Dharna Noor  Photo: Mike Eliason/Associated Press   04/04/22  
The world is on track to usher in a devastating level of global warming, warns a major report from the world’s leading climate scientists. “It is a file of shame, cataloguing the empty pledges that…

Stopping Climate Change Is Doable, but Time Is Short, U.N. Panel Warns

By Brad Plumer and Raymond Zhong  Photo: Michael Sohn/Associated Press   04/04/22  
Nations need to move away much faster from fossil fuels to retain any hope of preventing a perilous future on an overheated planet, according to a major new report on climate change released on Monday,…

Revolutionary changes in transportation could slow global warming

By Alan Jenn  Photo: Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images   04/04/22  
Around the world, revolutionary changes are under way in transportation. More electric vehicles are on the road, people are taking advantage of sharing mobility services such as Uber and Lyft, and the rise in telework…

5 takeaways from the U.N. report on limiting global warming

By Raymond Zhong  Photo: Dan Peled/Getty Images   04/04/22  
Nations are not doing nearly enough to prevent global warming from increasing to dangerous levels within the lifetimes of most people on Earth today, according to a new report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate…

NCAR Fire forced evacuation of 8,000 homes in Boulder

By Nate Lynn   03/27/22  
About 8,000 homes were ordered to evacuate due to a fast-moving wildfire burning in an open space near the U.S. National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder on Saturday afternoon.

Tree rings from centuries past may help reveal a warming planet’s future

By Karen Peterson  Photo: Cassidy Araiza for The Washington Post   03/23/22  
Each specimen in a strangely beautiful “treehouse” laboratory here tells a story of resilience — from droughts and floods to catastrophic wildfires and bitter winters, some occurring thousands of years ago.

U.N. secretary general says global climate target ‘is on life support’

By Brady Dennis  Photo: Alastair Grant/AP   03/21/22  
‘The science is clear. So is the math,’ António Guterres said Monday, imploring world leaders to act with more urgency to cut the greenhouse gas pollution fueling climate change.

Astronomy’s contribution to climate change rivals the emissions from some countries

By Nell Greenfield Boyce   03/21/22  
Astronomers spend their careers looking up at the sky, away from Earth, but now some stargazers say their field has to grapple with the fact that observing the cosmos is contributing to their home planet's…

Thicker than Water

By Erica Cirino   02/22/22  
Erica Cirino is a science writer, author, and artist exploring the intersection of the human and nonhuman worlds. Her widely published photojournalistic works depict the numerous ways people connect to nature—and each other—and shape planet…

Scientists agree: Climate change is real and caused by people

by Samantha Harrington  Photo: Western Arctic National Parklands / CC BY 2.0   02/17/22  
Scientific academies, professional societies, associations, governmental and nongovernmental organizations and published research worldwide are aligned.

How hot will the planet get? Public opinion is key factor, finds study

By Sofia Quaglia  Photo: Rodger Bosch , Getty Images   02/16/22  
Scientists have modelled thousands of possible futures, and found that different social attitudes could make the difference between a temperature increase of just 1.8C or 3.6C by the end of the 21st century.

Lichens Could Need More Than a Million Years to Adapt to Climate Change

By Jack Tamisiea  Photo: Matthew P. Nelsen   02/15/22  
Often mistaken for primitive plants such as moss (if they are even noticed in the first place), lichens are actually not plants at all. They are a group of versatile symbiotic life-forms that play crucial…

More than 450 scientists call on PR and ad firms to cut their ties with fossil fuel clients

By Steven Mufson  Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images   01/19/22  
The public relations giant Edelman vaulted to the top of its profession with clever campaigns that burnished the images of leading corporations. Now, under fire for its work on behalf of fossil fuel companies, Edelman…

New NASA chief scientist to focus on climate change

By Jeff Foust  Photo: NASA/Bill Ingalls   01/12/22  
NASA has hired a climate scientist as its new chief scientist, a move that reflects the greater emphasis the agency is placing on climate change studies. NASA announced Jan. 10 that it selected Katherine Calvin…

1 big thing: Wildfire hits tight-knit climate science community

By Ben German and Andrew Freedman  Photo: RJ Sangosti , Getty Images   01/03/22  
The wind-whipped firestorm that tore through parts of Boulder County, Colorado, on Thursday struck at the heart of one of America's top climate science and meteorology research hubs, Andrew writes.

Next Year Is Forecast to Be One of the Warmest on Record

By Todd Gilespie  Photo: Mario Tama , Getty Images   12/21/21  
The world will probably have one of the warmest years on record in 2022, underscoring concerns about the need to tackle climate change.

NASA to Launch 4 Earth Science Missions in 2022

By Alison Gold  Photo: Orbital ATK   12/13/21  
NASA will launch four Earth science missions in 2022 to provide scientists with more information about fundamental climate systems and processes, including extreme storms, surface water and ocean, and atmospheric dust. Scientists will discuss the…

Assessing the U.S. climate in November 2021

By the National Centers for Environmental Information  Graphic: nClimGrid   12/08/21  
For November, the contiguous U.S. average temperature was 45.2°F, 3.5°F above the 20th-century average, ranking seventh warmest in the November record. During meteorological autumn (September-November), the average temperature for the Lower 48 was 56.7°F, 3.1°F…

Measuring Green Growth: Global Sustainable Competitiveness Index 2021

By Solability   11/19/21  
The Global Sustainable Competitiveness Index (GSCI), published since 2012, is the most comprehensive measurement of national development and green growth. The GSCI is calculated based on present and past performance in 131 quantitative indicators derived…

2C or 1.5C? How global climate targets are set and what they mean

By Adam Taylor and Harry Stevens  Photo: The Washington Post   11/10/21  
How much warming can the world bear? That question is one of the fundamental issues in dispute at the ongoing U.N. climate change summit, known as COP26, in Glasgow, Scotland.

When Kilauea Erupted, a New Volcanic Playbook Was Written

By Robin George Andrews  Photo: Ruth Fremson/The New York Times   11/09/21  
Back in the summer of 2018, Wendy Stovall stood and stared into the heart of an inferno. Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano had been continuously erupting in one form or another since 1983. But from May to…

Extreme Makeover: Human Activities Are Making Some Extreme Events More Frequent or Intense

By Alan Buis  Photo: Régine Fabri   11/08/21  
The year 2021 has seen a flurry of extreme events around the globe. Among the many that have captured headlines so far this year:

This Groundbreaking Simulator Generates a Huge Indoor Ocean

By Matt Simon  Photo: Stuart Westmorland/Getty Images   10/26/21  
It’s a 32,000-gallon concrete tank with a wind tunnel grafted on top. With it, researchers can study the seas—and climate change—like never before.

Geoscientists, Who Have Documented the Rapid and Accelerating Climate Crisis for Decades, Are Now Pleading for Immediate Collective Action

By Gabriel Filippelli and others   10/26/21  
Our planet is in crisis! The latest report of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC AR6) confirms that human influence is causing widespread, rapid, and intensifying changes in our weather and climate…

More than 99.9% of studies agree: Humans caused climate change

By Krishna Ramanujan   10/19/21  
More than 99.9% of peer-reviewed scientific papers agree that climate change is mainly caused by humans, according to a new survey of 88,125 climate-related studies. The research updates a similar 2013 paper revealing that 97%…

Increasing the participation of women in the climate change debate, including as leaders, is essential for a carbon-zero future

By Marlene Kanga   10/19/21  
Marlene Kanga, past President of the World Federation of Engineering Organizations, argues that only an inclusive approach to addressing climate change – one that includes more women’s voices – can accelerate the changes we need.

The Surprising Truth Behind Planting Trees and Climate Change

As a forestry student, I feel like this does a good job at talking about carbon storage in mature forests. I am also happy that they tackled canopy closure. I would like to see them…

Companies ‘Missing The Moment’ On Climate — Report

None of America’s largest “climate positive” corporations are fully supporting the country’s biggest and best legislative opportunity in over a decade to address the climate crisis and move toward alignment with the Paris Agreement, a…

NOAA upgrades climate website amid growing demand for climate information

NOAA’s Climate Program Office today launched a newly redesigned version of, NOAA’s award-winning, flagship website that provides the public with clear, timely, and science-based information about climate. The redesign expands the site’s already significant…

Physics Nobel goes to complexity, both general and climatic

By Jennifer Ouellette and John Timmer   10/06/21  
Complex behavior is all around us. Think of something like the economy. It has many components, each with its own set of rules and all of them interacting in complicated ways. Trying to follow what's…

How climate models got so accurate they earned a Nobel Prize

By Kieran Mulvaney   10/06/21  
Climate modelers are having a moment. Last month, Time Magazine listed two of them—Friederike Otto and Geert Jan van Oldenborg of the World Weather Attribution Project—among the 100 Most Influential People of 2021. Two weeks…

Nobel Prize in Physics Awarded for Study of Humanity’s Role in Changing Climate

By Cade Metz, Marc Santora and Cora Engelbrecht  Photo: Jonathan Nackstrand   10/05/21  
Three scientists received the Nobel Prize in Physics on Tuesday for work that is essential to understanding how the Earth’s climate is changing, pinpointing the effect of human behavior on those changes and ultimately predicting…