Climate system

This material was originally created for Starting Point:Introductory Geology
and is replicated here as part of the SERC Pedagogic Service.

  • A Complete Guide to CLimate Change. This guide to global climate change is a resource for geology, geography and environmental science students. It is not a complete guide but serves to review and illustrate the key factors of climate change over time and space. Each chapter is a broadly self-contained discussion of a specific sub-issue of importance. Chapters 1 and 2 review the climate system and the causes of climate change. Chapter 3 discusses the methods used to construct climatological time series from various instrumental data, and the reconstruction of palaeoclimates (past climates) from proxy data, while Chapter 4 reviews the use of climate models in attempting to understand the climate system and climate change. Finally, Chapters 5 and 6 are concerned with the topics of palaeoclimatology and contemporary climate change respectively. An extensive list of references is also included. ( This site may be offline. )
  • Climate Monitor Online. Climate Monitor Online combines regular updates of climate and meteorological data with commentaries from the worlds press and media. Monthly weather summaries (from 1998-present) for the world and visualizations of times series for the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), Southern Oscillation Index (SOI), global and hemispheric temperatures, and Jenkinson (Lamb) weather types are provided. This site connects with a newswatch that has the latest reported meteorological issues, as well as links to many other weather sites. (more info)
  • Global Change Course at Iowa State University . This website offers a complete course on the topic of global change. The authors have compiled pertinent information in the form of summary information, images, and suggested readings. The topics are subdivided into three blocks. The first block, Climate and Agents of Global Change, sets the foundation for understanding global change through observations of global mean temperature and trends in carbon dioxide. The second block, Models and Measurements of Global Change, focuses on climate modeling, the limitations of models and what we can learn from them. Block three, The Biosphere and Human Component of Global Change, addresses the impact by humans through population, deforestation, and desertification. (more info)
  • Global Climate Maps. The global climate maps presented here are based on data for mean monthly values of temperature, precipitation and cloudiness prepared in 1991 by R. Leemans and W. Cramer and published by the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis. Global maps can be viewed for rainfall, temperature and sunshine fraction. For each of these parameters, the data can be displayed as the average annual or monthly value, or an animation of each month of the year. Several maps show the world climate according to the Koeppen classification system, which classifies climates as tropical, dry, temperate, cold, and polar. In addition, there are maps of biomass potential. The maps on this website would be useful for research or presentations; the animations are especially effective for showing seasonal changes across the globe. The data and maps can also be downloaded and manipulated with the WinDisp software, which is available for download. ( This site is likely no longer available. )
  • National Water and Climate Center. This branch of the National Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) leads the development and transfer of water and climate information and technology which support natural resources conservation. The NWCC website contains various types of data such as precipitation maps, climate data, water supply forecasts, drought reports, stream flow data, soil types and temperature, and snow pack data. Some of the data is in the form of interactive maps or graphs that can be modified by the user. The Water Quality and Quantity Services section contains information, tools and policies regarding pest management, erosion control, wetlands, nutrient management, irrigation, animal waste management and hydraulics. There are also fact sheets on a range of topics such as wildfire, conservation buffers and snow surveys. (more info)
  • National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center. This site serves the public by assessing and forecasting the impacts of short-term climate variability, emphasizing enhanced risks of weather-related extreme events for use in mitigating losses and maximizing economic gains. It offers climate forecasts, drought and flood monitoring, hurricane outlooks, storm watches, and information on global climate events. There are assessments and outlooks for drought, hazards, climate and degree-days. Monthly and seasonal outlooks are available for temperature, precipitation, soil moisture, excessive heat and UV index. There are also reports and discussions of stratospheric ozone, El Nino and La Nina, and the climate of the Pacific Islands and Africa. (more info)
  • Radiocarbon Web-Info. This resource contains reference materials on the radiocarbon dating method. Beginning with a summarization of the method, descriptions of three principal means of measuring residual carbon14 (14C) activity follow, including gas proportional counting, liquid scintillation counting, and accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS). External sites concerning radiocarbon dating applications are then indexed by discipline (i.e., archaeology, oceanography, paleoenvironmental studies, radiocarbon calibration and dendrochronology, and paleoclimatology). An international link list follows, connecting the user to various related servers and any of 29 different laboratories involved in such research as isotope measurement and AMS. An introductory FAQ page can be found on the K-12 page. The Publication page outlines the recommendations and standards for publishing radiocarbon dates, announces international radiocarbon conferences, and includes a link to the site for the journal Radiocarbon. The Corrections page describes the influence on radiocarbon from reservoir effects and recent anthropogenic disturbances such as the Suess (or industrial) effect and the atom bomb effect. Age Calculation provides access to a 14C dating calculator tool (by which remaining 14C can be derived from an input of years and vice-versa), and also provides background on such matters as modern standards, background counts, conventional radiocarbon ages, age reporting, standard errors, and accuracy and precision. The Radiocarbon Calibration page has background on calibration conventions, programs and curves, and typical ranges, while the Pretreatment page contains descriptions of commonly carbon-date materials, sample pretreatment, contamination, treatment assessment, and chemical and physical pretreatment methods. Finally, a bibliography contains recommended books and citations. (more info)
  • The Climate System. The Climate System is a part of The Earth System course series (TESY) developed by Columbia University and Barnard College. It provides an integrated view of the climate component of the Earth's system. Topics covered include origin and development of the atmosphere and oceans, formation of winds, storms and ocean currents, reasons for changes through geologic time, recent influence of human activity, i.e. the ozone hole, global warming, acid rain, water pollution, and laboratory exploration of topics through demonstrations, experimentation, computer data analysis and modeling. ( This site is likely no longer available. )
  • The Warming of the Earth: A Beginner's Guide to Understanding the Issue of Global Warming. Produced by the Woods Hole Research Center, The Warming of the Earth introduces the concept of global warming through the following topics: the greenhouse effect, scientific evidence, the culprits, potential outcomes, what the skeptics don't tell you, and the Kyoto Protocol. The text relies heavily on reports published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Throughout the website, additional, but intimately related resources can be accessed through linked material. Examples include a link to the IPCC and a letter written by 2400 scientists to President Clinton. Several diagrams exist depicting the rise of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and related atmospheric warming over the past several decades. ( This site is likely no longer available. )