How do we observe climate change?

Climate change results in a warmer Earth

The Earth is getting warmer and higher temperatures mean big changes for all ecosystems, and particularly coral reefs. Temperatures are rising because heat-trapping gases are increasing in the Earth’s atmosphere. At normal ranges, these gases (called greenhouse gases), usually keep the earth at a comfortable temperature. However, over the past 150 years, humans have been adding more and more greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. This trend makes the land and ocean warmer, alters weather patterns, and changes the chemistry of the oceans. These effects are known as climate change.

At any time, we can go outside and observe the weather, but climate cannot be observed in one day or even one year because climate is the long-term weather conditions in a region. However, long-term monitoring programs, such as the one conducted by the Pacific Island Network help us observe the impacts of climate change in the Mid-Pacific.

Be a Web Ranger and investigate the global connections of climate change.

More information on the COSEE (Center for Ocean Sciences Education Excellence) web site.

1 Response to “How do we observe climate change?”


  1. 1 Carrie 28 April 2011 at 17:03

    Very thorough article! If you enjoy learning about climate change and its effect on our Earth, you may wanna check out Penn State’s Dr. Richard Alley, (featured in Earth: The Operators’ Manual), his colleagues and their studies! In our interviews and programs on the scientist and his colleagues, they discuss their theories on climate change, its harmful effects and what we can do to prevent further damage to our Earth. Here’s the link: http://bit.ly/h8EY6q
    Take care.
    – Carrie


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