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Introduction to Climate - Background Material
Climate is generally defined as average weather over a long period of time. A place or region's climate is determined by both natural and human-induced factors. Students can read an overview of Earth's climate and participate in activities which explain the following concepts: distinctions between weather and climate, variability of daily weather measurements compared to long-term climate data, how significant annual variability affects long-term climate averages, how Earth's climatic changes occurred in the past and are continuing today, and how the study of tree rings and plant pollen help in the study of past climate.
Intended for grade levels:
  • Middle (6-8)
  • High (9-12)
Type of resource:
  • For the classroom:
    • Classroom activity
  • Visual:
    • Illustration - scientific
  • Text:
    • Ref. material
  • Atmospheric science
  • Climatology
  • Environmental science
Technical requirements:
No specific technical requirements, just a browser required
Cost / Copyright:
No cost
NASA materials may not be used to state or imply the endorsement by NASA or by any NASA employee of a commercial product, service or activity, or used in any other manner that might mislead. NASA should be acknowledged as the source of its material. It is unlawful to falsely claim copyright or other rights in NASA material. NASA shall in no way be liable for any costs, expenses, claims or demands arising out of use of NASA's cassettes and photographs by a recipient or a recipient's distributees. NASA personnel are not authorized to sign indemnity or hold harmless statements, releases from copyright infringement, or documents granting exclusive use rights.
DLESE Catalog ID: NASA-Edmall-2414
Educational standards:
  • National Science Education Standards (NSES):
    • 5-8:
      • Unifying concepts and processes:
        • Change, constancy, and measurement
      • C - Life science:
        • Population and ecosystems
      • D - Earth and space science:
        • Earth's history
    • 9-12:
      • Unifying concepts and processes:
        • Change, constancy, and measurement
      • D - Earth and space science:
        • Energy in the earth system
        • Geochemical cycles
      • F - Science in personal / social perspectives:
        • Natural resources
Related resources:
This resource is part of 'LEARN: Atmospheric Science Explorers'
This resource is the basis for 'Paleoclimates and Pollen'
This resource is the basis for 'Differences Between Climate and Weather'
This resource is the basis for 'Climate Variability'
This resource is the basis for 'Time and Cycles: Dendrochronology'
Resource contact / Creator / Publisher:
Contributor: Michelle Flores
University Corporation for Atmospheriic Research (UCAR)