Climate Science

Navigate through our collection of climate science!

We have generated two directions for you to begin your seach - Resources on the PAESTA website and Resources outside the PAESTA website.

The existing PAESTA resources come from our existing collections across this site, including our PAESTA Classroom exercises, pocasts, favorite videos and favorite books. We have selected high-quality materials available outside of the PAESTA website, compiled these resources, and organized them into categories to help teachers learn about climate science, climate teaching resources, and careers in climatology. As materials are added to the PAESTA website, we will update these listings.

[Image - the Keeling Curve, showing the full record of data from March 1958 to August 2016 as recorded at the Mauna Loa Observatory on Mauna Loa volcano in the big island of Hawaii. An updated graph, as well as additional graphs plotted at different scales is available at the NOAA ESRL Global Monitoring Division website.]

PAESTA Classroom

Exercises can be found on a search for Climate & Climate Change

PAESTA Podcasts

What causes drought? - PAESTA Podcast Series: Episode 25

Why does California battle drought conditions so often? - PAESTA Podcast Series: Episode 12

What are shade balls, and why did LA drop 96 million of them into their reservoir? - PAESTA Podcast Series: Episode 10

What Caused the Collapse of the Mayan Empire? (hint - drought!) - PAESTA Podcast Series: Episode 8

How Do We Know CO2 is Increasing? - PAESTA Podcast Series: Episode 1


PAESTA Favorite Videos

PAESTA Favorite Reads

Outside of PAESTA - Science and data resources

American Geosciences Institute (AGI) has an overview of Climate and Climate Basics. NOAA has published an excellent Climate Q&A and a collection of articles to help with Understanding Climate, as well as the U.S. Geological Survey having a page of Climate Change FAQs. NOAA also has a Climate Data Primer that has an excellent article on What's the Difference Between Climate and Weather? The American Chemical Society has the ACS Climate Science Toolkit online to assist with self-education on energy balance & planetary temperatures, atmospheric warming, greenhouse gases, and oceans, ice & rocks.

NOAA National Climatic Data Center’s The State of the Climate is a collection of monthly summaries recapping climate-related occurrences on both a global and national scale. NCDC has graphics that present state annual and seasonal time series. You can also explore national and global temperature, precipitation, and drought data. An annual State of the Climate report is published - here is the the 2015 State of the Climate: Highlights.

NOAA has an entire section on their website with Maps and Data, where users can Browse the Dataset Gallery, learn about measuring, modeling, and predicting climate with a Climate Data Primer, and explore an interactive Global Climate Dashboard. Users can also find data-rich visualizations on temperature, precipitation, drought, outlooks, and severe weather with the Data Snapshots.

NOAA’s Climate Explorer is a web-based tool that allows the public, media and stakeholders to create maps and graphics to help understand how climate is expected to change in the future, down to the county level.

NASA's Global Climate Change Portal is a comprehensive website that offers quick access to evidence of climate change, recent research, data, imagery and key climate indicators.

The EPA has a Climate Change website with information on why the climate is changing, what we can do about it, the regional impacts, and a link to A Student's Guide to Global Climate Change.

The EPA partners with more than 40 data contributors from various government agencies, academic institutions, and other organizations to compile a key set of indicators related to the causes and effects of climate change. The indicators are published in EPA's annaul report, Climate Change Indicators in the United States, available online and can be requested in print. The climate change indicators include greenhouse gases, weather and climate, oceans, snow and ice, health and society, and ecosystems.

The EPA has a fact sheet on What Climate Change Means for Pennsylvania (August 2016). There are fact sheets for all 50 states and U.S. territories. NOAA has also put together a State Climate Sumamry for Pennsylvania and all 50 states.

Outside of PAESTA - Teaching resources

Climate Literacy: The Essential Principles of Climate Science is an interagency guide that provides a framework and essential principles for formal and informal education about climate change. It presents important information for individuals and communities to understand Earth's climate, impacts of climate change, and approaches for adapting and mitigating change. Principles in the guide can serve as discussion starters or launching points for scientific inquiry. The guide can also serve educators who teach climate science as part of their science curricula.

Teaching Climate using the National Climate Assessment - a series of guides for educators that focus on the regional chapters of the Assessment Report, helping to unpack the key messages of each region and point to related, high-quality online resources. Please also see these Additional National Climate Assessment Resources for Educators and The National Climate Assessment and the Next Generation Science Standards.

National Geographic Changing Climate is a guide for teaching climate change in grades 3-8. NOAA's Office of Education has a collection of NOAA Climate Education Resources that pulls together its information on the carbon cycle, changing seasons, climate change impacts, and climate monitoring.

CLEAN (Climate Literacy & Energy Awareness Network) has a collection of 600+ free, ready-to-use resources rigorously reviewed by educators and scientists. The resources include visuals, videos, demonstrations and experiments, and interactive tools. Suitable for secondary through higher education classrooms.

The Climate Change Collection - is a suite of science education web-based resources covering natural climate dynamics as well as human impacts on the climate system. Developed by a team of science teachers, climate scientists and learning experts who reviewed hundreds of resources for accuracy and effectiveness, the collection includes background materials, high-quality web portals, classroom activities, and research on misconceptions about weather and climate. Each resource has a summary review which links to the individual "scorecards" written by the reviewers. View a summary of the collection and see the related climate literacy catalog for more resources.

Climate-Specific Labs from Earthlabs for Educators and Policymakers - These three modules present a series of climate labs that address weather and climate not simply as atmospheric processes, but in the context of the interconnected Earth system, which includes the planet's oceans, landmasses, biosphere, and cryosphere (Earth's frozen places), as well as the atmosphere. Although the main focus of the modules is literacy, in each of the modules students will also look at climate data.

The Climate Literacy Labs were developed at Georgia State University for secondary science teachers and underserved students in Georgia. These lab exercises are based on a guided/structured, inquiry-based learning model. The labs put the students in the role of researchers as they try to answer three overarching research questions for each lab. Moreover, the suite of labs epitomizes laboratory science: students ask questions, use models, make predictions, analyze and interpret data, use computational thinking, construct explanations, engage in argument from evidence, and obtain, evaluate, and communicate information. The labs are updated as new climate findings are published.

In addition to the sites listed above, you may want to explore SERC - On the Cutting Edge Recommended Web Sites for Teaching Climate Change for additional resources.

The NASA Climate Kids website brings the science of climate change and sustainability to life. Targeting upper-elementary-aged children, the site has interactive games, hands-on activities, and engaging articles that make climate science accessible. With a special section for educators and clear explanations for the big questions in climate science, Climate Kids is helpful for parents and teachers as well.

Science Friday has an excellent activity titled "Illustrated Graphs: Using Art to Enliven Scientific Data" which focuses on climate change data. The activity is for grades 6-8 and shows examples from geologist/artist Jill Pelto.

The NOAA website lists professional development opportunities for teaching climate.

Outside of PAESTA - Career resources

An excellent place to direct students to learning about careers in the U.S. Department of Labor - Bureau of Labor Statistics - Occupational Outlook Handbook. There is an entry for Atmospheric Scientists, Including Meteorologists, that describes what they do, work environment, how to become one, pay, job outlook, and additional information. has a career page on What is a Climatologist?     

NOAA's Office of Oceanic & Atmospheric Research has a collection of climate scientist profiles.

The Rock-Head Sciences website has A Day in the GeoLife Series which profiles geoscientists that describe their careers and share advice. You can search the profiles for geoscientists that study climate.

Podcast interviews with climate scientists discussing their research, their careers, and their everyday lives are available on People Behind the Science Podcast.

Please explore the additional Earth and space science career information on the PAESTA website.

PA State Standards and NGSS

PA State Standards

The following are the PA State Standards for teaching weather and climate.




The NGSS includes the study of climate change supporting Earth and Space Science performance expectations. One of the relevant disciplinary core ideas is stated as: "Human activities, such as the release of greenhouse gases from burning fossil fuels, are major factors in the current rise in Earth's mean surface temperature (global warming)." (ESS3D)

Following are links to the weather and climate in the NGSS (thanks to NSTA for this compilation):

What does NGSS expect elementary students to know about weather and climate?

What does NGSS expect middle school students to know about weather and climate?

What does NGSS expect high school students to know about weather and climate?