From the local weather reports to discussions of global warming and climate change, there’s no denying that talk of the weather and climate is everywhere we turn. Our basic knowledge of these two sciences helps us make decisions from what to wear when we get up in the morning, to what time of year to plan ski vacations or camping trips, and when to plant our gardens.
But, just how do those weather reporters forecast what the day will be like, much less the week? What does all this stuff about climate change really mean? And how can we even know what the climate was like before humans were around? If you’re interested in answering these questions and learning more about weather and climate, or if you’re considering pursuing a career in this field, we’ve compiled a list of great online resources to help get you started.
General Weather and Climate Resources
- International Research Institute for Climate and Society provides comprehensive information on the important links between climate and its effects on human communities. This site is easy to navigate and resources are designed to educate and inform non-scientific audiences.
- National Geographic Video: Climate and Weather is a short video created by National Geographic about climate and weather. This video is suitable for all ages, and helps make the difference between climate and weather easy to understand, while providing interesting examples of both.
- National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is one of the most comprehensive and current climate and weather resources on the web. Find up to date information on scientific and social events related to weather and climate for all audiences.
- Real Time Weather Data offers access to weather data from across the United States, including radar and satellite imagery. The help pages and forecasting links answer your questions about how to interpret these and other weather graphics out there.
- Space Weather Introduction clarifies the differences between our understandings of weather on Earth, and what scientists refer to as “space weather,” like the northern lights. No matter your level of expertise (click beginner, intermediate, or advanced at the top of the page), this site will help you better understand both Earth’s weather and space weather through an exploration of their similarities and differences.
- The Climate Project was founded by former U.S. Vice President, Al Gore. It aims to increase public awareness and education about global climate change, and to support innovative, grass roots solutions to climate changes and their worldwide consequences.
- UN Climate Change Information Kit provides a comprehensive picture of climate change that you don’t need to be a scientist to understand. Whether you’re a teacher, a student, or just a person curious about climate change, you can get an accurate and thorough overview of the science behind and societal implications of global climate change.
- Weatherwise Magazine Online is the only major weather magazine out there for the general population. Articles focus on current discoveries and events in meteorology, as well as how weather connects to our everyday lives. Most articles are available without a subscription fee online.
- World Climate provides access to climate data from around the world. Though the site doesn’t offer information on current weather conditions, it allows users to compare, contrast, and simply inform themselves about climate patterns anywhere on Earth.
- World Meteorological Organization is the UN Agency focused on weather and climate analysis, forecasting and prediction. With dual goals of promoting scientific inquiry in this field, and using research and data to make decisions about social issues like water distribution, this organization is an excellent resources for those interested in knowing more about weather, particularly as it relates to global decision-making and societal issues.
Weather and Climate Resources for Kids
- Climate Change Kids Site is an Environmental Protection Agency site that will answer your questions about climate and climate change in a way kids can understand. You can play games, read about climate change, and figure out what you can do to make a difference.
- Climate Kids gives kids the opportunity to watch videos, play games, and get access to real time data provided by NASA about the world’s climate and how it’s changing. Learning about climate here is a fun and interesting experience.
- Earth Gauge Kids connects weather to current environmental issues with activities, experiments, and facts. Each month offers a variety of resources all surrounding a specific current event that connects weather to the environment or environmental issues.
- Geography 4 Kids offers easy to understand information about Earth’s atmosphere and climate. Pictures and NASA videos are included with short sections of reading about these topics. Students in grades 4-8 who are looking to enhance their own knowledge or find information for a school project will find this site useful.
- Kidstorm takes you on a journey through severe weather events like tornadoes, hurricanes, and lightening. Learn about storms, see pictures, and investigate storm chasing on this website.
- Look Out for Dangerous Weather! is a great site for kids interested in some of the amazing and dangerous weather events out there. Stories, activities, and safety tips for making it through stormy weather are all provided.
- Met Office for Kids gives you a chance to explore weather and weather events through games and experiments. Make learning about the weather fun by visiting this site, and impress your classmates with the information in the “Amazing Weather Facts” section.
- The Weather Channel – Kids will help you stay informed about and prepared for the weather near you. This site has opportunities for you to play weather games, watch cool weather videos, learn about what’s going on with weather near you, and look up weather words you’ve heard but don’t quite know the meaning of.
- Weather Wiz Kids is designed to help make weather events and weather reporting easier for kids to understand. Learn about weather and forecasting, and have some fun with experiments, games, stories, and jokes about the weather.
- Web Weather for Kids has games, stories, and activities to help kids learn about both everyday and unusual weather events. Find out what it takes to make weather, then test your knowledge with quizzes after each section.
Weather and Climate Resources for Teens
- Climatologist’s Tool Box is a great site for teens to uncover just how those weather reporters and other climate scientists get their information. Techniques are explained in language that is understandable for teens, and relates to their everyday lives.
- Inconvenient Youth is an offshoot of the Climate Project specifically designed for teens wanting to become educated about and participate in finding solutions to the problems created by global climate change. This site was specifically designed to address how teens can make a difference, even if they have little or no say in what decisions are made in their household or on a broader political level.
- Met Office for Teens is the United Kingdom’s national weather service site for teens. This site gives you the opportunity to learn about a variety weather events and phenomena through case studies (both inside and outside of the U.K.) and videos.
- Scijinks gives you the opportunity to play games, solve puzzles, and look at satellite photographs all while increasing your understanding of weather and atmosphere. Check out the “Now I get it” link to get weather questions answered in language that makes sense to you.
- Weatherwise connects weather and climate to important issues and activities that teens are interested in. If you’re not sure why you should care about weather, check out this site to make the connections to your life, and get more information about specific weather events.
- WMO Youth Corner is the youth focused section of the World Meteorological Organization’s website. Articles and videos here are aimed at reaching middle and high school students interested in weather and climate in general, or specific weather events or phenomena. The site also has games, experiments you can do at home, and resources for teens planning to pursue a career in meteorology.
- Your Environment, Your Choice is hosted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and provides a way for teens to inform themselves about and become active in the fight against global climate change. News, games, surveys, and information about possible careers in environmental and climate sciences are all provided on this site.
Weather and Climate Resources for Educators
- Bad Meteorology is a site dedicated to informing educators and the general public about commonly held misconceptions in weather and climate science. Before you pass on your understanding of weather and climate to your students, make sure you’re not passing on a misconception by visiting this site.
- Climate Change Education provides educators with resources to help incorporate current issues of global climate change into their curriculum. Lessons are provided for all grade levels and across all subject areas.
- Met Ed K-12 is an extension of the Met Ed site, and provides well-developed, scientifically accurate modules to teach students about weather and meteorology. Registration is required for access to materials, but it’s free and worth it for access to these high quality units.
- Met Office for Teachers is the United Kingdom’s national weather service site for educators and provides extensive, well-developed resources for teaching about the weather. Lessons are aligned to geography, science, and math standards for the U.K., and may need to be adapted to fit state or national standards where you teach.
- Meteorology: An Educator’s Resource for Inquiry-Based Learning for Grades 5-9 is a great way to supplement a more traditional meteorology curriculum with experimental and hands-on learning experiences that help students arrive at a deeper understanding of scientific concepts about weather and climate. You can download the entire guide as a PDF file.
- National Snow and Ice Data Center – Education Resources has selected the most interesting and student-friendly data, videos, and photos on snow and ice climate research. Highlights include then and now glacier photographs, Inuit observations on climate change, and frequently updated satellite imagery from Arctic regions.
- NASA Educator Resources on Climate Change provides educators free access to units and modules developed by NASA to help students study climate and climate change. This site will help you incorporate some of NASA’s scientific approaches, data, and imagery into your lessons on climate change.
- NOAA Education for Teachers features a number of well-developed lessons, activities, and other resources for educators. This site also has links to information about NOAA trainings and other programs for teachers.
- Paleoclimatology Resources for K-12 is a series of student activities designed to help your students explore the study of past climates through proxies. These web-quests guide students through paleoclimatology techniques and specific sites where research in this field is booming.
- Student’s Cloud Observations On-line (S’cool) offers an authentic audience for your students’ scientific observations of clouds. Standards-aligned lesson plans, project ideas, and printable materials are all provided through this NASA program.
- The GLOBE Program is a program designed to connect your primary and secondary students to scientists studying earth systems around the world. Its focus is inquiry-based learning that promotes deep understandings of science, while at the same time providing students access and avenues to communicate with professionals in this field.
- Weather Scope is an interdisciplinary, investigative unit to help middle and high school students better understand weather and climate. If you’re looking for an authentic audience for your students, this program also creates a space on its site to display photos of students engaging in the investigation, as well as a place to display their final reports.
- Weather Watch allows schools to exchange information about their weather in order to make the concept of weather as a localized phenomenon more tangible to young students. Register your school on weather watch, and have your students exchange weather information and photos with schools around the world, to help them better understand weather from a global perspective.
- Web Weather Teacher Tips provides several simple experiments to demonstrate common weather phenomenon in the classroom. Activities are aligned to National Science Standards and most involve materials that are affordable and easy to obtain.
- WW2010 is a collection of online resources designed to explain weather phenomenon to educators, and to provide activities that make these concepts attainable to students. Topics range from weather basics to weather anomalies, and all teaching modules are reviewed by scientists for accuracy prior to publication.
Weather and Climate Resources for College Students
- American Meteorological Society (AMS) Student Page provides info on student membership options for AMS. From here, explore the rest of the site to see what AMS has to offer current and future members of this field.
- Careers in Atmospheric Science is a great reference page for students interested in going into weather and climate studies. This is a useful starting place for thinking about potential career options in meteorology and what classes and experiences you’ll want to pursue to prepare for those careers.
- Center for Ocean-Land-Atmosphere Studies is one of the premier research institutions in weather and climate studies. This is a good site for college students interested in getting serious about research in this field, or looking for a place to start their investigation into peer reviewed research and articles.
- Met Ed offers online support to operational forecasters and those looking to enter this field in the future. Distance learning, virtual, and residential courses are also provided by this program for those students interested in further educating themselves about meteorology.
- National Centers for Environmental Prediction is a must visit site of for those interested in weather forecasting. This site provides access to the latest information, technology, and policies in weather forecasting, as well as links to the nine major forecasting centers in the U.S.
- National Snow and Ice Data Center offers a way to check out the most recent climate research through the increasingly important field of snow and ice data collection. Lots of interesting info about what ice can tell us about current and past climate conditions, news articles, and databases are provided.
- Paleoclimatology – Data Access and Contribution gives users access to a wide variety of data and data modeling tools in the fields of paleoclimatology. Those working on research in these fields can submit data for public access, so long as it meets the research and data submission policies designed to uphold the integrity of the site.
- Schools in the Atmospheric, Oceanic, Hydrologic, and Related Sciences is a complete listing of schools offering degrees in meteorology and related sciences. It’s created by the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, and allows you to search schools by a variety of sorting mechanisms to find the programs that best meet your needs and interests.
Resources on Climate Change
- Environmental Defense Fund is a nonprofit organization that works with businesses, governments, and communities to find environmental solutions. This website provides information on the science of global warming that is intelligible to the layman, as well as information about the EDFâ€™s work on climate change.
- Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is an international organization founded in collaboration between the United Nations and the World Meteorological Organization in order to educate the public about the state of climate change. Through the IPCC website, visitors can learn about how climate change is affecting the world.
- National Geographic Global Warming Fast Facts provides an extensive list of fast facts about global warming/climate change. The facts focus on the visible effects of climate change to the planet.
- The Nature Conservancy is one of the worldâ€™s largest nonprofit environmental organizations. As such, the Nature Conservancy has a keen interest in climate change. The organizationâ€™s climate change website offers basic information about climate change as well as information about what the Nature Conservancy is doing to reduce the impacts of climate change on the health of the environment.
- The New York Times – Global Warming provides links to recent news articles about climate change, a global warming blog, and other newsworthy information about climate change. Through the eyes of the journalists, readers can see the numerous facets of climate change.
- The U.S. Department of Energy is in charge of creating and executing policy for energy use in the United States. The departmentâ€™s website on climate change provides links to the various subdivisions of the department that deal with climate change in particular, and as it relates to energy use.
- The U.S. Department of State on Climate Change collaborates with others in the international community in order to discuss and create policy relating to climate change. The DoS website offers information about what the U.S. has done and is doing to combat climate change, including links to current and future policies and agreements.
- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency offers a wealth of basic and more in depth information about climate change and what individuals can do about it. The information covers climate change from a variety of angles, including economic, political, and scientific.
- United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change is an international treaty joined by many nations around the world that promises to recognize and deal with the issues of climate change and energy use. With the advent of the Kyoto Protocol, the UNFCCC functions as an organizational body that coordinates all actions of the UN in its dealings with member states on climate change. The website provides both introductory and advanced information on the policies of climate change and the UN.
- White House – Energy & Environment outlines the Obama administrationâ€™s official stance on all things energy and climate change related. Additionally, there are links to White House press statements on current events and issues related to climate change.