Climate Change

From the unique vantage point in space, NASA collects critical long-term observations of our changing planet.

View of Earth's horizon from Space.

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Earth is more than a planet. Earth is home. As humans we are part of a broader, interconnected system and we share our home with over 8.5 million species. NASA studies our own planet more than any other. We observe Earth’s oceans, land, ice, and atmosphere, and measure how a change in one drives change in others

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How Do We Know Climate Change is Real?

There is unequivocal evidence that Earth is warming at an unprecedented rate. Human activity is the principal cause.

Earth-orbiting satellites and new technologies have helped scientists see the big picture, collecting many different types of information about our planet and its climate all over the world. These data, collected over many years, reveal the signs and patterns of a changing climate.

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What is causing climate change?

Human activities are driving the global warming trend observed since the mid-20th century.

Scientists attribute the global warming trend observed since the mid-20th century to the human expansion of the "greenhouse effect" — warming that results when the atmosphere traps heat radiating from Earth toward space.
Over the last century, burning of fossil fuels like coal and oil has increased the concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2). This increase happens because the coal or oil burning process combines carbon with oxygen in the air to make CO2.

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What are the effects of climate change?

The effects of human-caused global warming are happening now, are irreversible for people alive today, and will worsen as long as humans add greenhouse gases to the atmosphere.

We already see effects scientists predicted, such as the loss of sea ice, melting glaciers and ice sheets, sea level rise, and more intense heat waves.
Scientists predict global temperature increases from human-made greenhouse gases will continue. Severe weather damage will also increase and intensify.

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Images of Change

Before-and-after images of Earth.

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