Climate Change and Weather
Does climate change affect day-to-day weather?
Yes, it appears that rising global temperatures are already affecting weather by intensifying the extremes. Hot days are hotter, rainfall and snowfall are heavier, and dry spells are longer.
Is there a connection between global warming and extreme weather events?
Scientists believe there is. Climate change produces warmer ocean temperatures, a factor tied to stronger hurricanes. With rising sea level and heavier rainfall, the impacts of these powerful storms are only expected to increase. At the same time, rising temperatures and more severe droughts are likely to lead to more wildfires, while heavier precipitation will produce more devastating floods and debilitating winter storms. Find out more about about the connections between global warming and extreme weather, and download National Wildlife Federation's special reports on these topics, here.
How can we reduce the risks associated with extreme weather events?
Reducing global warming pollution is the first step. But restoring and protecting habitats is another key strategy for reducing the negative impacts of climate change. For example, coastal wetlands and barrier islands play an important role in absorbing the destructive force of storms. Restoration and increased protection for coastal wetlands are essential as a first line of defense against hurricanes, and may also bring the added benefit of improving the ability to withstand some sea-level rise. Read about how students in Louisiana are getting hands-on with wetland-restoration solutions.
Resources for Teaching about Climate and Extreme Weather
Explore these websites and lesson plans for ideas to help you teach about the connections between climate change, weather, and extreme weather events:
Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness Network (CLEAN). Weather-related lessons from the collection. (various grades)
Beyond Weather and The Water Cycle. (K-2, 3-5)
Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network (CoCoRaHS) A community-based network of volunteers measuring and mapping precipitation (rain, hail and snow) to provide high quality data for natural resource, education and research applications. (all ages)
Extreme weather information at Weather WizKids. (K-2, 3-5)
NOAA: Playtime for Kids. Hurricanes and other extreme weather. (various grades)
Discovery Education: On the Gulf: Coastlines In Danger (9-12)
Discovery Education: Weather (various grades)
NOAA Environmental Visualization Laboratory for visualizing extreme weather events. (various grades)
JetStream-Online School for Weather. (6-8, 9-12)