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Obama's offshore drilling plan

President Obama, after delaying and deliberating for a year, unveiled a controversial offshore drilling plan Wednesday that was driven largely by the politics of his agenda on energy and climate change -- not by hopes of changing the nation's energy supply.

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Nine key geographical factors have been high-lighted as Earth's critical climate controllers most at risk of slipping past their "tipping points".
This means that once damage reaches a certain point, there can be no recovery; the damage will continue in a downward spiral, amplifying global warming and environmental damage on historic scales.And asif climate news couldn't get any worse,one suchtipping pointis onlya year away…Want to learn more?

Efforts to manage tropical forests more sustainably must take into account the complex relationships between the welfare of local people and global concerns such as climate change.

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Mr. Gore, addressing a hall filled with scientists in Chicago, showed a slide that illustrated a sharp spike in fires, floods and other calamities around the world and warned the audience that global warming “is creating weather-related disasters that are completely unprecedented.”

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      Climate Control

Climate refers to the overall weather of a location over a long period of time. Climate and climate change is determined by many things including distance from the equator, closeness to an ocean or major body of water, and geographical conditions such as mountains, plains and forests. There are 12 distinct types of climates on our planet, ranging from tropical to polar.

Climate change has become a frequently discussed issue over the past years. Climate change can be caused by internal and external forces like the Earth’s orbit, solar radiation and greenhouse gas concentrations. The ice age is an example of climate change. Recently, the focus of our concern is the effect humanity is having on the climate.

Researchers are debating as to whether the cause of our current climate change is because of humans or radiative forcing. Resources are also being used to find methods of climate control. The only ways we hope to impact our climate is to refrain from pollution, recycle and stop using the natural resources at the rate we are.

Sheppard glacier
1913 photograph by W. C. Alden (Glacier National Park Archives)Shepard Glacier (1913)

BEFORE: The picture above, photographed in 1913, shows Shepard Glacier from Pyramid Peak, Glacier National Park.
sheppard glacier2
2005 photograph by Blase Reardon (USGS)Shepard Glacier (2005)

AFTER: Shepard Glacier from Pyramid Peak, Glacier National Park, photographed in 2005.



Climate Model
The Earth's climate system is an elaborate type of energy flow system (Fig. 1) in which solar energy enters the system, is absorbed, reflected, stored, transformed, put to work, and released back into outer space. The balance between the incoming energy and the outgoing energy determines whether the planet becomes cooler, warmer, or stays the same. The Earth reflects about 34% of the solar energy received; the remainder is used to operate the climate and maintain the temperature of our planet. The Earth also radiates energy back into space -- equivalent to 66% of the energy that is received -- this implies that there is no net energy gain. Since the amount of energy received approximately equals the amount given back to space, the Earth is approximately in a steady state in terms of energy. As suggested in Fig. 1, this kind of a steady state is an expected outcome of a system in which the outflow is dependent on the amount of energy stored in the system. In reality, there are temporal and spatial changes in temperature that are very important; some are natural, while others may be due to anthropogenic modifications of the climate system. Learn More...


  More News

Heat from the Sun supplies our planet with much-needed warmth. But over the past 150 years more heat has been retained by Earth

June 25, 2008

Sea-ice loss threatens permafrost The rapid disappearance of Arctic sea ice could warm temperatures inland and hasten permafrost’s thaw, a new study shows.

July 9, 2008

In a changing climate, cities worsen water quality A new study of more than 1000 Maryland streams finds that as climate patterns change, urban sprawl can pollute water with more nitrate than previously thought.

July 9, 2008

Protecting ecosystems from climate change
A new report by EPA offers suggestions on how to mini-mize the impacts of climate change.

As part of an ambitious environmental agenda to make Los Angeles the cleanest and greenest big city in America, Mayor Villaraigosa has initiated an aggressive plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global warming.

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