Climate and Weather

Explore some of the basics about the Earth's climate system and the impacts of that changing climate. The University of Colorado Boulder is home to some of the most influential scientists and researchers on the topic of climate change. Find out how these scientists conduct research that explains how and why the climate is changing.

  • Model Lessons

    Evidence of Climate Change

    A team of Colorado teachers and CU-Boulder scientists and science educators collaborated to develop "Modeling Heating of the Earth - What Makes You Hot?" - a model lesson for high school students that has them manipulate different variables in the lesson's model and use this to make inferences about the temperature of Earth. This lesson has been taught and tested in classrooms and is based on content from the "Colorado and a Warming Planet" video created here at Learn More About Climate.
    Learn more and download this lesson.

  • What Makes You Hot?

    This model lesson for middle school students is about evidence of climate change in Colorado. This lesson has been taught and tested in classrooms and is based on content from the "Colorado and a Warming Planet" video.
    Learn more and download this lesson.

  • Cool Tools

    Glaciers Simulation

    Created by the PhET project at the University of Colorado at Boulder to demonstrate how environmental conditions impact glaciers. Users can adjust precipitation, temperature, and more to watch their effects on a glacier. Learn More

  • The Greenhouse Effect Simulation

    Created by the PhET project at the University of Colorado at Boulder to demonstrate how environmental factors such as temperature, sunlight, and infrared photons are affected by the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Learn More

  • Professional Development

    Inspiring Climate Education Excellence (ICEE)

    The Teacher Professional Development for Effective Instruction in Climate Science Literacy Project addresses important climate science content along with the pedagogical skills necessary for effective instruction, and aims to showcase NASA data and platforms, especially those associated with Arctic climate systems and global sea level change. Learn More




The Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research (INSTAAR) develops scientific knowledge of physical and biochemical environmental processes at local, regional and global scales, and applies this knowledge to improve society's awareness and understanding of natural and anthropogenic (human caused) environmental change. The world's high-altitude and high-latitude regions are the Institute's traditional focus due to their sensitivity to environmental change.

The Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) educates people about Earth and environmental science issues that are relevant to our everyday lives, through outreach to the public and to the K-12 education community.

The Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness Network (CLEAN) is a National Science Digital Library Pathways Project that features a peer-reviewed, broad collection of educational resources that facilitate students, teachers, and citizens becoming climate literate.

The National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) supports research into our world's frozen realms: the snow, ice, glaciers, frozen ground, and climate interactions that make up Earth's cryosphere. NSIDC manages and distributes scientific data, creates tools for data access, supports data users, performs scientific research, and educates the public about the cryosphere.

The Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP) is a full-cycle space institute, combining all aspects of space exploration through our expertise in science, engineering, mission operations, and scientific data analysis. LASP addresses key questions in solar influences, atmospheric science, planetary physics, space physics and focuses on the study of Earth's atmosphere, the sun, and the solar system.

The Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences (ATOC) is an interdisciplinary program that provides an educational and research environment to examine the dynamical, physical, and chemical processes that occur in the atmosphere and the ocean. A major theme is the establishment of a physical basis for understanding, observing, and modeling climate and global change.

Climate change experts from University of Colorado Boulder are frequently interviewed on radio and television about their research.  Here are links to recent podcasts featuring CU-Boulder climate change experts:

All Things Considered talks with Professor James White about Abrupt Climate Change

Professor James White, talks with NPR’s All Things Considered about the National Academy of Science report, “Abrupt Impacts of Climate Change: Anticipating Surprises.” The report draws upon recent research to adjust the timeframe within which certain climate change impacts may happen.  Dr. White, Director of CU-Boulder’s Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research, chaired the National Research Council, which created the report.  December 3, 2013   Listen to the podcast.

How On Earth, The KGNU Science Show Interviews Professor Tad Pfeffer on IPCC 5th Assessment

Beth Bartel speaks with Tad Pfeffer,  Professor at CU-Boulder jointly appointed between the Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research, (INSTAAR), and the Department of Civil, Environmental, and Architectural Engineering.  Professor Pfeffer is one of the lead authors on Chapter 13 of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, the chapter on sea level rise. October 1, 2013  Listen to the podcast.

Colorado Public Radio interviews Professor Waleed Abdalati About Why Glaciers are Melting Faster

On Colorado Public Radio, CU Boulder Professor of Geography Waleed Abdalati discusses a new study revealing that surface meltwater draining through cracks in an ice sheet can warm the sheet from the inside, softening the ice and letting it flow faster. The study was conducted by scientists at the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) at the University of Colorado Boulder. Dr. Abdalati is Director of CIRES, a joint institute of the University of Colorado Boulder and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).  July 24, 2013  Listen to the podcast.