To learn more about climate change, you first need to know what climate is.

What Is Climate? How Is It Different From Weather?
You might know what weather is. Weather is the changes we see and feel from day to day. It could be raining one day and sunny the next. Sometimes it’s cold. Sometimes it’s hot. Weather also changes from place to place
Tip. People in one place might be wearing shorts and playing outside. At the same time, people far away might be shoveling snow.

Climate is the usual weather of a place. Climate can be different for different seasons. A place could be mostly warm and dry in summer. The same place might be cool and wet in winter. Different places can have different climates. You might live where it snows all the time. And some people Live where it is always warm enough to swim outside!
There is also the climate of the earth. The climate of the Earth is what you get when you combine all the climate zones of the world.

What Is Climate Change?
Climate change is a change in the usual weather in a place. This could be a change in how much rain a place normally gets in a year. Or it could be a change in the usual temperature of a place for a month or a season.
Climate change is also a change in the earth’s climate. This could be a change in the usual temperature of the earth. Or it could be a change in where rain and snow normally fall on the earth.
The weather can change in a matter of hours. Climate takes hundreds or even millions of years to change.

Is the earth’s climate changing?
The earth’s climate is constantly changing. There have been times when the earth’s climate was warmer than it is now. There have been times when it was cooler. These times can last thousands or millions of years.
People who study the earth see that the earth’s climate is getting warmer. The earth’s temperature has gone up one degree Fahrenheit in the last 100 years. This does not seem like much. But small changes in the Earth’s temperature can have big effects.
Some effects have already occurred. The warming of the Earth’s climate has caused snow and ice to melt. Warming has also caused the oceans to rise. And it has changed the timing of when certain plants grow.

What causes the Earth’s climate to change?
Many things can cause the climate to change on its own. The distance of the earth from the sun can change. The sun can emit more or less energy. Oceans can change. When a volcano erupts, it can change our climate.
Most scientists say that people can change the climate, too. People drive cars. People heat and cool their homes. People cook food. All of these things need energy. One way to get energy is to burn coal, oil, and gas. Burning these things puts gases into the air. The gases cause the air to heat up. This can change the climate of a place. It can also change the climate of the earth.

What Could Happen to the Earth’s Climate?
Scientists believe that the Earth’s temperature will continue to rise for the next 100 years. This would cause more snow and ice to melt. Oceans would rise higher. Some places would get hotter. Other places might have colder winters with more snow. Some places might get more rain. Other places might get less rain. Some places might have stronger hurricanes.

How Does NASA Study Climate Change?
Some NASA satellites look at Earth’s land, air, water, and ice. Other tools look at the sun and the energy it emits. Together, these are important for learning about Earth’s climate. With all these tools, scientists can learn how the climate can change.

What Can You Do to Help?
Scientists think there are things we can do to help prevent the climate from changing so much. You can help by using less energy and water. Turn off lights and TVs when you leave a room. Turn off the water when you brush your teeth. You can also help by planting trees.
Another way to help is to learn about the Earth. The more you know about the Earth, the more you can help solve climate problems.