polar bears, Ursus maritimusI’ve only just scratched the surface of this new website on global warming from NASA, but wow is it impressive. I was just trying to figure out how I can convince my staunchly Republican/conservative father that it’s time he admit it — global warming is real. Naturally he thinks it’s a tree-hugging liberal notion, and there’s no need to take it seriously — oh, and hybrids are a marketing scam. We got into this conversation last week when I was forced to go car shopping after a dump truck driver totaled my car. And for our US readers, he was wearing a “git ‘er done” t-shirt. Well, he got ‘er done, but that’s another story. So I struggled over whether to buy a hybrid. As I try to communicate the urgency of battling climate change through this blog and MarineBio, I felt an obligation. My bank account said otherwise, however, as did the data for hybrids (most of my mileage is highway, which defeats the purpose as the data say) so I got a Toyota Highlander. Yes, it’s an SUV — but — it’s not a gas guzzler. And, I gave up my V6 engine, so I feel okay. Oh — and I’m working from home more these days so… I feel better about doing my part. Still, climate change is a very real problem. And cars do contribute – a lot — to the problem. If you (like my father) still need convincing, the new NASA website on climate change is a great tool to learn. And if that’s not enough, I give you this adorable image of the polar bear – the poster child for climate change.

New NASA Website Focuses on Global Climate Change
June 23, 2008

A new website from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., is devoted to educating the public about Earth’s changing climate. The Global Climate Change website provides easy-to-understand information about the causes and effects of climate change and how NASA studies it.

The new Global Climate Change website may be found at: https://climate.nasa.gov/

Highlights of the new website include:

* A continuously updated snapshot of our planet’s health, built from NASA data on such climate indicators as the condition of Earth’s ice sheets, global average temperatures, sea level change and concentrations of key greenhouse gases.

* Interactive visualizations of current climate data, including a Sea Level Viewer that provides views from space of ocean surface topography data and related phenomena such as El Niño; and a Global Climate Change Time Machine that takes users back in time to see how Earth’s climate has changed in the past, and how it is projected to change in the future.

* A downloadable desktop widget that allows users to track key indicators of climate change as measured by NASA satellites.

* Easy-to-understand background articles on the evidence, causes and effects, and uncertainties of global climate change, as well as links to selected resources that provide information about possible solutions.

* NASA’s Eyes on the Earth: An overview of ongoing NASA JPL missions to study our planet’s oceans, atmosphere, land, ice and biosphere.

* The latest news and features from NASA JPL on climate change research.

For more information on NASA’s Earth Science Program, visit: https://www.nasa.gov.

JPL studies all aspects of the Earth system — our oceans, land, atmosphere, biosphere, and cryosphere — to identify how Earth’s climate is changing, understand the causes of these changes, and support development of models used to predict future global change. Currently, JPL has six dedicated Earth science spacecraft in orbit, with another five instruments flying aboard NASA’s Terra, Aqua and Aura spacecraft. JPL’s newest Earth mission, the Ocean Surface Topography Mission/Jason 2, launched June 20. Several more missions are planned for launch in the next few years, including the Orbiting Carbon Observatory, scheduled for launch in January 2009. Decision makers around the world use JPL Earth science data to support policy-making and resource management decisions.

JPL is a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.

Media Contacts: Alan Buis 818-354-0474 / Diya Chacko 818-393-5464
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.

More Resources:
Climate Change – U.S. EPA: Comprehensive site on all aspects of climate change from the U.S. Department of Environmental Protection. Information about news, science, and policy.

NOAA Climate Research: Summaries of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s research into several different aspects of global climate change.

World Resources Institute Climate Analysis Indicators Tool: Comprehensive compilation of charts, facts and figures about global climate change.

US Global Change Research Program – Current Climate Information: Links to the latest information on everything from coral bleaching to drought conditions to precipitation trends, from the U.S. Global Change Research Program.