Primary School (K-2)
Weather is the combination of sunlight, wind, snow or rain, and temperature in a particular region at a particular time. People measure these conditions to describe and record the weather and to notice patterns over time.
Elementary School (3-5)
Scientists record patterns of the weather across different times and areas so that they can make predictions about what kind of weather might happen next.
Climate describes a range of an area's typical weather conditions and the extent to which those conditions vary over years.
Middle School (6-8)
Weather and climate are influenced by interactions involving sunlight, the ocean, the atmosphere, ice, landforms, and living things. These interactions vary with latitude, altitude, and local and regional geography, all of which can affect oceanic and atmospheric flow patterns.
Because these patterns are so complex, weather can only be predicted probabilistically.
The ocean exerts a major influence on weather and climate by absorbing energy from the sun, releasing it over time, and globally redistributing it through ocean currents.
High School (9-12)
The foundation for Earth’s global climate systems is the electromagnetic radiation from the sun, as well as its reflection, absorption, storage, and redistribution among the atmosphere, ocean, and land systems, and this energy’s re-radiation into space.
Gradual atmospheric changes were due to plants and other organisms that captured carbon dioxide and released oxygen.
Changes in the atmosphere due to human activity have increased carbon dioxide concentrations and thus affect climate.
Current models predict that, although future regional climate changes will be complex and varied, average global temperatures will continue to rise. The outcomes predicted by global climate models strongly depend on the amounts of human-generated greenhouse gases added to the atmosphere each year and by the ways in which these gases are absorbed by the ocean and biosphere.