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Celebrating Earth Day on April 22


In recognition of Earth Day on April 22, 2013, the USGS is highlighting a few aspects of climate change. The effects of climate change have been documented in the United States and around the world. These effects pose challenges and risks to our landscapes, natural and agricultural resources, wildlife, the economy, and the public health and safety of our communities.

USGS scientists seek to measure, document, and understand the changes that have occurred in the Earth’s recent and distant past, and then interpret and communicate the causes and consequences of those changes.

USGS expertise is diverse, for example, seeking to improve our understanding of climate change effects on wildlife and ecosystems; risks to coastal communities associated with sea-level rise, coastal erosion, and storms; how carbon circulates across the globe, including how and where it can be stored in ecosystems and subsurface rocks; and changes in water resource availability, including the effects of droughts and floods.

The USGS makes data free and easily accessible to the public, resource managers, policymakers and other decisionmakers. As the nation’s earth-science agency, the USGS provides unbiased scientific information that serves as a foundation for sound decisions as we face these climate change challenges.

Learn more about USGS climate change science and expertise by visiting the USGS Climate and Land Use Change website.

Slideshow: Faces of Climate Change

The following slideshow highlights examples of climate change impacts to variety of places and people across the globe. This aims to give a glimpse of the many faces of climate change.

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Severe storms damage barrier islands, leaving coasts vulnerable to erosion Read More

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Shifting seasons make life hard for plants and animals Read More

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The Colorado River delta has been drying because of increased upstream water use and climate change Read More

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Decreasing summer polar ice is changing the Arctic Read More

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As temperatures warm, the bark beetle has expanded its range, killing more forests Read More

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Corals die off as the ocean become warmer and more acidic Read More

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Laysan ducks face loss of habitat because of sea-level rise Read More

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Subsistence farmers are at risk because of changes in rainfall Read More

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As temperatures rise, permafrost thaws and leaves parts of the Alaska coast vulnerable to coastal er… Read More

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Ice cores preserve clues to climate conditions in the past Read More

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Sand dunes encroaching on homes and roads are a problem for the Navajo Nation Read More

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Geothermal energy is a renewable energy source Read More

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Drought and intensive use of water in the west has lowered water levels at Lake Mead Read More

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Forests and humans living near them are increasingly vulnerable to fire as climate changes Read More

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Images of glaciers taken 78 years apart show the results of warmer temperatures Read More

Video Series: America’s Climate Change Questions

America has questions about climate change, and the USGS is providing answers through a video series called, Climate Connections.

In these videos, USGS scientists are engaging in conversations and addressing questions from across the nation. The USGS has authoritative and science-based information to address a wide range of topics related to climate change.

There are six episodes from Colorado, the District of Columbia, Glacier National Park, Puerto Rico, and North and South Carolina.

Hyperlinks and details to each episode are provided below.

Watch the Videos

Questions from Colorado include:

  • How is Colorado affected by climate change and how can I learn more?
  • Were the wildfires this past summer related to climate change?
  • Do the bark beetles infesting trees have anything to do with climate change?
  • How does the ocean change the climate, and vice versa?

Questions from high school students in D.C. include:

  • If you could tell the public one thing about climate change, what would it be?
  • Does climate change impact humans or animals more?
  • How will climate change affect D.C.?
  • When did climate change begin?

Questions from Glacier National Park include:

  • When I come back in ten years, what will I see in Glacier National Park?
  • How is climate change impacting the glaciers?
  • Does all the snow we received this winter help the glaciers?
  • How do receding glaciers and climate change affect the local economy in terms of recreation, agriculture, tourism?

Questions from Puerto Rico include:

  • Why has the rainy season been so long in Puerto Rico?
  • How is global warming impacting the island of Puerto Rico?
  • What are solar storms and are they related to climate change?
  • Will we see polar bears on the island of Puerto Rico?

Questions from North and South Carolina include:

  • How does climate change affect the coast and where can I learn more?
  • What are scientists currently doing in regards to rivers and streams?
  • Does planting trees impact climate change?
  • What do we know now that we didn’t know in the 1970s?

Questions from students in North Carolina include:

  • Do all scientists agree that climate change is occurring?
  • Could climate change impact fishing?
  • Will the climate change abruptly or slowly over time?
  • What is geothermal energy and how does it impact the climate?

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Page Last Modified: May 9, 2013