Climate Science

Fact Sheets

Climate change 101

  • The Earth’s Changing Climate [2-page factsheet] – This factsheet quickly explains the basics of climate change in easily understood language. Have you noticed that trees are budding earlier in the spring, that summer heat waves are more common than they used to be, or that when it rains, it pours? What you are witnessing is part of a global change in the Earth’s climate. Scientists once thought climate change would take many generations to be felt, but instead we are already experiencing its dramatic effects. Historically, the Earth’s climate has fluctuated, but natural factors alone cannot explain today’s rapid pace of change. There is overwhelming evidence that an increase in gases like carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere is causing this transformation.
  • New York’s Changing Climate [4-page factsheet] - The Earth is warming and New York is too. Just as we are seeing unprecedented rates of change at the global level, we are also observing rapid change in New York, including rising temperatures and changing precipitation patterns, with effects on the natural world and human health. Intense rains and floods, summer droughts, and heat waves are more common than they were in our grandparents’ time. New York’s climate will continue to change over the next 10, 20, and 100 years. This factsheet details the expected effects on ecosystems, farming, human health, and infrastructure.

Reports and Studies

Research Projects

Find Cornell research projects related to the following subjects:

Make a Difference

  • Energy Efficiency and Renewable Programs – NYSERDA offers a wide range of programs to help residents and businesses across New York State become more energy efficient (and thus reduce their carbon footprint).

Get Involved

  • Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network (CoCoRaHS) - CoCoRaHS is a community-based network of volunteers working together to measure and map precipitation to help provide accurate high-quality precipitation data on a timely basis and increase the density of precipitation data available throughout the country. Cornell’s Northeast Regional Climate Center is the New York coordinator for CoCoRaHS.
  • Project Budbreak – Help scientists understand the effects of climate change on plants native to central New York (Cornell Department of Natural Resources).
  • Project Feederwatch – Track movements of winter bird populations to broaden our understanding of climate change’s impact on species and ecosystems (Cornell Lab of Ornithology).

Online courses

  • Online Animal Agriculture & Climate Change Certification Course - This 12-hour, self-paced, national online certification course has been developed specifically to equip Extension Educators and other Agricultural Service Providers with the background necessary to instruct and advise farmers and ranchers in all aspects of animal agriculture and climate change.

Other Resources

  • Climate Change Indicators in the United States - EPA compilation of 30 indicators to help readers understand observed long-term trends related to the causes and effects of climate change.
  • - Maps, graphs, fact sheets, articles, and more to answer many of your climate change questions, from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
  • America’s Climate Choices – Numerous reports, booklets, videos and other resource on climate change science, impacts in the United States, adaptations, and communication, from the National Academy of Science. 
  • U.S. Global Change Research Program – The USGCRP is a federal program that coordinates and integrates climate change research to advance scientific knowledge, inform decisions, conduct sustained assessments, and communicate and educate about climate change impacts.
  • IPCC Assessment Reports – Detailed reports about the science, causes, and impacts of climate change from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
  • What the IPCC Said – A Citizens’ Guide to the IPCC Summary for Policymakers. Introduction into the causes and impacts of climate change.
  • Turn Down the Heat – World Bank’s 2012 report on why we must mitigate climate change.
  • Skeptical Science – Explaining climate change science & rebutting global warming misinformation. Site maintained by John Cook, the Climate Communication Fellow for the Global Change Institute at the University of Queensland.
  • RealClimate  Commentary site on climate science by working climate scientists for the interested public and journalists.
  • Selected introductory books on climate science:
  • Northeast Climate Choices - The Northeast Climate Impacts Assessment (NECIA) resulted from a collaborative effort between the Union of Concerned Scientists and a team of independent experts using state-of-the-art tools to assess how global warming will affect the northeastern United States.
  • Understanding and Responding to Climate Change – This brochure highlights findings and recommendations from National Academies’ reports on climate change, which have evaluated climate change science and explored opportunities to more effectively respond to climate change. Highlights of National Academies reports (2008 Edition).



For more information on the resources in this section, contact: