Climatology  » Past and Present Climate

Defining today's climate is rather straightforward because of the large number of observations we have to analyze. Determining past climates is more of a challenge.   But there is one thing for sure, there is ample evidence that climate is not constant, it changes in space and in time.

Determining past climates is like solving a crime.  Scientists search for evidence that identifies an eon's meteorological character through consistent stories that obey physical laws.   Fossils, tree rings, ocean sediments, and air bubbles trapped in ice all provide clues to the climate mystery.   Combining all the clues indicates that today's climate is fundamentally different than that of a million years ago. This unit explores Earth's climate regimes past and present and some of the methods used to uncover Earth's past climates. 

In this lesson you will learn:

  • Earth's current climate regimes
  • Past Climates - the clues
  • Past Climates - the mechanisims

18th Century Slide Rule

Time requirement

This lesson will take about 45 minutes to complete