With global warming high on the international agenda, this site is important for helping to understand climate change in the context of past centuries or millennia. The site was set up by the paleoclimatology program of the NOAA (the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) to answer questions on global warming and show how the study of past climates are important to our understanding of current and future climate changes. From the home page you can access its two main sections, ‘The Story’ and ‘The Data’, which provide the background to the issues and explain what kinds of data are available for recording variations in the Earth’s temperature over time. Of course the impact of human activity on current climate change is examined too. The strength of this compact site is that it explains the complex phenomena of global warming, the greenhouse effect, and the ozone hole clearly and cogently, as well as the importance of paleoclimatic data in our understanding of them.
If it’s more detailed information you’re after, you’re just a click away from the home page of the NOAA (http://www.noaa.gov/), without doubt the best internet site for information on climate, atmosphere and oceanography. The best approach to this vast site is via the Site Map, which is divided into the broad categories of Charting and Navigation, Climate, Coasts, Fisheries, Ocean, Research, Satellites, Weather, and Web Sites of Interest. Alternatively you can use one of the several search options available. The NOAA Photo Library is very impressive and well worth a browse even for the non-specialist – the collection, which spans centuries and covers much of the natural world, contains thousands of weather and space images, hundreds of photos of the planet’s shores and coastal seas, and thousands more of marine species, from whales to the tiniest plankton.
For anyone interested in the world’s weather, oceans and seas, atmosphere and climate, and all related forms of life, this site is a must.