sun and clouds Weather & Disasters See also:

World Almanac for Kids
Facts on File: Science Online

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General Weather / Disaster Sites

World Almanac for KidsWorld Almanac for Kids - Resources for homework, reports, and projects in a fun format from a trusted source. Covers a wide range of topics, including Weather & Climate; written for students in 4th - 8th grade. If you're using this resource at home, you'll have to login with your library card barcode to begin.

Facts on File: Science OnlineFACTS ON FILE: SCIENCE ONLINE - Presents a broad range of scientific disciplines through extensive definitions, essays, diagrams, biographies, and experiments. If you're using this resource at home, you'll have to login with your library card barcode to begin.

GreenFILEEBSCOHost GreenFILE - A collection of scholarly, government and general-interest titles covering all aspects of human impact to the environment. Includes content on global warming, green building, pollution, sustainable agriculture, renewable energy, recycling, and more. If you're using this resource at home, you'll have to login with your library card barcode ('Patron ID') to begin.

Background on Weather & Climate - See SciJinks: Weather and related links, below.

Billion Dollar U.S. Weather Disasters - A chronological list of weather-related disasters occurring from 1980 to the present, with overall damages and costs of $1 billion or more at the time of the event. Includes a short paragraph describing each disaster. Updated frequently; available in Printable PDF Report [Link opens a PDF]. See also Extreme Events. High school and up. (National Climatic Data Center)

Disaster Facts VIDEO - This site provides basic descriptions and videos for a variety of disasters, plus related learning materials for kids & teens INTERACTIVE (2021, FEMA). See also Severe Weather 101, below. For more detailed information on the necessary steps to help prepare for and protect yourself before, during, and after a variety of natural disasters and weather emergencies, see Emergency Preparedness & Response; high school and up (U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).

Earth Hazards - An in-depth look at earthquakes, volcanoes, and landslides - what they are, why & where they happen, how they are measured, and more. High school and advanced middle school students (2020, British Geological Survey). Nature Unleashed [Archived page] explores the history and human impact of tornadoes, hurricanes, volcanoes, and earthquakes. Includes a good photo gallery (2008, Field Museum). For more on Geology, Plate Tectonics, and related hazards, see also Science, Math & Technology: EARTH, GEOLOGY, ROCKS & MINERALS.

Jetstream Online Weather School - Lessons about weather, arranged by subject. Covers the basics of large scale weather patterns, thunderstorms, lightning, tropical weather, and more; includes review quizzes for each topic. High school and up (National Weather Service).

Natural Disasters in the News AUDIO VIDEO INTERACTIVE - In-depth news coverage of current and recent disasters & their aftermath (Guardian News and Media Limited, UK; site includes advertisements). See also Reuters: Natural Disasters (site includes advertisements), Climate News, below, and New Humanitarian: Environment & Disasters (United Nations). High school and up.

NOAA Education Resources - Teaching & learning resources on topics including Climate and Weather & Atmosphere. Materials and activities are not grade specific but resources are labeled for grade appropriateness where applicable (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration). Additional earth studies resources for teachers and students, grades K-12 and up, may be found at USGS Education Resources [NOTE: Use the left-hand menus to choose a topic and grade level]; covers Global Change, Natural Hazards, Oceans & Coasts, Water, and more. You can find answers to common questions on many of these topics in the USGS FAQs. For more on Geology & Earth Science, see Science, Math & Technology: EARTH, GEOLOGY, ROCKS & MINERALS.

Owlie Skywarn UPDATED LINK! [Link opens a PDF] - This printable book highlights numerous resources related to protecting the environment and preparing for hazardous weather in a relatable adventure; for elementary school and up. See Weather Education for additional weather resources for educators, adults, and children of all ages, exploring science, safety, citizen science programs, careers and connect with meteorologists at your local NWS Office (National Weather Service). Riding the Winds with Kalani: A Weather Adventure [Archived page] explains basic weather concepts, including earth movements, seasons, temperature, clouds, precipation, and more; for elementary school students. Treehouse Weather Kids [Archived page] provides basic information on weather topics such as winds, moisture, air pressure, seasons, and storms; for middle school students (2008 - 2009, University of Illinois Extension)

SciJinks: Weather VIDEO INTERACTIVE - This fun site teaches you about weather, hurricanes & storms, clouds, water, & ice, tides & oceans, atmosphere, seasons, and more; middle school and up (2019, NASA & NOAA). Web Weather Learning Zone explores the science and issues involved in major weather and climate topics, including climate change/global warming. There is also a collection of games and simulations UPDATED LINK! INTERACTIVE and related learning resources; High school and up (2011-20, UCAR; University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, a consortium of universities).

Severe Weather 101 - Questions and answers about tornadoes, thunderstorms, lightning, hurricanes, floods, winter weather and hail, plus related materials. For students and teachers, K-12 (National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration; date unknown).

Weather Guys (Why Files) [Archived page] - Answers to common questions about the weather, such as How accurate are weather forecasts? Is humid air heavier than dry air? Why are clouds white?... and many others (2010 - 2013, University of Wisconsin). The Weather Guys (Steven A. Ackerman and Jonathan Martin) also have an ongoing blog which answers a variety of weather & climate questions such as If we stopped emitting carbon dioxide right now, would Earth stop warming? What is the cause of strong winds? Do April showers bring May flowers?... and many others (University of Wisconsin).

Weather Images - Links to photos and satellite images showing a wide variety of weather conditions (; photos hosted on Flickr). Earth Observatory: Disasters provides images of recent disasters & atmospheric events, as seen from space (NASA).

Weather Satellites VIDEO - Weather satellites produce images and data that are important for predicting where and when tropical storms, hurricanes, floods, ocean storm waves, and forest fires may strike. This site offers information about the different types of environmental satellites and how they work; middle school and up (National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration). See also SciJinks: Satellites and Technology; middle school and up (NASA & NOAA).

Weather vs. Climate - A brief overview of the difference between climate and weather. Middle school and up (2020, NASA & NOAA). See also Global Warming vs. Climate Change, below.

Weird Weather (Owlie Skywarn) - Describes unusual types of weather and atmospheric effects such as Haboobs, Sun Dogs, Halos, Waterspouts, Virgas, Light Pillars, and many others; includes photos. Middle school and up. (2017, National Weather Service)

Global Climate Change

Climate Change for Students UPDATED! VIDEO - Explains the basics of climate change, causes, & impacts, answers FAQs; for middle school and up. There is also a page of links to additional Climate Change Resources for Educators and Students (U.S. EPA). Climate Kids VIDEO INTERACTIVE 'tells the story of our changing planet through the eyes of the NASA missions studying Earth;' for upper-elementary & middle school students (2021, NASA). See also Climate Change Basics; high school and up (2021, NJ Department of Environmental Protection). Climate Change Chronicles VIDEO explores the ongoing impacts of global climate changes, what the emerging science suggests is behind those changes, and what we all can do to adapt to them; middle school and up (2018 - 2021, Science News for Students; Society for Science & the Public, a non-profit organization). Climate Change: How Do We Know? VIDEO INTERACTIVE examines the latest evidence, causes, and effects of global climate change. Includes graphs, diagrams, videos, and interactive quizzes; high school and up (2021, NASA).

Climate Feedback - 'A worldwide network of scientists sorting fact from fiction in climate change media coverage.' See also Scientific Misinformation links. News & Features (NOAA and Climate News (World Meteorological Organization) - The latest news on the state of the world's climate. See also IPCC Sixth Assessment Report, Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis NEW! (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, United Nations), and Fourth National Climate Assessment: Overview & Key Findings on Climate Change. NOTE: The Fifth National Climate Assessment (NCA5) NEW! is currently underway, with anticipated delivery in 2023 (U.S. Global Change Research Program, a government initiative which coordinates the climate research of thirteen federal departments and agencies). Climate News (Thomson Reuters Foundation News) provides ongoing news coverage about the human and development impacts of climate change around the world. Climate Change in NJ provides data on the statewide impacts of climate change (2020, NJ Department of Environmental Protection). See also Natural Disasters in the News, above. All for high school and up.

Climate Time Machine VIDEO - A series of visualizations showing how some of Earth's key climate indicators - Sea Ice, Sea Level, Carbon Dioxide, and Global Temperature - are changing over time. (2020, NASA)

Discovery of Global Warming / Climate Change - 'A history of how scientists came to (partly) understand what people are doing to cause climate change.' This overview includes links to more detailed information. High school and up. (2003 - 20121, Scientist/Author Spencer Weart and American Institute of Physics)

Global Warming vs. Climate Change UPDATED LINK! VIDEO - The terms 'global warming' and 'climate change' are often used interchangeably, but they are really separate things. This page gives a brief overview of the difference (2020, NASA). See also Weather vs. Climate, above.

Greenhouse Effect VIDEO INTERACTIVE - A basic introduction to how and why our climate is changing; elementary and middle school (2017, NASA).

Ice - See Cryosphere, below.

Other Specific Weather / Disaster Topics

Acid Rain [Archived page; some media features do not work] - Explains what acid rain is, what causes it, why it is harmful, and possible solutions. Middle school and up. (2010 - 2016, U.S. EPA)

Air Quality for Kids UPDATED LINK! - An introduction to clean air & dirty air, air pollution & your health, the Air Quality Index (AQI), and what you can do to help keep the air cleaner; for elementary and middle school students. (2021, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency)

Avalanches - Basic snow avalanche facts, black & white photos. Middle school and up. (2020, National Snow and Ice Data Center)

Blizzards and Snowstorms - The history of blizzards and snowstorms in the U.S., invention of the snowplow, major blizzards of the 19th and 20th centuries, and more. Middle school and up (1997 - 2020, National Snow and Ice Data Center). To find out more about blizzards, snowstorms, snowflakes and icy weather, see Blizzards & Winter Weather (2019, UCAR; University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, a consortium of universities). Elementary and middle school students, see How Do Blizzards Form? [Archived page] (2005, UCAR).

Clouds - Explains different types of clouds, how clouds form, and how they can affect our lives; for elementary and middle school students (2012 - 2020, University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, a consortium of universities).

Cryosphere - The term 'cryosphere' refers to those parts of the earth where water is in solid form, including snow cover, glaciers, icebergs, ice caps, ice sheets, seasonally frozen ground and perennially frozen ground (permafrost). This site offers 'a range of information about Earth's snow and ice,' including up-to-date Arctic Sea Ice News & Analysis. Middle school and up (National Snow and Ice Data Center). See also Glaciers, below.

Derecho FAQs - A derecho is a widespread, long-lived wind storm which can produce destruction similar to that of a tornado. See this website for answers to common questions about derechos (2018, NOAA Storm Prediction Center). See also Derecho (2015, National Weather Service).

Drought for Kids VIDEO - Explores the causes and effects of drought, plus maps, graphs, games, puzzles, and more; middle school and up (2010 - 2020, University of Nebraska). See also See also Drought and Heat UPDATED LINK! [Archived page] (North Carolina Climate Office), and Education Resources (National Drought Mitigation Center).

Earthquakes for Kids - Earthquake FAQs, history, science project ideas, recent earthquakes, photos, and more; middle school and up. The USGS also offers links to additional learning materials on earthquakes. (2012 - 2020, U.S. Geological Survey)

El Niño & La Niña VIDEO - Facts about El Niño and La Niña, including FAQs, impacts, current status and forecasts, with images & YouTube videos; high school and up (1998 - 2020, National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration). See also El Niño, La Niña & ENSO FAQ [NOTE: Navigation links are broken, scroll down to see linked content] (2014, National Center for Atmospheric Research).

Fire: Wildfires NEW! - An encyclopedia entry on wildfire, 'uncontrolled fire that burns in wildland vegetation, often in rural areas.' Middle school (2019, National Geographic). Smokey the Bear for Kids NEW! INTERACTIVE offers basic tips on preventing fires, info about the people who fight wildfires, and the tools they use NEW!, and more; elementary & middle school (2021, USDA Forest Service et al.). Managing Wildland Fire NEW!; middle school and up (2015 - 2021, U.S. Forest Service) and NOAA Wildfire News NEW!; high school and up (2021, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)

Floods & Flood Plains [Archived page] and Flood FAQs - Basic facts and information about floods; middle school and up (2001 - 2013, U.S. Geological Survey). For recent news on floods, see Natural Disasters in the News links, above.

Glaciers - Tracks the birth, forward movement, and retreat of a glacier, or moving ice sheet; elementary school and up (2020, National Snow and Ice Data Center). See also Glacier FAQs (1998 - 2018, U.S. Geological Survey). See also Cryosphere, above.

Heat: A Major Killer [Archived page, expect broken links] - This overview explains the impacts of excessive heat, how it affects human health & the economy, heat wave hazards, and heat wave safety. High school and up (2014, National Weather Service). See also What is Extreme Heat? (2017, U.S. Centers for Disease Control), Extreme Heat Safety NEW! (2021,, and What Is an Urban Heat Island? NEW! (NASA, 2021).

Hurricanes [Archived page] - Explains how hurricanes form; for elementary & middle school students. There is an alternate version of this page for middle school and up (2005 - 2017, University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, a consortium of universities). See also How Do Hurricanes Form? VIDEO; for elementary and middle school students (2019, NASA). Hurricanes, Typhoons, and Cyclones (2018, Smithsonian) and Hurricanes, Typhoons, Cyclones FAQ+ offer information for high school and up (2010 - 2013, University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, a consortium of universities).

Ice - See Cryosphere and Blizzards & Winter Weather, above.

Landslides and Mudslides - Briefly explains the causes of landslides and 'debris flows', areas at risk, possible health effects, and how to protect yourself. Includes links to more information. Middle school and up (2018, U.S. Centers for Disease Control). See also Landslides 101 and Landslides FAQ (U.S. Geological Survey).

Monsoon Systems UPDATED LINK! [Archived page] - An overview explaining what monsoons are, where they occur, and their impacts. High school and advanced middle school students. (2012, North Carolina State University)

Oil Spills - Find out about how spills happen, clean up methods, and environmental impact, and read about the Exxon Valdez and Deepwater Horizon (Gulf of Mexico) spills. Includes some experiments to try yourself! Elementary school and up (2019, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration). See also Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill (2010) and related links, below.

Sinkholes - Explains how sinkholes form, the different types of sinkholes, and where they can be found. Includes map, diagrams, and two photos. See also Sinkhole FAQs. Middle school and up (2007 - 2018, U.S. Geological Survey). See also Sinkholes: When the ground collapses! [Archived page] (2013; Whyfiles, University of Wisconsin)

Thunderstorms and Lightning [Archived pages] - Explains how thunderstorms and lightning happen; for elementary and middle school students. There are alternate versions of these pages for middle school and up. (2005 - 2019, University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, a consortium of universities)

Tornadoes: WhyFiles [Archived page] VIDEO INTERACTIVE - Explores the whys and hows of tornadoes, with lots of images. For middle school and up (2014, University of Wisconsin). See also How Do Tornadoes Form? [Archived page] and Tornadoes; middle school and up (2005 - 2019, University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, a consortium of universities). See also Derecho links.

Tsunami (Wonderopolis) - Explains what a tsunami is, how they form, and how the damage they cause can be prevented or reduced; middle school and up (National Center for Families Learning). See also Earthguide: Tsunami Basics [Archived page]; middle school and up (2005, University of California).

Volcano World - An extensive website on volcanoes; includes an All About Volcanos section, volcano news, images and video; age level varies (Oregon State University). See also Volcano FAQ and Volcano Hazards (2016 - 2020, U.S. Geological Survey). Earth Observatory: Volcanoes offers amazing satellite photos of active volcanoes from 2000 through the present (NASA).

Water Cycle - 'Earth's water is always in movement, and the water cycle, also known as the hydrologic cycle, describes the continuous movement of water on, above, and below the surface of the Earth.' To get started, click on the Interactive online water-cycle diagram for Beginner, Intermediate, or Advanced students; elementary school and up (U.S. Geological Survey).

Winter Weather - See Blizzards and Snowstorms, above.

Historic Disasters

See also:

NOTE: For events which are more recent than Hurricane Sandy, or for other events not listed here, please see Natural Disasters in the News and related links, and Billion Dollar U.S. Weather Disasters, above.

Chernobyl (1986) - In 1986, a major nuclear power accident occurred in Ukraine, then part of the Soviet Union. This site gives a description of the accident and its consequences (United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation).

Chicago Fire of 1871 - Illustrated essays describing the remarkable growth of Chicago in the decades preceding the fire, the fire itself, the immediate aftermath, rescue & relief efforts, and the subsequent reconstruction of the city. Click on any photo to see a larger version. Also includes eyewitness narratives and other special features. High school and up. (2011, Chicago Historical Society and Northwestern University)

Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill (2010): Frontline [Archived page] VIDEO - A full-length video and background material on causes and consequences of the 2010 explosion aboard BP's Deepwater Horizon drilling rig & resulting massive oil spill (2011, Pro Publica and WGBH/PBS; site includes advertisements). Stories from the Gulf, one year on [Archived page] describes effects of the spill on local residents and businesses (2011, CNN). See also Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill (2013, Encyclopedia of Earth; article by Dr. Cutler J. Cleveland, Boston University). High school and up. For general information about oil spills, see Oil Spills, above.

Hurricane Katrina: The Storm (2005) [Archived page] VIDEO - This video documentary explores the hurricane and its aftermath; includes related interviews, analysis, timeline, eyewitness accounts and more (2005, WGBH/PBS; site includes advertisements). For more first-hand accounts and images of Katrina, Rita, and Wilma, see Hurricane Memory Bank [Archived page] VIDEO (2005-12, George Mason University et al.). For ongoing coverage about Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath, including a searchable archive of commentary and articles, see Katrina (Guardian News and Media Limited, UK; site includes advertisements).

Hurricane Sandy (2012) [Archived page] - A 13-day chronicle of the storm that battered the mid-Atlantic U.S. in October 2012, causing massive flooding and damage (New York Times; site includes advertisements). Sandy: New York devastation mapped [Archived page] provides an interactive map with additional photos of the destruction (2012, British Broadcasting Corporation). For news and updates, see Sandy Recovery (2020, Star-Ledger et al.; site includes advertisements), and Sandy (Guardian News and Media Limited, UK; site includes advertisements).

Superstorms VIDEO - A documentary examining the devastation wrought by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria in 2017. Includes links to related articles & video shorts. (2018, PBS Nova; site includes advertisements)

Influenza Epidemic of 1918 - See Epidemics on our World History page.

Japan: Earthquake & Tsunami (2011) UPDATED LINK! [Archived page] - Describes the devastation along Japan's northeastern coast the day after a massive earthquake and tsunami (2011, Reuters). Japan's Nuclear Emergency [Archived page] VIDEO outlines damages caused by the earthquake at the Fukushima nuclear power plant, with links to related articles (2011, Washington Post; site includes advertisements). Japan Tsunami Cleanup VIDEO offers video footage of both the tsunami and cleanup efforts (United Nations Environment Programme; video hosted on YouTube). The Guardian's Japan Earthquake & Tsunami page provides ongoing coverage of the disaster and its aftermath (Guardian News and Media Limited, UK; site includes advertisements).

Kanto Earthquake of 1923 - Description, newspaper articles, eyewitness accounts and photos of the destructive tsunami and earthquake that hit Japan in September of 1923. High school and up. (2005, Brown University)

London: Great Fire of 1666 - Explores the causes and impacts of the fire that destroyed four-fifths of the city. For many additional resources, see All you need to know about The Great Fire VIDEO INTERACTIVE. Middle school and up (Museum of London).

Nuclear accidents - See Chernobyl (1986) and Japan: Earthquake, Tsunami and Nuclear Crisis (2011), above. For information on Nuclear weapons, see Hiroshima and related links.

San Francisco: Faultline [Archived page; videos do not play] AUDIO - Background information on earthquakes, including causes, prediction, measurement, and damage control, plus a collection of first-hand accounts and photos of the San Francisco Earthquake and Fire of 1906 and the San Francisco Earthquake of 1989 (1999 - 2009, Exploratorium Museum of Science). All sites for high school and up. You can see an NBC News Flashback video about the 1989 earthquake, World Series Stopped By Loma Prieta Earthquake VIDEO, on YouTube (site includes advertisements).

Seattle Fire of 1889 - A description of the fire, plus 150 photographs. High school and up. (University of Washington)


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