FACTS ON FILE : SCIENCE ONLINE - Presents a broad range of scientific disciplines through extensive definitions, essays, diagrams, biographies, and experiments. If you're using this resources on your home computer, you'll have to enter your name, library card barcode, and PIN to begin.
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EBSCOHost 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 on your home computer, you'll have to enter your name, library card barcode, and PIN to begin.
Billion Dollar U.S. Weather Disasters - A chronological list of weather-related disasters occurring since 1980, with overall damages and costs of $1 billion or more at the time of the event. Includes a short paragraph describing each disaster. Updated through 2013. Also available in Printable PDF Report [Link opens a PDF]. (National Climatic Data Center)
Climatic Extremes and Weather Events - An archive of U.S. weather data (such as amounts of precipitation, temperatures, and costs of damage) for various kinds of severe weather, including hurricanes, droughts, and tornadoes. High school and up. (National Climatic Data Center)
Disaster : Know the Facts - This site for kids provides basic descriptions and Printable Fact Sheetsfor a variety of disasters; middle school and up (FEMA). See also Wild Weather; age level varies (University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, a consortium of universities).
Discover Our Earth - Basic information plus activities and data on earthquakes, volcanoes, topography, and plate tectonics. Includes interactive mapping tools. High school and up (2008, Cornell University). For more on plate tectonics, see the Earth, Geology, Rocks & Minerals section of our SCIENCE, MATH & TECHNOLOGY page.
Discovering Geology : 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. (British Geological Survey)
Emergency Preparedness - The basics about many different types of disasters and how to prepare for and protect yourself from their effects (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). The U.S. National Library of Medicine offers links to additional information on Disaster Preparation & Recovery. High school and up.
Environment Glossary : Words to Know - Brief definitions of more than a hundred terms related to earth science, weather and environment. (Gale / Cengage Learning)
Forces of Change - Examines the forces driving current changes in climate, ecology, and culture, their origins, and how we might adapt to deal with them. Topics covered include Earth's atmosphere, soil, the Arctic, and El Niño. (2006 - 2014, Smithsonian)
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. (2010 - 2014, National Weather Service)
Learning through Gardening - Includes 'lesson plans that can be used to help your students gain a better understanding of the weather, and it impact on their daily lives as well those involved in agriculture through farming or gardening.' Elementary and middle school. (New Jersey Agricultural Society; non-profit organization)
Natural Disasters in the News - In-depth, ongoing news coverage of current or recent disasters and their aftermath, including the Japan Earthquake & Tsunami of 2011, hurricanes Katrina & Sandy, and many others. Also covers some earlier historic disasters (Guardian News and Media Limited, UK; site includes advertisements). Times Topics : Disasters also provides ngoing news about disasters and their aftermath. Covers disasters in the U.S. and around the world, with archived articles going back to 1981 (New York Times; site includes advertisements). See also IRIN : Natural Disasters (United Nations) and Reuters : Natural Disasters (site includes advertisements). High school and up.
NOAA Education Resources - Portal for 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)
Riding the Winds with Kalani : A Weather Adventure - This site explains basic weather concepts, including earth movements, seasons, temperature, clouds, precipation, and more; for elementary school students. Treehouse Weather Kids provides basic information on weather topics such as winds, moisture, air pressure, seasons, and storms; for middle school students. (University of Illinois Extension)
SciJinks : Weather - Colorful site teaches you about weather, hurricanes & storms, clouds, water, & ice, tides & oceans, atmosphere, seasons, and more. Middle school and up (NASA).
Severe Weather & Natural Disasters - Online lessons about volcanoes, earthquakes, hurricanes, winter storms and tornadoes. Includes information, experiments, eyewitness accounts and more. For middle school students. (Scholastic Inc.; site includes advertisements)
USGS Primary Education Resources - Earth studies resources for teachers and students, grades K-6. Covers climate change, earthquakes, tsunamis, landslides, volcanoes, wildfires, floods and more. For grades 7-12, see USGS Secondary Education Resources. (U.S. Geological Survey) [NOTE : Use the left-hand menus to choose a topic.]
Weather & Climate - A brief overview of the difference between climate and weather. (University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, a consortium of universities)
Weather Dude : Weather Basics for kids - Lessons about the weather, chapter-by-chapter... with songs! Elementary & middle school (By Weather Channel meteorologist Nick Walker).
Weather Guys (Why Files) - Answers to common questions about the weather, such as What is Groundhog Day and do the forecasts work? What is the jet stream? Do abundant snowstorms suggest global warming is not occurring? Why do bridges ice before the road?... and many others. (University of Wisconsin)
Weather Images - Photos and satellite images showing a wide variety of weather conditions [NOTE: Click on 'LARGE' under any image to see the full-size picture; an email form may appear briefly before the image loads.] (American Geosciences Institute; site includes advertisements). NASA's Earth Observatory provides images of recent disasters, seen from space. 20 Striking Natural Disasters offers stunning photos of natural disasters which occurred over the past century, from the 1906 San Francisco earthquake to the 2011 Japanese earthquake and tsunami (United Press International, Inc.).
Weather Satellites - 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; high school and up (National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration). See also SciJinks : Satellites and Technology; middle school and up (NASA).
Weather Warehouse - 'Historical monthly weather data for over 18,000 current and former United States weather stations for every year that each station reported.' High school and up. (Weather Source, LLC)
Wild Weather Adventure! - 'Play the Wild Weather Adventure game. Your weather research blimp will explore Earth and its weather. With luck, skill, and strategy, you will race other weather research blimps to be first to travel all the way around the world and win the game. You can play with your friends or by yourself with a computer opponent.' Middle school and up. (2006, NASA)
Climate Change : An Introduction - A brief overview of climate change, for elementary and middle school students. (EcoKids / Earth Day Canada)
Climate Change at a Glance - A brief review of evidence that our global climate is changing. Use the left-hand menu to find related information on causes, changes, consequences, mitigation, adaptation, technology, and more. High school and up. (United Nations)
Climate Change Student Guide - Explains the basics of climate and climate change, possible impacts of global warming, and actions individuals can take to slow global warming (2011, U.S. EPA). See also Climate Kids (NASA) and 'Ology: Climate Change for Kids (American Museum of Natural History). Middle school and up. EPA's Climate Change page offers in-depth information and news; high school and up.
CLEAN : Climate Literacy & Energy Awareness Network- 'Scientifically and pedagogically reviewed digital resources for teaching about climate science, climate change, and energy awareness.' You can browse the resources by type, topic, grade level (grades 3-12 and up), or region. (Part of the National Science Digital Library)
Climate Literacy - Printable (PDF) guide explains the basic principles of climate science, the impacts of climate change, and approaches for adapting to and mitigating change. Also offers a summary of Key Findings on Climate Change from the second National Climate Assessment Report of 2009; the third assessment report is scheduled for release in early 2014. High school and up (U.S. Global Change Research Program, a government initiative which coordinates the climate research of thirteen federal departments and agencies).
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. (2007, Scientist/Author Spencer Weart and American Institute of Physics)
Explore Climate Change in Google Earth - 'Explore the potential impacts of climate change on our planet Earth and learn about solutions for adaptation and mitigation, in the context of the United Nation's Climate Conference (COP15) in Copenhagen. With Google Earth you can view climate change scenarios, interact with narrated tours, investigate deforestation, and even dive into the depths of the oceans.' Includes presentations by Al Gore, Jane Goodall, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and others. You will need to download Google Earth to use some of the features. (2012, Google)
Global Climate Change News - Recent news and analysis on climate change from New Scientist magazine, with FAQs and other background material on the issue. Also offers a free special report, Climate Change : A Guide for the Perplexed which addresses common myths and misconceptions about climate change. High school and up (2006 - 2014, New Scientist; site includes advertisements). See also Climate Change FAQ (Scripps Institution of Oceanography).
Global Warming Facts & Our Future - Explains climate changes, trends, causes, impacts, responses, and more. High school and up. (2012, Koshland Science Museum, National Academy of Sciences)
Greenhouse - Explains what climate is, and how and why our climate is changing (2005, University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, a consortium of universities). See also Life in a Greenhouse (2012, NASA). Elementary and middle school.
Ice Stories : Dispatches from Polar Scientists - A special series of Webcasts highlighting the work of scientists at field sites surrounding the North and South Poles. The Climate Change section focuses on global warming and its impact on the environment. High school and up (2007 - 2010, Exploratorium Museum of Science). Palm Trees Grew on Antarctica summarizes recent research suggesting the climate of Antarctica once may have been warm enough to grow palm trees (2012, British Broadcasting Corporation). See also The State of the Cryosphere; middle school and up (2014, National Snow and Ice Data Center).
Understanding Climate Change - Answers to FAQ about the state of Earth's climate, impacts on the environment, and related information. Middle school and up. (University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, a consortium of universities)
Weather Extremes in a Changing Climate - 'Devastating climate and weather-related events recorded in recent years have captured public interest. This brochure provides a sample of extreme events for the past decade (2001-2010)... and reviews whether these extreme events are consistent with scientific assessments of climate.' High school and up. (2011, World Meteorological Organization)
Acid Rain - Explains what acid rain is, what causes it, why it is harmful, and possible solutions. Includes games and activities. Middle school and up. (2012, U.S. EPA)
Air Pollution [UPDATED LINK!] - Explains what air pollution is, and lists some common air pollutants, where they come from & what problems they cause (2005, University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, a consortium of universities). See also Air Quality Index for Kids (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency). Both sites are for elementary and middle school students.
Avalanche Awareness - Basic snow avalanche facts, black & white photos; also includes a 'true account' and list of books. High school and up. (University of Colorado)
Blizzards and Snowstorms - The history of blizzards and snowstorms in the U.S., invention of the snowplow, the blizzards of 1888 and 1996, and more. High school and up (1997, National Snow and Ice Data Center). Elementary and middle school students, see How Do Blizzards Form? or Blizzards & Winter Weather (2005, University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, a consortium of universities).
Clouds - Explains different types of clouds, how clouds form, and how they can affect our lives; for elementary and middle school students (2005, University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, a consortium of universities). Online Cloud Guide offers a collection of images which illustrate the different cloud types, with brief explanations of how they predict weather (Utah Education Network).
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, from comprehensive 'All About' sections to quick facts on popular snow and ice topics.' Middle school and up (National Snow and Ice Data Center). See also Ice Stories : Dispatches from Polar Scientists and related links, above, and Glacier Story, below.
Drought for Kids - Explores the causes and effects of drought, plus maps, graphs, games, puzzles, and more; middle school and up (2010, University of Nebraska). See also Learn All About Droughts; elementary school and up (2011, Delaware River Basin Commission). Earthlabs : Drought offers learning activities on drought, using data analysis, satellite imagery & computer visualizations, and hands-on experiments; for high school and up (2008 - 2013, Carleton College). Drought : A Paleo Perspective focuses on the historic and economic aspects of drought. High school and up (2003, National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration).
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 at the elementary, middle school, high school, and college levels. (U.S. Geological Survey)
El Niño & La Niña - Facts about El Niño and La Niña, including FAQs, impacts, current data and forecasts, with images; high school and up (National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration). See also Earthguide : El Niño; high school and up (2000 - 2001, University of California).
Fire Wars - Explains how firefighters battle wildfires. Includes the basics of combustion, specialized gear, glossary of fire terms, wildfire simulator, links, and more; high school and advanced middle school students (2002, PBS; site includes advertisements). See also Wildfires, Weather & Climate; high school and up (2012, University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, a consortium of universities). Learn about Australian bushfires at Bushfire Weather (2009, Commonwealth of Australia).
Floods and Flood FAQs- Basic facts and information about floods; middle school and up (U.S. Geological Survey). For the latest news on floods, see Times Topics : Floods (New York Times; site includes advertisements). Mystery of the Megaflood describes a catastrophic flood that scarred thousands of square miles in the American Northwest thousands of years ago; high school and advanced middle school students (2005, WGBH / PBS; site includes advertisements).
Glacier Story - Tracks the birth, forward movement, and retreat of a glacier, or moving ice sheet; high school and up (National Snow and Ice Data Center). For FAQs and myths about glaciers, see Questions and Myths about Glaciers (2009, U.S. Geological Survey). See also Cryosphere, above.
Heat Wave - This overview of heat waves explains how heat affects the human body, heat wave hazards, and heat wave safety. High school and up. (2005, National Weather Service)
Hurricanes - Explains how hurricanes form. There is also an alternate version of this page (2005, University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, a consortium of universities). See also How Do Hurricanes Form? (2010, NASA). For elementary and middle school students. Hurricanes, Typhoons, Cyclones offers information for high school and up (University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, a consortium of universities). Earthlabs: Hurricanes offers learning activities on hurricanes, using data analysis, satellite imagery & computer visualizations, and hands-on experiments; for high school and up (2013, Carleton College).
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. (2014, U.S. Centers for Disease Control)
Monsoon - Explores the causes and effects of the heavy rains which cause deadly floods in India, but are also needed by farmers to coax their crops from the soil. High school and advanced middle school students. (1997, PBS; site includes advertisements)
Oil & Chemical Spills - Find out about how spills happen, clean up methods, and environmental impact, and read about the Exxon Valdez spill and other large oil spills. Includes some experiments to try yourself! (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration). For more about oil spills, see Oil Spill Resources for teachers, parents & kids (WSRE-TV Public Television). See also Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill (2010) and related links, below.
Severe Weather - Questions and answers about tornadoes, thunderstorms, lightning, hurricanes, floods, winter weather and hail, plus career information, an introduction to weather maps, and related materials. For students and teachers, K-12. (National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration)
Shake, Rattle, and Slide - Designed to teach 5-8 year olds about how forces on and inside the earth work to shape our world, producing earthquakes, volcanoes and glaciers. Includes animations and learning activities. (University of Illinois Extension)
Sinkholes - Explains how sinkholes form, the different types of sinkholes, and where they can be found. Includes map, diagrams, and two photos. Middle school and up (U.S. Geological Survey). See also Sinkholes : When the ground collapses! (2013; Whyfiles, University of Wisconsin)
Thunderstorms and Lightning - Explains how thunderstorms and lightning happen; for elementary and middle school students. There are alternate versions of these pages. (2005, University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, a consortium of universities)
Tornadoes : WhyFiles - Explores the whys and hows of tornadoes, with lots of images. Click on the first snapshot to get started. For middle school and up (2003, University of Wisconsin). Elementary and middle school students, see How Do Tornadoes Form? or the alternate version of this page. Shows you how to make a Tornado! (2005, University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, a consortium of universities). See also Hunt for the Supertwister ; high school and advanced middle school students. Click on the photo to view the full video online (2004, WGBH / PBS; site includes advertisements).
Tsunami Facts - Explains what a tsunami is, the physics of tsunamis, how tsunamis are measured, and more; high school and up (Commonwealth of Australia). See also Earthguide : Tsunami; middle school and up (2005, University of California) and Tsunamis Past and Present (2011, University of Washington).
Volcano World - An extensive website on volcanoes; includes volcano news, images and video. Use the horizontal menu bar (Volcanoes, Learn More, Fun Stuff, FAQs, Glossary) to navigate. Age level varies (Oregon State University). See also Volcanoes (Annenberg Media). Earth Observatory : Volcanoes offers great satellite photos of active volcanoes from 2000 through the present (NASA). Mystery of the Megavolcano looks at clues to a massive volcanic eruption that appears to have had a devastating impact on the Earth 75,000 years ago, and compares it with more recent large eruptions (2006, WGBH / PBS; site includes advertisements). High school and advanced middle school students.
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.' Choose a topic from the diagram or text links to learn more about the water cycle. Middle school and up (2004 - 2011, U.S. Geological Survey).
Winter Weather - Explains how snowflakes form, how blizzards happen, and how rain, snow, sleet, or freezing rain are predicted. For elementary and middle school students. (University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, a consortium of universities)
HISTORY : WORLD / INTERNATIONAL EVENTS
NOTE : For events which are more recent than Hurricane Sandy, please see Natural Disasters in the News and related links, 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)
Disaster Research Links - Selected links to information on more than 30 individual natural and manmade disasters, including the San Francisco earthquake, Johnstown flood, Great Chicago Fire, Three Mile Island, Mount St. Helens, and others. Middle school and up. (2011, Jefferson Junior High School, Naperville, IL)
Great 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)
Great Fire of London, 1666 - Explores the context, causes, and impacts of the fire that destroyed four-fifths of the city, with related materials on fire-fighting, rebuilding, and numerous people connected with the fire and its aftermath. Includes text, images, timeline, and FAQs. Middle school and up. (Museum of London)
Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill (2010) - An overview of the explosion aboard BP's Deepwater Horizon drilling rig, and the resulting massive oil spill. Includes links to related articles, videos, slide shows, and timeline (New York Times). Frontline offers a full-length video and background material on The Spill and what caused it (2011, Pro Publica and WGBH / PBS; site includes advertisements). See also Gulf Coast Oil Disaster (CNN), and Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill (Encyclopedia of Earth; article by Dr. Cutler J. Cleveland, Boston University). High school and up. For general information about oil spills, see Oil & Chemical Spills, above.
Haiti Earthquake (2010) - An overview of the January 2010 earthquake in Haiti, plus the latest updates and links to multimedia resources (New York Times). See also Haiti Quake (CNN). High school and up.
Hurricane Katrina : The Storm - This video documentary explores the 2005 hurricane and its aftermath; includes related interviews, analysis, timeline, eyewitness accounts and more (2005, WGBH / PBS; site includes advertisements). See also The Gulf Coast's Everyday Heroes (2008, NPR; site includes advertisements), and PBS NewsHour's Hurricane Katrina pages (sites include advertisements) for more post-Katrina reports. For more first-hand accounts and images of Katrina, Rita, and Wilma, see Hurricane Memory Bank (2005, George Mason University et al.). New Orleans, A Perilous Future reviews the history & culture of New Orleans and the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina, and examines prospects for the city's future; includes text, videos, photos, and more (2007, National Geographic; site includes advertisements). For ongoing coverage of Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath, see Times Topics : Hurricane Katrina (New York Times; site includes advertisements).
Hurricane Sandy (2012) - An overview of the hurricane / 'superstorm' that battered the mid-Atlantic U.S. in October 2012, causing massive flooding and damage. Includes photos and videos, plus links to news articles on the storm's aftermath and recovery (New York Times; site includes advertisements). For the latest news, see also Sandy Recovery (Star-Ledger et al.; site includes advertisements). Sandy: New York devastation mapped provides an interactive map with additional photos of the destruction (British Broadcasting Corporation).
Iceland Volcano - A brief description and great satellite photos of the eruption of the Eyjafjallajökull Volcano, whose ash clouds grounded airplane traffic in Europe in spring 2010. (2010, NASA)
Indian Ocean Tsunami : Wave that Shook the World (2004) - Analysis, Q&A, and interactive features examine the devastating Indian Ocean tsunami (tidal wave) of December 2004. High school and up (2005, WGBH / PBS; site includes advertisements). See also Tsunami Facts, above.
Influenza Epidemic of 1918 - Primary documents and photos related to the deadly worldwide epidemic that attacked one-fifth of the world's population in 1918, killing an estimated 50 million people. High school and up. (1996 - 2006, National Archives)
Japan : Earthquake, Tsunami and Nuclear Crisis (2011) - Ongoing coverage of the 2011 disaster in Japan and its aftermath, including a timeline, slide shows, and news articles (2011, New York Times; site includes advertisements). Japan Tsunami Cleanup [Link opens a video] offers video footage of both the tsunami and cleanup efforts (United Nations Environment Programme). See also Japan Earthquake & Tsunami (Guardian News and Media Limited, UK; site includes advertisments), Japan in Crisis (NPR; site includes advertisements), and Japan's Nuclear Emergency (Washington Post; 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)
Pakistan Floods (2010) - Facts, features, images, and media about the 2010 flooding in Pakistan, with updates. (British Broadcasting Corporation)
Pompeii : Stories from an Eruption - Chronicles the eruption of the Mount Vesuvius volcano in AD 79, with many photos and descriptions of artifacts recovered from Pompeii and nearby towns. High school and up (2007, Field Museum, Chicago).
San Francisco : Faultline - 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.
Seattle Fire of 1889 - A description of the fire, plus 150 photographs. High school and up. (University of Washington)