NASA put a man on the moon and sent a rover to Mars, but the agency doesn’t just go to space to explore different worlds. It also looks back and studies the Earth. NASA satellites can track even the smallest changes. They have the precision to measure one-eighth of a teaspoon of salt in a gallon of water from 400 miles above the Earth.(1) It operates 20 space instruments in all, which collect volumes of climate data used by scientists worldwide.(2) After forty years of studying Earth, NASA is convinced that people are altering the climate.(3),(4)

“The facts of the matter are this: the planet’s climate has changed over the last 30 years, chiefly because of human activities”
— Dr. Gavin Schmidt, Director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, 2011
Another U.S. science agency plays a vital role in studying our climate

After 40 years of research, NASA is convinced that climate change is real
NASA began studying the earth in the 1970s, when it began to suspect the possibility of climate change.(5) The agency’s confidence in climate change has grown in step with the precision of their measurements.(6),(7),(8)

nasa-timelineGet a closer look at NASA’s satellites and aircraft
Earth-orbiting satellites and other space age technologies enable scientists to study the Earth in unprecedented ways. By putting together billions of observations over many years, NASA scientists have strong evidence that people are driving unnatural climate change.

satellitesThe perspectives from the first woman in space
In this video, Dr. Sally Ride, the first American woman in space, describes her first space flight, and seeing the “thin blue line” that is our entire atmosphere. She also describes our changing climate and opportunities to solve the problem.




  1. NASA: Aquarius Fact Sheet
  2. NASA: Operating Missions
  3. NASA: Climate Evidence
  4. NASA: Global Climate Change
  5. NASA: Taking a Global Perspective on Earth’s Climate
  6. NASA: Climate Variability & Change
  7. NASA: Earth Impacts Linked to Human-Caused Climate Change
  8. NASA: Climate Evidence


  1. NASA Satellites – NASA: Taking a Global Perspective on Earth’s Climate
  2. Jason-2 – NASA: Ocean Surface Topography Mission
  3. Jason-2 Image – NASA: Jason-2 Mission
  4. GRACE – NASA: GRACE Mission
  5. GRACE Polar Ice Melt – NASA: Vital Signs of the Planet
  6. GRACE Image – NASA: GRACE Multimedia Gallery
  7. IceBridge – NASA: IceBridge Mission Overview
  8. IceBridge Image – NASA: IceBridge Antarctic 2013
  9. AIRS – NASA JPL: AIRS Mission & Instrument
  10. AIRS Image – NASA: Physical Oceanography Distributed Active Archive Center
  11. Terra – NASA: About Terra
  12. Terra Image – NASA: Global Modeling and Assimilation Office
  13. OCO-2 – NASA: Orbiting Carbon Observatory
  14. OCO-2 Image – NASA: Spacecraft
  15. Landsat – USGS: Landsat Project Description
  16. Landsat Image – Gunter’s Space
  17. GISS Climate Model – American Meteorological Society: The GISS Model of the Global Atmosphere
  18. 1981 Science Article – Science: Climate Impact of Increasing Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide
  19. 1981 Science Graphic – NASA: Climate Impact of Increasing Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide
  20. 1988 Hansen Testimony – NY Times: Global Warming Has Begun, Expert Tells Senate
  21. Hansen Image – Columbia: NASA’s First Global Warming Experiments
  22. NASA Ozone Research – NASA: Ozone Hole Watch
  23. Bush’s 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments – NOAA: 2005 National Acid Precipitation Asessment Program Report
  24. Ozone Graphic – NASA: Earth Observatory
  25. Earth Observing System – NASA: EOS Project Science Office
  26. Earth Observing System Graphic – NASA: Introducing the A-Train
  27. NASA Scientists Participate in IPCC – NASA: Climate Change Peacemakers Aided Nobel Effort
  28. Nobel Prize Graphic – Lawrence Berkeley National Lab: Nobel Peace Prize for 2007
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