Visualizing and Understanding the Science of Climate Change

Why Understanding and responding to global climate change is one of the defining challenges of the 21st Century. We receive many mixed messages about global climate change, and we often don't have information and tools we can trust to see and understand the complex connections between human activity and our changing climate. provides a set of peer-reviewed, interactive, web-based materials to help learners visualize and understand the underlying science of climate change.

Who are we? This project results from a three-year collaboration between the faculty and student research team at the King's Centre for Visualization in Science (The King's University College, Edmonton, Canada) and chemists and educators from the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC - UK), UNESCO, the International Union of Pure & Applied Chemistry's Committee on Chemistry Education (IUPAC CCE), the American Chemical Society (ACS - USA), and the Federation of African Societies of Chemistry (FASC).

IUPAC Project Team Members
IUPAC Project # 2008-043-1-050
King's Centre for Visualization in Science Researchers
Peter Mahaffy (Project Chair, IUPAC CCE) Brian Martin (co-director) Peter Mahaffy (co-director)
Mei-Hung Chiu (IUPAC CCE) Amanda Vandehoek Kristen Tjostheim
Alison Eldridge (RSC) Benjamin Dodds Matthew Price
Temechegn Engida (FASC) David Dykstra Denyse Dawe
Julia Hasler (UNESCO) Darren Eymundson Theo Keeler
Mary Kirchhoff (ACS) Katrina Genuis Anna Schwalfenberg
Brian Martin (KCVS) James Gilker Darrell Vandenbrink
Colin Osborne (RSC) Naomi Mahaffy Luke Vanderwekken
Natalia Tarasova (IUPAC CCE) Amanda Thompson Shawn Ritter
Lorna Thomson (RSC) Kalley Lasola Aden Gagnon

The Royal Society of Chemistry acknowledges the contribution of Vicky Wong in the production of this resource.

Target Audiences: (a) 16-19 year old students, (b) teachers at the secondary and first year tertiary levels, and (c) chemistry professionals. The materials will also be accessible to the general public.

Peer Review: Materials have been extensively reviewed by peer experts in both science and pedagogy, tested with teachers, and will be globally disseminated through partner networks to provide an important contribution to meeting the goals of the International Year of Chemistry. The British Antarctic Survey contributed images and review of some of the material.

CLEAN Reviewed: Many of the educational resources on have passed rigorous review by scientists and educators. We are proud to have been selected for inclusion in the Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness Network (CLEAN) collection of educational Resources.

Use of Materials: All materials are copyright to The King's Centre for Visualization in Science and are free for personal, not-for-profit use. They may not, however, be redistributed, posted on web sites or used in public presentations without prior agreement with The King's Centre for Visualization in Science. Contact:

Image and Video Credits: Sources for images requiring permissions are as follows:

  • Index Page
    • Landscape photo: Miriam Mahaffy
  • Home Page
    • Lesson 2 Image: Royal Society of Chemistry Climate Change, UK
    • Lessons 3 and 5 Images: King's Centre for Visualization in Science
    • Lesson 4 Image: Henrik Thorburn (2010),
    • Lesson 6 Image: Miriam Mahaffy
    • Lessons 7 Image: Katrina S.S. Genuis
    • Lesson 8 Image: National Research Council Canada, permissions requested
  • Lesson 1
    • Photograph of Earth and map of temperatures: NASA
    • Video - Historical temperatures learning tool: NASA
    • Landscape images: Naomi Mahaffy
    • Regional Climates Diagram: sciDAC (permissions requested)
  • Lesson 2
    • Images of ice cores, ice core collection, and glaciers:The British Antarctic Survey contributed images and review of some of the material.
    • Landscape and floral images: Katrina S.S. Genuis
    • Clathrate: National Research Council Canada, permissions requested
  • Lesson 3
    • Forest, landscape, and tree images: Katrina S.S Genuis
    • Molecule images from Odyssey Software, Wavefunction Inc.
    • IR Spectrometer: Peter Mahaffy
    • Topic 5 molecule image: KCVS image developed by James Gilker
  • Lesson 4
    • Introduction page image: Photograph by Henrik Thorburn (2010)
    • Tree, cloud, and landscape images: Katrina S. S. Genuis
    • Image of Earth from space: NASA
  • Lesson 5
    • Bleached Coral: Photograph by M. Brandt, Rosenstiel School of Marine and Amospheric Science
    • Shells and Carbon Dioxide video and The Marine Food Web video: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
    • Video of 2005 Hurricane Season: NOAA
    • Projected number of hot days in the United States: NOAA
    • Ecosystem diagram: Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
    • Wildlife images: Phy Phy on
  • Lesson 6
    • Lake and Swan image: ivanmarn on
    • Mauna Loa Observatory image: NOAA
    • Farming Equipment image: Using the Wind to Fertilize Corn, Renewable Energy Newsletter, Agricultural Marketing Resource Center, February 2009.
    • Radiative forcing diagram: adapted from IPCC report, taken from Chemistry: Human Activity, Chemical Reactivity; Mahaffy, Bucat, Tasker et al., Nelson, 2011.
  • Lesson 7
    • Albedo of Earth image: NASA
    • Pine beetle images: Province of British Columbia under the Open Government Lisence for Government of BC information v. BC1.0
  • Lesson 8
    • Ocean Current Circulation video: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio
    • Image of little girl on the beach: Stephanie Berghaeuser on
    • Marine Pteropod image: NOAA
    • Speciation Curve, taken from Chemistry: Human Activity, Chemical Reactivity; Mahaffy, Bucat, Tasker et al., Nelson, 2011.
    • Ocean pH image: Global Ocean Data Analysis Project (GLODAP)
    • Marine Pteropod video: NOAA
  • Lesson 9
    • Earth at night image: Craig Mayhew and Robert Simmon, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
    • Ship tracks image: Jesse Allen, NASA
    • Earth satellite image: NASA
    • Houses at Drake Landing image: Natural Resources Canada
    • Window image: Peter Mahaffy
  • Glossary Terms
    • Glossary terms from KCVS team and adapted from (a) IUPAC Gold Book and (b) IPCC, 2007: Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [Solomon, S., D. Qin, M. Manning, Z. Chen, M. Marquis, K.B. Averyt, M.Tignor and H.L. Miller (eds.)]. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom and New York, NY, USA.

  • Last Modified: 20 August, 2021
    Version 2.2.7

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