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Images of Change

NASA Climate, NASA

This collection of photos from the NASA Climate website features images of global change, such as floods, wildfires, and retreating glaciers. Not all images show change caused directly by climate change and energy use, and descriptive captions indicate causes for change in most of the images.

Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»

ngssSee how this Static Visualization supports the Next Generation Science Standards»
Middle School: 2 Disciplinary Core Ideas, 6 Cross Cutting Concepts
High School: 2 Disciplinary Core Ideas, 8 Cross Cutting Concepts

Notes From Our Reviewers The CLEAN collection is hand-picked and rigorously reviewed for scientific accuracy and classroom effectiveness. Read what our review team had to say about this resource below or learn more about how CLEAN reviews teaching materials
Teaching Tips | Science | Pedagogy | Technical Details

Teaching Tips

  • It is crucial to emphasize that these changes depicted on this site may or may not be due to human activities and climate change.
  • Search website by using CTR+F and type in your search term in the box.

About the Science

  • Images include changes related to climate change directly (e.g. glaciers melting) and indirectly (e.g. pine bark beetle infestations), as well as consequences of energy development/use (e.g. Chernobyl 2011 and damming the Nile for hydroelectricity).
  • It must be emphasized that images of global change are not always due to or attributable to human induced climate change.
  • For example, images of Caspian Sea from week of June 30, 2011 show changes that are due to human activities, specifically irrigation diversions of streams into the Caspian Sea for growing cotton. While this is not directly related to climate change, these changes did impact human health and alter weather patterns in the region.
  • New images are added periodically.
  • Comments from expert scientist: The striking visual imagery effectively communicates earth surface changes. The changes themselves are compelling. Imagery from different instruments and missions is being (at least visually) set to a similar reflectance scale, in order to allow for visual comparisons.

About the Pedagogy

  • These images show dramatic, large-scale changes over relatively short time scales. It is important for viewers not to jump to conclusions about the cause or attribution of the change.
  • Students could explore the collection and find images, processes, or locations that are most compelling to them.
  • Background materials or readings are not provided.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • Users can scroll through the images one at a time, or they can select images from a grid of thumbnails, or sort them by topic or location.

Related URLs These related sites were noted by our reviewers but have not been reviewed by CLEAN


Next Generation Science Standards See how this Static Visualization supports:

Middle School

Disciplinary Core Ideas: 2

MS-ESS2.C5:Water’s movements—both on the land and underground—cause weathering and erosion, which change the land’s surface features and create underground formations.


Cross Cutting Concepts: 6

Stability and Change, Patterns, Cause and effect, Scale, Proportion and Quantity


MS-C1.3: Patterns can be used to identify cause and effect relationships.


MS-C3.2: The observed function of natural and designed systems may change with scale.

MS-C3.3: Proportional relationships (e.g., speed as the ratio of distance traveled to time taken) among different types of quantities provide information about the magnitude of properties and processes.

MS-C3.5:Phenomena that can be observed at one scale may not be observable at another scale.

High School

Disciplinary Core Ideas: 2

HS-ESS2.C1:The abundance of liquid water on Earth’s surface and its unique combination of physical and chemical properties are central to the planet’s dynamics. These properties include water’s exceptional capacity to absorb, store, and release large amounts of energy, transmit sunlight, expand upon freezing, dissolve and transport materials, and lower the viscosities and melting points of rocks.

HS-ESS3.D1:Though the magnitudes of human impacts are greater than they have ever been, so too are human abilities to model, predict, and manage current and future impacts.

Cross Cutting Concepts: 8

Patterns, Cause and effect, Scale, Proportion and Quantity, Stability and Change

HS-C1.1:Different patterns may be observed at each of the scales at which a system is studied and can provide evidence for causality in explanations of phenomena

HS-C1.2:Classifications or explanations used at one scale may fail or need revision when information from smaller or larger scales is introduced; thus requiring improved investigations and experiments.

HS-C2.2:Cause and effect relationships can be suggested and predicted for complex natural and human designed systems by examining what is known about smaller scale mechanisms within the system.

HS-C2.4:Changes in systems may have various causes that may not have equal effects.

HS-C3.1:The significance of a phenomenon is dependent on the scale, proportion, and quantity at which it occurs.

HS-C3.3:Patterns observable at one scale may not be observable or exist at other scales.

HS-C3.4:Using the concept of orders of magnitude allows one to understand how a model at one scale relates to a model at another scale.


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