Free Podcasts on Climate and Climate Change

In partnership with the National Science Digital Library (NSDL) and Apple Inc., the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) offer podcasts that provide a brief and accessible overview of climate and climate change. These free podcasts, 5-8 minute videos you can download on your computer or iPod, are a part of the NSDL on iTunes U collection

These NCAR and UCAR podcasts are in seven segments and include an overview of climate, climate change, and things that we can do to reduce human impact on climate. They serve as a helpful primer in understanding basic factors of climate, how scientists measure climate, and the importance of informing the public on issues of climate. As one scientist in one of the podcasts points out, many people hold the false assumption that extreme climate change is inevitable with nothing left for us to do to circumvent it or at the least to alleviate the severity of its effects. A large part of changing this notion is through education.

iTunes U is a free service that gives users of Apple’s iTunes access to audio and video from leading educational institutions. The Beyond Campus section of iTunes U includes museums, public radio and television stations, and other nonprofit educational providers.

The initial launch of NSDL on iTunes U also has science video and audio content from other NSDL partners, including Exploratorium, the University of Wisconsin at Madison, Chemical Education Digital Library, and the NSDL Pathway for Applied Science and Mathematics.


NSDL on iTunes Resources

NSDL on iTunes U
This page of the National Science Digital Library web site provides an overview of the NSDL collection on iTunes U. It also provides a direct link to the NSDL collection and instructions for downloading iTunes onto your Mac or Windows computer.


Climate Podcasts

A few highlights from the NCAR and UCAR podcast collection. Please note that following these links will take you to the iTunes collection. If you do not have iTunes on your computer, refer to the download instructions before viewing.

How is Climate Studied?

What is Causing Climate Change?

How Can We Respond to Climate Change?


Classroom Activities

Windows to the Universe: Earth’s Climate and Global Change
This is an excellent resource developed by UCAR for earth and space science. It includes background content, activities, data sets, video and other materials that are organized by reading levels – beginner, intermediate and expert. There are a host of elementary-level materials related to the earth’s climate and global change, including the Postcards from Antarctica that educator Jenny Pennycock wrote when she was in Antarctica on a research project on Adelie Penguins.

What to Wear? What to Drink? Weather Patterns and Climatic Regions
This activity for third- to fifth-grade students can be easily modified for younger students. Students explore different climate regions based on the type of clothing people wear and how that relates to the regions of the earth.

Journey North
Students can contribute to a free, national study of monarch butterfly migration and relate that information to seasonal change on both a national and local level.

EPA Global Warming Kids Site
Most of the activities listed on this site are directed to middle school students, but the site does provide additional background information and simulations that are helpful references and provide visuals for teaching.

Global Warming for Kids
This student-friendly site contains a variety of engaging multimedia about climate change: games, music, videos, books, magazines, and more.


This article was written by Robert Payo. For more information, see the Contributors page. Email Robert at beyondpenguins@msteacher.org.

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