Climate Science Academy

Accurate climate science information from leading climate scientists

Module D: Local & Ecosystem Climate Impacts

Climate Literacy Essential Principle 3

Guiding Question

How will climate change affect life, including humans, on Earth?


Life on Earth depends on, is shaped by, and affects climate.

Species survive within specific environmental conditons of temperature, precipitation, humidity, and sunlight. Changes in climate conditions can affect the health and function of ecosystems. Organisms exposed to climate change must adapt or migrate, or they will perish and may become extinct. 

Learning & Teaching About Essential Principle 3 with the Climate Literacy & Energy Awareness Network (CLEAN)

Introduction to Climate Literacy Essential Principle 3 presented by Mark McCaffrey

Scientist Presentation

Joe Barsugli of the Western Water Assessment explains the regional impacts of climate change. Water is a key resource that will likely be affected by climate change due to disruptions in normal precipitation patterns, which can affect water availability.

Webinar with an Expert

César Nufio of the University of Colorado’s Natural History Museum presents “Climate change and its impact on organisms." How are the life cycles of living things impacted by climate change? What effects will such changes likely have on ecosystems?

Module D Quiz

Key concepts of Climate Literacy Essential Principle 3:

a. Individual organisms survive within specific ranges of temperature, precipitation, humidity, and sunlight.

b. The presence of small amounts of heat-trapping greenhouse gases in the atmosphere warms Earth's surface, resulting in a planet that sustains liquid water and life.

c. Changes in climate conditions can affect the health and function of ecosystems and the survival of entire species.

d. A range of natural records shows that the last 10,000 years have been an unusually stable period in Earth's climate history.

e. Life—including microbes, plants, animals, and humans—is a major driver of the global carbon cycle and can influence global climate by modifying the chemical makeup of the atmosphere.


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