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Photos of climate change for students

Global warming map of sea temperatures

Last updated: May 10, 2012.

Looking for photos of climate change and global warming to illustrate your school or college project? You've come to the right place. We've collected together a mini "photo library" of 50 public domain (copyright free) images you can use without worrying about copyright.

Before you read on, you might like to note that we have some other handy pages on our site:

Photo by courtesy of Great Images in NASA.

Causes

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Smokestack pollution from a coal-fired electric power plant.
Power generation
Smokestack pollution from a power plant using coal to generate electricity. Old-fashioned power plants like this are a major source of greenhouse gases.
Photo by courtesy of:
US DOE National Renewable Energy Laboratory
(Search for picture PIX number 00560).
coal fired power plant
Power generation
Coal-fired power plants like this are the dirtiest way of making electricity.
Photo by Warren Gretz courtesy of:
US DOE National Renewable Energy Laboratory
(Search for picture PIX number 10930).
Electricity pylon towers
Power generation
Generating power far from where it's used and transmitting it over long distances wastes a huge amount of energy and contributes to global warming.
Photo by Warren Gretz courtesy of:
US DOE National Renewable Energy Laboratory
(Search for picture PIX number 00001).
yellow bulldozer among a black mine of coal
Power generation
Coal is the dirtiest, most inefficient way of making electricity.
Photo by David Parsons courtesy of:
US DOE National Renewable Energy Laboratory
(Search for picture PIX number 06732).
Traffic on the freeway causes pollution and greenhouse gas emissions
Transportation
Traffic on the freeway: internal combustion engines generate carbon dioxide as they burn fuel.
Photo by Warren Gretz courtesy of:
US DOE National Renewable Energy Laboratory
(Search for picture PIX number 10639).
Cars, power plants, and urbanization
Transportation
Cars, power plants, and urbanization all contribute to global warming.
Photo by Roger Taylor courtesy of:
US DOE National Renewable Energy Laboratory
(Search for picture PIX number 01887).
c5 galaxy transportation plane
Transportation
The rapid growth in air travel and air freight is making a major contribution to global warming. This photo shows the gigantic military C-5 Galaxy transporter, one of the world's biggest airplanes.
Photo by Lt. Col. Thomas Davis courtesy of:
US Air Force
(Search for picture 060813-F-0000D-109).
Highway transportation causes pollution and greenhouse gas emissions
Urbanization
Highways, urbanization, and inefficient road transportation are all causes of global warming.
Photo by Warren Gretz courtesy of:
US DOE National Renewable Energy Laboratory
(Search for picture PIX number 05692).
Fires and Thick Smoke Across Southeast Asia
Land change
Fires and thick smoke across Southeast Asia: Thousands of fires used to burn crops and pastureland each year contribute to global warming.
Photo by courtesy of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center and Great Images in NASA.
(Search for picture id 10523).
bulldozer moves trash in a landfill
Wasting resources
Landfill culture: Our throwaway, disposable society wastes energy and materials.
Photo by David Parsons courtesy of:
US DOE National Renewable Energy Laboratory
(Search for picture PIX number 05289).

Solutions

Thumbnail Description Source
Microalgae
Alternative Fuels
Microalgae grown in deserts for producing biodiesel fuel.
Keyword search "microalgae" at:
US Department of Energy Digital Photo Archive
Ethanol-fueled Astro van
Alternative Fuels
Ethanol-fuled Astro van
Photo by Noni Strawn courtesy of:
US DOE National Renewable Energy Laboratory
(Search for picture PIX number 03288).
Bus painted to look like an ear of corn runs on ethanol fuel in Peoria, Illinois
Alternative Fuels
Bus painted like an ear of corn runs on ethanol fuel in Illinois.
Photo by Greater Peoria Mass Transit District courtesy of:
US DOE National Renewable Energy Laboratory
(Search for picture PIX number 03320).
Biomass gasifier uses residue from sugarcane mill, with sugarcane fields and ocean in the background
Alternative Fuels
Biomass gasifier using residue from a sugarcane mill.
Photo by Warren Gretz courtesy of:
US DOE National Renewable Energy Laboratory
(Search for picture PIX number 03785).
Hybrid electric e-bike
Alternative Fuels
A hybrid-powered e-bike.
Photo courtesy of NASA Glenn Research Center (NASA-GRC) and NASA Image Exchange.
(Search for picture id C-2001-00442).
Hybrid-powered Ford Escape HEV
Alternative Fuels
A hybrid-powered Ford Escape HEV.
Photo by courtesy of National Renewable Energy Laboratory and US Department of Energy Digital Photo Archive
(Search for image ID: 2016220)
Solar panels at at the SunEdison photovoltaic power plant near Alamosa
Renewable energy
Solar panels tracking the Sun at at the SunEdison photovoltaic power plant near Alamosa, south central Colorado, near the New Mexico border.
Photo by Steve Wilcox courtesy of:
US DOE National Renewable Energy Laboratory
(Search for picture PIX number 15541).
Solar power at Dangling Rope Marina, Lake Powell, Utah
Renewable energy
Photovoltaic solar panels at Dangling Rope Marina, Lake Powell, Utah.
Photo by Warren Gretz courtesy of:
US DOE National Renewable Energy Laboratory
(Search for picture PIX number 08047).
wind turbine
Renewable energy
Wind turbine at the Fairmont Reservoir of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.
Photo by Warren Gretz courtesy of:
US DOE National Renewable Energy Laboratory
(Search for picture PIX number 12849).
recycling cardboard
Recycling
Recycling saves materials and energy and helps generally in the fight against global warming. Landfills can generate methane, a powerful global warming gas.
Photo by Pat Corkery courtesy of:
US DOE National Renewable Energy Laboratory
(Search for picture PIX number 15926).

Measuring climate change

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Installation of Longwave Infrared Radiometer
Using infrared radiometer to measure heat emitted by the desert.
Photo by Steve Wilcox courtesy of:
US DOE National Renewable Energy Laboratory
(Search for picture PIX number 03300).
A scientist uses a computer to analyze carbon dioxide emissions.
A scientist uses a computer to analyze carbon dioxide emissions. Computer screen shows a graphic of the greenhouse effect.
Photo by courtesy of Oak Ridge National Laboratory and US Department of Energy Digital Photo Archive
(Search for image ID: 1002975)
Aerostat measuring aerosols for climate change studies
Aerostat measuring aerosols for climate change studies.
Photo by courtesy of Environmental Measurements Laboratory and US Department of Energy Digital Photo Archive
(Search for image ID: 2008171)

Charts and graphs

Thumbnail Description Source
Temperature Data Shows global Warming in 2001
Chart showing how much air temperatures near the Earth's surface have changed relative to the global mean temperature from 1951 to 1980
Photo by courtesy of Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) and
NASA Image Exchange.
(Search for picture id GL-2002-001329).
Portrait of a Warming Ocean and Rising Sea Levels: Trend of Sea Level Change 1993-2008
Portrait of a Warming Ocean and Rising Sea Levels: Trend of Sea Level Change 1993-2008.
Photo courtesy of NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (NASA-JPL) and NASA Image Exchange.
(Search for picture id PIA11002).
Global Vegetation map
Satellite map showing global vegetation cover, used, among things, for climate change studies.
Photo by courtesy of Great Images in NASA.
(Search for picture id GPN-2003-00029).
Global Sea Surface Temperature
Global Sea Surface Temperature: maps like this help us understand how Earth is warming both generally and as part of events such as El Nino.
Photo by courtesy of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center and Great Images in NASA.
(Search for picture id GPN-2003-00032).
Global View of the Arctic Ocean
Global View of the Arctic Ocean and Arctic sea ice.
Photo courtesy of NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (NASA-JPL) and NASA Image Exchange.
(Search for picture id PIA02970).
AIRS-Retrieved Global Tropospheric Methane for August 2005
Chart of global tropospheric methane (a powerful greenhouse gas) for August 2005.
Photo courtesy of NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (NASA-JPL) and NASA Image Exchange.
(Search for picture id PIA09941).
rising sea level trends in united states
Rising sea levels: trends in the United States. Find out more about sea level changes from the NOAA.
Photo courtesy of NOAA.
(Follow the link for a bigger, high-resolution version of this chart.)

General images

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Global warming, climate change, image of warmed Earth
"Watching the World Rev its Heat Engine".
Photo by courtesy of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA-GSFC) and NASA Image Exchange.
(Search for picture id GL-2002-001304).
General image of Earth from space
General image of Earth from space.
Photo by courtesy of NASA Johnson Space Center and
Great Images in NASA.
(Search for picture id GPN-2000-001138).
Satellite Image of Earth's Interrelated Systems and Climate
Satellite Image of Earth's Interrelated Systems and Climate.
Photo by courtesy of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center and
Great Images in NASA.
(Search for picture id GPN-2002-000121).

Warming in action?

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Description Source
Retreat of Arctic sea ice in Northern Alaska
Arctic Ice
Seasonal Arctic ice begins its spring retreat.
Photo by courtesy of Jacques Descloitres, MODIS Land Rapid Response Team, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA-GSFC), and
NASA Image Exchange.
(Search for picture id GL-2002-002399).
Global warming predictions indicate the amount of snowmelt and runoff in river basins
Precipitation
Global warming predictions indicate the amount of snowmelt and runoff in river basins.
Photo by Scott Bauer courtesy of US Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service (USDA/ARS)
(Search for picture id K5060-12).
Breakup of Winter Ice Packs, Shantar Island, Sea of Okhotsk
Arctic
Breakup of winter sea ice during an unusual warming spell, photographed from the Space Shuttle (mission STS053, December 1992)
Photo by courtesy of NASA Johnson Space Center and
NASA Image Exchange.
(Search for picture id STS053-97-050).
Drought in Southwestern United States
United States
Drought in Southwestern United States, 2007.
Photo by courtesy of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA-GSFC) and NASA Image Exchange.
(Search for picture id 10561).

Future imacts/effects of global warming

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Caribou
Habitats and species
Species adapted to living in particular biomes are finding it hard to cope with relatively rapid changes in the climate. Caribou are a good example of mammals under threat.
Photo by courtesy of Jon Nickles and US Fish & Wildlife Service
(Search on "caribou" for a good selection of images).
coral reef
Habitats and species
Climate change is causing coral bleaching (where corals die and go white in higher- temperature oceans). Some estimates suggest 40-60 percent loss of the world's reefs by 2030.
Photo by courtesy of Jerry Reid and US Fish & Wildlife Service
(Search on "coral reef" for a  selection of images).
polar bear on sea ice
Habitats and species
Polar bears rely on Arctic sea ice for feeding and raising their cubs. If the ice disappears, where will they go? How will they survive?
Photo by courtesy of US Fish & Wildlife Service
(Search on "polar bear" for a  selection of images).
mangrove swamp
Habitats and species
Mangroves are threatened by rising sea levels and coastal erosion.
Photo by G. Ludwig courtesy of US Fish & Wildlife Service
(Search on "mangrove" for a  selection of images).
tufted puffin
Habitats and species
One in eight bird species are threatened by climate change, including the tufted puffin (Fratercula cirrhata) shown here.
Photo by Mike Boylan courtesy of US Fish & Wildlife Service.
forest fire
Forest fires
Climate change is expected to lead to more droughts and wild fires.
Photo by Arthur Allen courtesy of US Fish & Wildlife Service
(Search on "forest fire" for a  selection of images).
wheat crop field
Crop yields
Global warming will drastically reduce yields of important food crops such as maize and wheat in many parts of the world, though some parts of the world will see greater yields through hotter temperatures and longer growing seasons.

Photo by courtesy of US Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service (USDA/ARS)
(Search for picture id K1441-5).
wheat head infected with scab
Crop yields
A head of wheat.
Photo by Jacolyn Morrison courtesy of US Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service (USDA/ARS)
(Search for picture id K11702-1).
Hurricane Rita 2005
Extreme weather
Climate change projections suggest extreme weather events will become more common and more extreme. This photo shows Hurricane Rita over the Gulf of Mexico in 2005. Read more about hurricanes and climate change.


Photo by courtesy of US Navy.
(Search for picture id 050921-N-2222R-001).
Hurricane Katrina New Orleans flooding
Floods
Heavier and more frequent rainstorms will lead to greater risk of river flooding. This photo shows the flooding of New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
Photo by Michael B. Watkins courtesy of US Navy.
(Search for picture id 050906-N-6436W-249).
flooding sea level rise climate change
Floods
Heavier and more frequent rainstorms will lead to greater risk of river flooding. This photo shows flood and wind damage from Hurricane Isabel in 2003.
Photo by courtesy of US Navy.
(Search for picture id 030919-O-0000X-004).
sea level rise flooding
Sea-level rise
Sea levels are expected to rise by up to 1m by 2100 causing widespread flooding in low-lying coastal areas and massive displacement of the people living there.
Photo by Gina Wollman courtesy of US Navy.
(Search for picture id 080916-N-3595W-024).
Malaria laboratory research
Pests and diseases
Human health is expected to suffer as pests such as mosquitoes spread their range, carrying diseases such as malaria. This photo shows malaria research in a laboratory.

Photo by National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) courtesy of National Institutes of Health (NIH) Image Bank.

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