What Is Climate Change?

Climate change occurs when extreme events like heat waves, unusually cold winters, flooding and droughts change an area's average weather conditions over time. The changing climate we are experiencing today is due in large part to higher amounts of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere caused by the use of fossil fuels

Climate Vs. Weather

Climate is how the atmosphere behaves over time. Time could be a month, a year or more and is measured in averages. Climate is different from weather, which is the state of the atmosphere at a specific time in a specific place. Weather is what you see when you look outside right now.

Trends and Variations

When climate scientists look at data sets related to weather, they look for trends, or long-term changes in data averages. This does not mean every data point falls in line with the trend. There may be variation due to extreme events, but the average of the data points is trending in a certain direction.

Climate Change in Three Rivers

In Three Rivers, we've observed firsthand the impact of climate change in Minnesota. Learn how these changes are affecting recreation, wildlife and more in our parks.

Rising overnight winter temperatures have impacted how we enjoy winter outdoors. 

From a shorter maple syrup season to subdued fall colors, climate change is affecting our sugar maple forests.

A deep snow pack helps many plants and wildlife survive our cold winters. Unfortunately, climate change may mean a shrinking subnivean layer.

From driving less to being more energy efficient, there are countless ways you can help slow climate change. 

Climate Conversations Series

Climate generation logo.In partnership with Climate Generation, we are co-hosting a series of conversations that explore the changing climate and its impact on our community. Register today for an upcoming Climate Conversations or explore information from past events.