Forces of Change

Nearly every scientific and social issue confronting us today involves change: climate change, ecological change, cultural change. What forces drive these changes? What is the tempo and mode of these changes? Are these changes natural or the result of human tampering? Are they to be feared or welcomed? How do we - and all life on this planet - adapt to these changes? Come and explore the answers to these and other important questions with us.


The Big Picture game How well do you know the world beneath your feet?

Take our Soil Quiz and find out!

Ginkgo biloba What does Ginkgo biloba have to do with climate change? Ginkgo biloba, a hardy tree commonly found along city streets, is considered a “living fossil.” It is giving scientists important information about climate change.

Dr. Patrick Megonigal, Soil Ecologist, Smithsonian Environmental Research Center Meet Pat Megonigal, Soil Ecologist How are soils connected to earth's global ecosystems? How are wetland soils threatened by climate change and pollution? Dr. Pat Megonigal explores these questions and more.

Mosman Council Australian Dust Storm - September 2009. Australians were affected by the country's worst dust storm in seven decades. Learn about atmospheric transport >>

NASA satellite imageSatellite Images Show Evidence of El Niño - July 26, 2009. The NOAA Climate Prediction Center reported that ocean temperatures in Pacific had shifted into El Niño conditions.

Click to visit the Atmosphere site Atmosphere: Change is in the Air
An exhibit that explores Earth's Atmosphere - a thin envelope that surrounds us and makes Earth habitable for life.

Click to visit the Arctic site Arctic: A Friend Acting Strangely
An online exhibit that explores changes in the Arctic, the Earth’s northernmost region, and how they are monitored by scientists and polar residents alike.

Click to visit the Soils web site! Dig It! The Secrets of Soil
We are building an exhibit about soil - a world under our feet and teeming with life! Open at the Natural History Museum through January 3, 2010.