Climate Web Navigation

NOTE: This page doesn’t apply to Climate Sites that we’ve extracted from the Climate Web. But if you click on links in Climate Sites you may find yourself jumping into the Climate Web itself. That’s where these navigation tips and tricks come into play.

First-Time Climate Web Users

If you're new to the Climate Web, you may find the interface unfamiliar, and the amount of information being organized and presented can be intimidating. The Climate Web is built with TheBrain software, a powerful and easy-to-use “mind-mapping” and knowledge management software. Through the bullets below, and the HELP thought always pinned to the top of your screen, you can come up the Climate Web’s learning curve quickly. You may even want to experiment with using TheBrain software for your own knowledge management needs. Knowledge management may be the single most important skill never taught to students at any level. Even the FREE version of TheBrain software is a great way to start.

Web Access

The biggest issue for first-time users of the **Climate Web** to be aware of is that the TheBrain's web-based interface is substantially slower and less powerful than the laptop and mobile versions of the software. Some of the software's features just don't work in the web-based interface. These and other limitations can be overcome by downloading the **Climate Web** to your own computer, something you can do with [Premium Access](

Even with these limitations, however, you can use the web-based interface of the Climate Web to take advantage of tens of thousands of hours of open-access climate change knowledge curation by the Climatographers. To that end here are some basic navigational pointers:

  • The "HOME" thought is always available at the top of your screen to bring you to the "front door" of the Climate Web.

  • CLICK on a thought to center it on your screen. Thoughts can be linked to “parent,” “child,” or “jump” thoughts (above, below, and to the left of a given thought). 

  • HOVERING over a thought will show any information contained in its “Label,” while HOVERING over any Thumbnail Image (at the far left of a thought) will EXPAND the image to full size (can take 2-5 seconds on-line). (NOTE: We're gradually transitioning thumbnail images into Notes fields for easier viewing)

  • Thought "GATES," are the small circles just below, above, and to the left of all the thoughts on your screen. Empty circles signal that there are no additional thoughts attached to that Gate. Solid green Gates indicate thoughts that aren’t currently on your screen. Clicking on a thought with filled-in gates will make those thoughts visible.  

  • A thought’s Notes Field (where you are right now in the case of this HELP thought) can contain explanatory text as well as PDFs, URLs , or videos. The small triangles at the bottom of the dividing line between the Notes Field and the blue "Plex" can open or close the Notes field (we do use the Notes field extensively, so would recommend you keep it open). But you can drag the bar between the Notes Field and Plex to resize either.

  • If you are accessing the Climate Web on-line, you can only retrace one step via your Browser's Backspace key. But there is also a breadcrumb trail at the bottom of the Plex showing recently activated thoughts.

  • You can SEARCH the Climate Web. The on-line and desktop search capabilities are different. Click on the appropriate link for more information. Web Search Function Desktop/Laptop Search Function 

  • Perhaps the best way to explore the Climate Web on-line is through its Index. You can learn much more about the Index and how it works via this thought.

  • We use visual icons to tell you something about thoughts you are seeing on your screen. Different kinds of thoughts have different icons and often different colors as you can see in the Legend just below.

Climate Web Legend revised

That's all you really know to navigate the Climate Web. You’ll be surprised at how quickly you can come up the TheBrain’s and the Climate Web’s learning curve! And the HELP thought always at the top of your screen when you’re in the Climate Web has more information.

Still have questions? Our contact information is always pinned to the top left of your screen.