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Earth System Science

Why study Earth System Science?

Image Credit: M. Ruzek

Beginning to perceive Earth as a system can begin with something as simple as when we first feel warmth from sunshine or get wet standing in the rain. However, truly understanding Earth as a systemEarth System Sciencerequires a quantitative exploration of the connections among all parts of the system: air, water, land, and life.

Understanding climate change requires that you understand that Earth is a comprehensive system of dynamic, interacting components. Furthermore, understanding how the Earth system works is essential for preparing you to make informed decisions about how to manage, protect, and sustain our planet and its natural resources.

What will I learn?

This unit will introduce you to many of the complex issues surrounding the Earth as a system and will help you to look at Earth in a new wayas a living system. You will learn to identify the parts of the Earth system and the processes that connect them at the local, regional, and global scales.

Key Questions addressed by this unit include:

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