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MEA 100 - Introduction to Earth System Science

Dave DeMaster

Course URL: http://courses.ncsu.edu/classes/mea100/Public/homepage.html
Course Type:

Earth Systems Science

Course Size:


The goal of Earth System Science is to obtain a scientific understanding of the entire Earth system on a global scale by describing how its component parts and their interactions have evolved, how they function, and how they may be expected to continue to evolve on all timescales. The challenge to Earth System Science is to develop the capability to predict those changes that will occur in the next decade to century, both naturally and in response to human activity.

Course Context:

This is an introductory class for majors and non-majors.

Course Goals:

Course Objectives:

  1. Develop a basic understanding of the major components and processes of the four primary Earth systems;
  2. Recognize linkages between the Earth systems;
  3. Develop an understanding of dynamic equilibrium and feedback loops between and among the Earth systems;
  4. Develop an insight for the anthropogenic influences on the Earth systems;
  5. Learn to use computer simulations to model behavior of the Earth systems.

Course Content:

This course covers topics such as greenhouse systematics, the carbon cycle, global warming, atmospheric and ocean circulation, climate regulation and human impacts.

Teaching Materials:

The text for the class is

  • The Earth System, Lee R. Kump, James F. Kasting, and Robert G Crane; Prentice Hall, 2nd Ed., 2004.
There is also a coursepack for the class with additional readings and laboratory exercises.


Test 1 - 100
Test 2 - 100
Test 3 - 100
Term Project - 50
Pop Quizzes - 50
Final Exam - 150
Lab - 150

Total - 700 points

References and Notes:

A Gateway to Earth System Science Resources

Prentice Hall's Earth on the Internet: A Field Guide for Geoscience Students