Earth System Science. Our dynamic planet features several interconnected subsystems that profoundly influence one another. Geosphere. Atmosphere. Hydrosphere. Biosphere. 4.6 Billion Years of Interaction. Geosphere. Hydrosphere. Biosphere. Atmosphere. Major Themes.
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ScaleProcesses in the Earth system act on length
scales of microns to thousands of kilometers, and
on time scales of milliseconds to millions of years.
EnergyThe Earth system is powered by one external source (the Sun) and two internal ones: radioactive decay, and gravitational energy (heat still being lost from planetary formation).
CyclesMaterial in the Earth system is continually recycled in numerous overlapping cycles.
Includes all life.
Concentrated near the geosphere surface, from the ocean floor to
the lowermost level of the atmosphere.
~71% of Earth's surface, ____% of Earth’s water
Lakes & Streams Atmosphere Groundwater Glaciers
____% ____% ____% ____%
The Hydrologic Cycle
Precipitation, Evaporation, Runoff, Infiltration, etc...
>50% of all air molecules are within 6 km of surface.
Air consists mostly of N (78%) and O (21%).
Origin: volcanic eruptions, comets, life
Predicted surface T of Earth: -18°C (0°F)
Actual surface T of Earth: 15°C (60°F)
Thank you, greenhouse effect. Thank you, atmosphere.
How does climate differ from weather?
Weather: Hours to weeks
Climate: Months to millenia
Precipitation (type & amount)
Wind (speed & direction)
Heat is transferred from warmer to cooler hosts.
Conduction via molecular activity.
Convection via mass vertical movements of a substance.
Electromagnetic radiation (300,000 km/sec in a vacuum)
Unequal amounts of solar radiation
(axial tilt, seasons, etc.)
Unequal heating of land & water
Altitude (cooler at higher elevations)
Geography (esp. regarding winds)
Land has a lower specific heat than water.
(Specific heat: Energy to raise 1 gram of a substance 1°C)
heats faster than
gets hotter than
cools faster than