What are Earth System Studies?

ESS delves into the complex interplay of Earth’s atmosphere, hydrosphere, cryosphere, geosphere, pedosphere, biosphere and magnetosphere.

What is SSE?

Basic systems science, studied and developed at all educational levels, and fundamental science practices have found application in Earth System Science (ESS). The interactions between water, ice, rock, living things and the Earth’s atmosphere paint a complete picture of a model where different processes in nature could be described under common natural science terminology, such as chemistry, physics, biology and mathematics.

Interaction of the constituent parts of the Earth

An integral approach to Earth system science also encompasses the social sciences, including fields as diverse as ecology, sociology and economics. In 1985, Japanese scientists compared earth system science to a house built in the four seasons zone, stating that not only the construction of the house, but all factors influencing the construction by changing whether and, what does not is not the least important, the behavior patterns of the inhabitants must be considered as the whole system. The interaction between the spheres of the Earth, such as the atmosphere, hydrosphere, cryosphere, geosphere, pedosphere, biosphere and magnetosphere, is the subject of knowledge on how to treat the Earth as a integrated system.

Vernadsky’s contribution

Scientific research in the past has mainly focused on aspects such as the age of the Earth and the formation processes of mountains and oceans, so studies of the ancient Earth system began in the field of geology, initially in China and the Middle East. In contemporary science, the first attempt to explain the interaction model of earth processes was made by the Russian-Ukrainian scientist Vladimir Vernadsky (1863-1945) who saw the biosphere as a geological force living and developing in different forms. of life. Twenty years after Vernadsky’s death, James Lovelock postulated that the biosphere has a regulating role in the communication mechanisms within the Earth system, a concept he called the “Earth feedback hypothesis”. At the end of the 20th century, with the availability of computer technologies, systems science was developing through other sciences. This led to the development of climate models that allowed interactive simulations of the climate in different regions of the Earth.

The role of NASA

As a separate study, the ESS came into existence with the establishment of the Earth System Science Committee within NASA in 1983. NASA’s book, A Closer View (1988), gave comprehensive analyzes of the development of Earth system science, highlighting the civilizational impact that has grown rapidly in the last decades of the 20th century. The book concludes that Earth system science aims to better understand, describe and model the Earth’s climate system.

Understanding the interactions between the Earth’s spheres and events that occur in the ecosystem allows people to predict the outcomes of events. Being able to forecast is especially useful when major construction projects are in the start-up phase. The demand for climatological reports and climate change processes in the given region is essential for planning any major power station, dam, hydroelectric or nuclear power station.

The Earth’s climate system illustrates the entire planetary system of interaction between the lithosphere, hydrosphere, biosphere and atmosphere. Thus, it can be projected or taken as a model to describe similar processes in other subjects of Earth system science. In addition to the four spherical interactions mentioned above, contemporary ESS examines six major interactions that occur between the Earth’s spheres:

lithosphere – hydrosphere

lithosphere – biosphere

lithosphere – atmosphere

hydrosphere – biosphere

hydrosphere – atmosphere

biosphere – atmosphere

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