This photograph of Earth was taken from space. It shows the continent of Africa.
Courtesy of NASA
The Earth System Is Changing
Scientists have noticed that the Earth system is changing because of global warming. It is also changing because people have changed the way that land is used and have made pollution in the air, water, and on the land.
According to their research, as Earth continues to warm, ice of glaciers and sea ice will continue to melt, weather patterns will change, and some plants and animals will die while others will move into new areas. Climate change is changing the Earth system.
Scientists are also looking at how the parts of the Earth system change climate. The Earth reacts in many ways because of warming. Some reactions shrink the amount of warming. Other reactions cause even more warming. These reactions are called feedbacks.
Understanding the feedbacks of the Earth system is an area of active research in climate science. Hopefully this will bring new information about how the Earth works into climate models. And those models will allow us to better predict how climate will continue to change in the future.
Last modified November 26, 2008 by Lisa Gardiner.
Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!
The Winter 2009 issue of The Earth Scientist
, focuses on Earth System science, including articles on student inquiry, differentiated instruction, geomorphic concepts, the rock cycle, and much more!
You might also be interested in:
The first time people got to see the whole Earth was in 1968 when astronauts took pictures of the Earth as they traveled to and from the Moon. In their photographs, the Earth looks like a small blue and...more
Earth’s climate is getting warmer. During the past 100 years Earth’s average temperature rose about 0.6° Celsius (1.0° F). Things that people are doing like burning fossil fuels, changing the way land...more
Did you know that even if you have never seen an iceberg or glacier, the snow and ice of the Earth’s cryosphere has a big impact on the climate where you live? Changes in the amounts of snow and ice on...more
Plants need nitrogen to grow. Plants get the nitrogen they need from the soil. In an effort to grow more crops, people have been making nitrogen fertilizers and adding them to crops. This has been very...more
The Sun Climate can change if there is a change in the amount of solar energy that gets to Earth. A change in the solar cycle can impact climate. The effect is too small to be the reason that global warming...more
You can’t see air molecules. But if you could, you would see that most of them are made of two atoms of nitrogen bonded together. Nitrogen is not just in the sky. It is found all over the planet. It is...more
While most of the air in our atmosphere is made of nitrogen gas, there are other gases in our atmosphere that contain nitrogen too. They may make up only a small percentage of the air molecules in our...more