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.
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The Spring 2010 issue of The Earth Scientist
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