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Portal:Earth sciences

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The Earth Sciences Portal

Introduction

Earth seen from Moon
Earth seen from Moon
The Earth seen from Apollo 17 with transparent background.png

Earth science or geoscience includes all fields of natural science related to the planet Earth. It is the branch of science dealing with the physical constitution of the Earth and its atmosphere. Earth science is the study of our planet’s physical characteristics, from earthquakes to raindrops, and floods to fossils. Earth science can be considered to be a branch of planetary science, but with a much older history. Earth science encompasses four main branches of study, the lithosphere, the hydrosphere, the atmosphere, and the biosphere, each of which is further broken down into more specialized fields.

There are both reductionist and holistic approaches to earth sciences, it is also the study of Earth and its neighbors in space. Some earth scientists use their knowledge of the planet to locate and develop energy and mineral resources. Others study the impact of human activity on Earth's environment, and design methods to protect the planet, some use their knowledge about earth processes such as volcanoes, earthquakes, and hurricanes to plan communities that will not expose people to these dangerous events.

The earth sciences can include the study of geology, the lithosphere, and the large-scale structure of the earth's interior, as well as the atmosphere, hydrosphere, and biosphere. Typically, earth scientists use tools from geography, chronology, physics, chemistry, biology, and mathematics to build a quantitative understanding of how the earth works and evolves. Earth science affects our everyday lives, for example, meteorologists study the weather and watch for dangerous storms. Hydrologists study water and warn of floods. Seismologists study earthquakes and try to predict where they will strike. Geologists study rocks and help to locate useful minerals. Earth scientists often work in the field—perhaps climbing mountains, exploring the seabed, crawling through caves, or wading in swamps, they measure and collect samples (such as rocks or river water), then they record their findings on charts and maps. Read more...

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Global warming is a long-term rise in the average temperature of the Earth's climate system, an aspect of climate change shown by temperature measurements and by multiple effects of the warming. The term commonly refers to the mainly human-caused observed warming since pre-industrial times and its projected continuation, though there were also much earlier periods of global warming; in the modern context the terms global warming and climate change are commonly used interchangeably, but global warming more specifically relates to worldwide surface temperature increases; while climate change is any regional or global statistically identifiable persistent change in the state of climate which lasts for decades or longer, including warming or cooling. Many of the observed warming changes since the 1950s are unprecedented in the instrumental temperature record, and in historical and paleoclimate proxy records of climate change over thousands to millions of years.

In 2013, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report concluded, "It is extremely likely that human influence has been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century." The largest human influence has been the emission of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide. In view of the dominant role of human activity in causing it, the phenomenon is sometimes called "anthropogenic global warming" or "anthropogenic climate change." Climate model projections summarized in the report indicated that during the 21st century, the global surface temperature is likely to rise a further 0.3 to 1.7 °C (0.5 to 3.1 °F) to 2.6 to 4.8 °C (4.7 to 8.6 °F) depending on the rate of greenhouse gas emissions. These findings have been recognized by the national science academies of the major industrialized nations and are not disputed by any scientific body of national or international standing. Read more...

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The eyewall of Hurricane Katrina
Credit: NOAA

Hurricane Katrina was the third most powerful storm of the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season. It first made landfall as a Category 1 hurricane just north of Miami, Florida on August 25, 2005, then again on August 29 along the Central Gulf Coast near Buras-Triumph, Louisiana as a Category 4 storm. This photograph of the eye of the hurricane was taken from a NOAA Hurricane Hunter aircraft on August 28, 2005.

In the news

24 December 2018 – 2018 Sunda Strait tsunami
The death toll following the tsunami caused by the Anak Krakatau volcano has risen to at least 429, according to Indonesia's disaster mitigation agency. Also, 1,459 people are injured, while 150 are still missing. (BBC)


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Climate change (More...)

Global warming · Rachel Carson · Retreat of glaciers since 1850

Earthquakes (More...)

1949 Ambato earthquake · 1968 Illinois earthquake · 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens · 1997 Qayen earthquake · 2002 Bou'in-Zahra earthquake · 2005 Qeshm earthquake · 2007–2008 Nazko earthquakes

Volcanoes (More...)

1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens · 2007–2008 Nazko earthquakes · Amchitka · Armero tragedy · Calabozos · Cerro Azul (Chile volcano) · Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve · David A. Johnston · Geology of the Lassen volcanic area · Loihi Seamount · Mauna Kea · Mauna Loa · Metacomet Ridge · Mono–Inyo Craters · Mount Cayley volcanic field · Mount St. Helens · Mount Tambora · Nevado del Ruiz · Surtsey · The Volcano (British Columbia) · Upper and Lower Table Rock · Volcano (South Park) · Yellowstone National Park

Other geology (More...)

Mary Anning · Archaea · Archaeopteryx · Cerro Azul (Chile volcano) · Bryce Canyon National Park · Calabozos · Chicxulub crater · Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event · Charles Darwin · Earth · Ediacara biota · Geology of the Bryce Canyon area · Geology of the Capitol Reef area · Geology of the Death Valley area · Geology of the Grand Canyon area · Geology of the Lassen volcanic area · Geology of the Zion and Kolob canyons area · Global warming · Iridium · Oil shale · The Volcano (British Columbia) · Toronto Magnetic and Meteorological Observatory · Volcanology of Io · Yellowstone National Park

Geography (More...)

Antarctica · Australia · Bryce Canyon National Park · Carlsbad Caverns National Park · Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve · Death Valley National Park · Geography of India · Geography of Ireland · National parks of England and Wales · Niagara Falls · Rondane National Park · Shoshone National Forest · Yellowstone National Park · Yosemite National Park · Zion National Park

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For a more comprehensive treatment of topics, see Outline of earth science and Index of earth science articles

Atmosphere Hydrosphere Lithosphere
Biosphere Systems Others
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