Tim Lenton

in Earth System Science

Published in print February 2016 | ISBN: 9780198718871
Published online February 2016 | e-ISBN: 9780191788338 | DOI:

Series: Very Short Introductions


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Earth system science is the research field that seeks to understand how our planet functions as a whole system. Its scope is broad; it spans 4.5 billion years of Earth history, how the system functions now, projections of its future state, and its ultimate fate. It also considers how humans as a species are reshaping the planet. Earth system science is a deeply interdisciplinary field, which synthesizes elements of geology, biology, chemistry, physics, and mathematics. ‘Home’ explains how Earth system science emerged and introduces some of its fundamental concepts, including James Lovelock’s Gaia hypothesis, climate regulation, feedback mechanisms, the ‘snowball Earth’ state, and how to combat global warming.

Keywords: chlorofluorocarbon; climate change; Gaia hypothesis; global warming; James Lovelock; snowball Earth

Chapter.  4233 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Earth Sciences and Geography

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