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Earth System Science

Understanding how our planet works

Our goal is to understand, predict, and respond to human-caused and natural environmental change at local to global scales. Scientists in our Earth System Science department offer a strong graduate research program across a broad range of environmental and Earth science disciplines for students working toward a doctoral degree. Undergraduate and coterminal master's degrees are offered through the closely-related and popular Earth Systems Program.

Research groups in Earth system science

Learn more about our faculty labs and research groups ranging from ocean biogeochemistry to soil science and geohydrology.

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Shared analytical facilities

Students and faculty start their examination of specimens in our comprehensive Earth Materials Preparation lab. Our shared labs offer everything from gas, liquid, and solid analyses to isotopic analysis for geochronology and deciphering (bio)geochemical processes.

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Stanford Geospatial Center

Housed in Branner library, the center offers workshops on Geographic Information Systems (GIS), data management, visualization tools, and spatial analysis.

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Earth system science news

Future Tucson will likely deal with more days of extreme heat

“If land loses water, it tends to warm up much more quickly. If all the water is gone, there are no mechanisms to cool down,” said Salvatore Pascale, a research scientist in Earth system science.

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Gravity wave insights from internet-beaming balloons

A better understanding of how gravity waves in the upper atmosphere interact with the jet stream, polar vortex and other phenomena could be key to improved weather predictions and climate models.

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Wildfire weather

Unusual lightning strikes sparked the massive wildfires burning across California. Stanford climate and wildfire experts discuss extreme weather’s role in current and future wildfires, as well as ways to combat the trend toward bigger, more intense conflagrations.

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More food from the sea by 2050

If sustainably managed, wild fisheries and mariculture could help meet the rising demand for food in the long term.

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