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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 strong graduate research programs across a broad range of environmental and Earth science disciplines for students working toward master's and doctoral degrees. 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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Events related to Earth system science

Earth system science news

Arctic permafrost is thawing fast. That affects us all.

“We know there are thresholds we don’t want to cross,” says Chris Field. “But we don’t know precisely where they are.”

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Changing agriculture from a GHG emitter to absorber

Soil, writes Rob Jackson, “is a no-risk climate solution with big co-benefits. Fostering soil health protects food security and builds resilience to droughts, floods, and urbanization.”

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UN climate report: Change land use to avoid a hungry future

"We ought to recognize that we have profound limits on the amount of land available and we have to be careful about how we utilize it,” Chris Field says about a new United Nations scientific report.

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When rich economies cut emissions, poor ones stand to benefit, study says

Research by Noah Diffenbaugh and Marshall Burke is cited in the context of how warming trends have exacerbated global wealth inequality.

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