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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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Events related to Earth system science

Earth system science news

Trees on the move: How wildfire accelerates forest changes

As climate conditions change, tree species are shifting their ranges. Wildfire is accelerating this process, likely by reducing competition from established species – a finding that raises questions about how to manage land in an era of shifting ecosystems.

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Global emissions rebound to pre-pandemic levels

In an op-ed, Rob Jackson, Sam Abernethy and coauthors write that after months of social distancing and stay-at-home orders, economies are reopening, and carbon dioxide levels are rising.

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COP26: Promise and limits of vows to rein in methane and protect forests

Stanford experts discuss strengths and weaknesses of major pledges at the UN climate summit that target methane emissions and deforestation.

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5 questions about the cost of climate change

Much of the debate around climate change and climate policy centers on the price tag of doing something. But the costs of inaction, in terms of overall livelihoods and economic well being, are far greater, explains Stanford environmental economist Marshall Burke. (Source: Stanford Center for Innovation in Global Health)

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