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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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Earth system science news

Stanford's O'Donohue farm connects community with small-scale agriculture

"Slowing down and working with your hands and being connected to the earth in that way is very important," says farm volunteer Mark Ferguson. "It's easy to forget that nature is all around us."

Navigate to Stanford's O'Donohue farm connects community with small-scale agriculture

What to expect from wildfire season this year and in the future

The new normal for Western wildfires is abnormal, with increasingly bigger and more destructive blazes. Understanding the risks can help communities avert disaster.

Navigate to What to expect from wildfire season this year and in the future

Confronting climate change, Louisiana shifts toward retreat

"There's an ad hoc retreat happening in the world around us," says Stanford Earth's Katharine Mach – and it's a matter of time before the pressures toward retreat will mount from all directions. 

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Are we seeing more hail in a warmer, wetter world? Experts say not yet.

A reliable baseline for hail observations simply doesn’t exist yet. Stanford climate scientist Noah Diffenbaugh says, “we need well-developed, long-term observational records” to detect trends in hail. Navigate to Are we seeing more hail in a warmer, wetter world? Experts say not yet.
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