Stanford University
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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

Longer, more extreme wildfire seasons

A new study finds that autumn days with extreme fire weather have more than doubled in California since the early 1980s due to climate change.

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COVID-19 in a world made ripe for pandemics

Emerging infectious diseases have become more likely – and more likely to be consequential – partly as a result of how people move around the planet and relate to the natural world.

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Coronavirus shutdowns are lowering greenhouse gas emissions; history shows they’ll roar back

Greenhouse emissions are lower than before, but experts say it won't last. "We need sustained declines. Not an anomalous year below average,” says Rob Jackson.

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The side effects of social distancing

Stanford Earth professor Marshall Burke explains what we can learn from the pollution drop during China's COVID-19 lockdown. 

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