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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Events related to Earth system science

Earth system science news

Using satellites and AI to help fight poverty in Africa

A new tool combines publicly accessible satellite imagery with AI to track poverty across African villages over time.

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Tracking the tinderbox: Mapping dry wildfire fuels with AI and new satellite data

Researchers have developed a deep-learning model that maps fuel moisture levels in fine detail across 12 western states, opening a door for better fire predictions.

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Environment and energy after COVID-19

Global carbon dioxide emissions are down dramatically in the wake of COVID-19. A new study pinpoints where energy demand has dropped the most, estimates the impact on annual emissions and points the way to a less polluted future.

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Air pollution may make COVID-19 symptoms worse

Earth system scientist Marshall Burke calculated that tens of thousands of lives were saved in China due to cleaner air.

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