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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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Earth system science news

Karen Casciotti named 2020 John Hayes Award recipient

The award from the Geochemical Society is given to a mid-career scientist for outstanding accomplishments that draw together multiple fields of investigation to advance biogeochemical science.

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Faculty input sought for new climate and sustainability school

Following deliberations by a Blueprint Advisory Committee in the fall, leaders are seeking faculty input on proposals for the new school’s structure, composition and areas of focus.

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US flood damage rose 30 percent in 30 years, a sign of warming

“This shows that there is real economic value in avoiding higher levels of global warming,” said Stanford climate scientist Noah Diffenbaugh. “That’s not a political statement. That’s a factual statement about costs."

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The shifting burden of wildfires in the United States

Wildfire smoke will be one of the most widely felt health impacts of climate change throughout the country, but U.S. clean air regulations are not equipped to deal with it. Stanford experts discuss the causes and impacts of wildfire activity and its rapid acceleration in the American west.

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