What is Earth and Atmospheric Science

What is earth and atmospheric science?

A volcano erupts in Hawai’i, and earthquakes hit the United States and islands in the Caribbean. Global warming results in changes to coastlines everywhere. Scientists in our discipline assess the impact of these situations in order to measure damage, build predictive models, and better understand connections among oceans, land mass, and atmosphere. We evaluate the human response to weather-related events and describe environmental practices that address such issues as groundwater remediation, climate change, renewable energy, and environmental microbiology.

We look at how the earth works. Our discipline involves the interdisciplinary research and scientific study of the earth and planets. Within our subject area, specializations include biogeochemistry, geobiology, sedimentology and stratigraphy, geophysics, structural geology and tectonics, hydrogeology, economic geology and mineral and clay geology. Our work encompasses field-based, analytical, and theoretical research.

Earth and atmospheric scientists are curious about the earth. Stewards of the earth’s resources and natural processes, they study its soils, oceans, atmosphere, and lands.

Geologists develop land-use plans, explore other planets and the solar system, determine environmental impacts, and find new sources of useful earth materials.

Geoscientists study the past, present, and future of the earth. Through the integration of basic chemical, physical, and biological principles, they seek to understand how the earth was formed, how it has evolved in the past, and how it may change in both the near and distant future.

Science-based stewardship

We seek to discover, use, and manage earth’s resources in clean and sustainable ways. In the twenty-first century, the role of geology in society is, in a large measure, that of stewardship of the earth. We bear the responsibility of knowing that it will be atmospheric and geoscientists who will ensure that energy resources are used prudently and that our water resources are managed in renewable ways and not squandered as limitless.

The challenges of the earth and atmospheric sciences will continue to grow as we confront the serious problems that face humankind—global warming, environmental pollution, dwindling energy resources (and mining accidents), and natural disasters from earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, coastal subsidence, and tsunamis.