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2: The Earth System

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    Buffalo on Wetland
    Figure \(\PageIndex{1}\): Buffalo on Wetland. (Courtesy USFWS)

    The Earth system is a complex interaction between its subsystems the atmosphere, hydrosphere, biosphere, and lithosphere. The Earth system around us today is the result of millions of years of evolutionary processes tending toward a stable equilibrium. At times, assaults from within and outside have stressed the system and forced changes. Here you will explore the types of systems found on Earth and the sources of energy that drive them.

    Learning Outcomes

    By the end of the chapter you should be able to:

    • Explain the origin and shape of the Earth.
    • Explain how the Earth's orientation to and revolution around the Sun cause seasons.
    • Describe the basic features of the continents and oceans.
    • Explain how earth "spheres" interact with one another within the Earth system.
    • Explain how natural systems are regulated by feedback.
    • Demonstrate through the use of a flow chart how positive and negative feedback effect system change.
    • Compare and contrast, and provide examples of open and closed systems.
    • Draw a simple diagram of the nitrogen, carbon, oxygen, and hydrologic cycles.
    • Compare and contrast, and give examples of endogenic and exogenic sources of energy.
    • Explain how feedbacks drive global warming and climate change.

    This page titled 2: The Earth System is shared under a CC BY-SA 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Michael E. Ritter (The Physical Environment) via source content that was edited to the style and standards of the LibreTexts platform; a detailed edit history is available upon request.

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