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3: Earth as a System

  • Page ID
    22415
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    Earth Systems Through Time

    Salinity data from NASA's AQUARIUS instrument, dated 27 February 2013. Salinity data provides important insights into the planet's water cycle (Source: NASA CCBY 2.0).

    Figure \(\PageIndex{1}\): Salinity data from NASA’s AQUARIUS instrument, dated 27 February 2013. Salinity data provides important insights into the planet’s water cycle. (CC-BY 2.0; NASA)
    Key Concepts

    After reading this chapter, students should be able to:

    • Identify the main “spheres” of the Earth.
    • Discuss how the Earth’s spheres interact through flows of energy and materials.
    • Identify ways that changes in one sphere can effect changes in other spheres and even lead to changes in dynamic equilibrium of the entire Earth system.
    • Distinguish between amplifying and balancing feedbacks and provide an example or two of each.
    • Discuss how remote sensing data is important in understand the complexity of the Earth system.
    • Understand the importance of time scales for Earth systems research.

    “To everything, there is a season.” – Ecclesiastes 3:1 and The Byrds


    This page titled 3: Earth as a System is shared under a CC BY-NC 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Callan Bentley, Karen Layou, Russ Kohrs, Shelley Jaye, Matt Affolter, and Brian Ricketts (VIVA, the Virginia Library Consortium) via source content that was edited to the style and standards of the LibreTexts platform; a detailed edit history is available upon request.