The earth is in continuous change. Scientists from many disciplines are required in order to understand the large range of variations occurring in the planet. The different disciplines that are involved in the study of the earth are called the geosciences. These include geology, oceanography, meteorology, and many others. Just as science can be divided into three general areas of biology, chemistry, and physics, the geosciences can be divided in three major groups: atmospheric sciences, earth sciences, and ocean sciences.
The separation of the geosciences into independent areas was done for convenience in studying a large and complex planet. In the past, scientists in each branch studied their field without considering the earth as an interacting system. Today, scientists recognize that the atmosphere, the land, and the ocean, are coupled. Energy and matter are continually being exchanged between each of these components, via weather, ocean currents, and geological processes.
But the geosciences are also concerned with the environmental conditions on the earth that affect living organisms. Understanding of how different factors, such as solar radiation and human activity, interact with the earth environment is vital for the preservation of the planet.
The earth sciences are oriented toward understanding of the structure, composition, and evolution of the solid earth. Interests include understanding earth's changing landscapes, formation of rocks and minerals, and the distribution of its mineral, water, and energy resources. The earth sciences also provide methods for predicting and mitigating the effects of geologic hazards such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and landslides.
The earth sciences include: geology, petrology, paleontology, hydrology, and environmental science.
The atmosphere is a relatively thin layer of gases that surrounds the solid earth. It provides protection from harmful solar radiation, and allows for the circulation of oxygen, nitrogen, and other molecules required in life processes. The atmospheric sciences conduct research to add new understanding of the behavior of earth's atmosphere and its interactions with the sun. Interests include: weather patterns and climate, atmospheric chemistry, global change, and the ozone layer.
The atmospheric sciences include: meteorology, climatology, and aeronomy
Vast oceans cover 70 % of the earth's surface. The ocean sciences study the physical, chemical, and biological properties of the ocean waters. Research topics include ocean currents, tides, the ocean floor, coral reefs, and marine organisms. Many oceanographers work on research ships equipped with special instruments for studying the sea.
The ocean sciences include: physical oceanography, chemical oceanography, and biological oceanography.
Forget Google---this guide provides a launching point for classwork: helping you identify and cite scholarly and professional data in geoscience-related fields. The guide includes three sections for broad disciplines:
Geography describes the human environment and its place within nature
Geology encompasses physical landforms and structures of the earth
Meteorology addresses patterns and dynamics in the planet's atmosphere
The guide also provides useful help for homework assignments
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