J. Phys. IV France 139 (2006) 1-8
Earth system science: Putting together the "big picture" puzzleK.J. Noone
International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme, Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, 10405 Stockholm, Sweden
(Published online: 9 January 2007)
The Earth behaves as a highly coupled, interdependent system of components and processes - all of which operate on a multitude of time and spatial scales. Humans - rather than simply affecting or being affected by the natural environment - are a central component in the Earth system. Within the Earth system, there are feedbacks and teleconnections that operate on a planetary scale, and in which humans are directly involved. This article presents examples of such feedback systems and of human interactions in the Earth system, and describes some of the research infrastructure necessary to pursue Earth System Science.
© EDP Sciences 2006