Intelligence Changes With Time Unlike science of a century ago, Earth system science focuses on the interactions between several disciplines that determine the state and evolution of our planet. The impact of Earth systems on human behavior - as well as the impact of human behavior on the planet - is an additional focus of Earth system science. Humans cannot and should not wait until the last third of their lives to learn about these complex interactions that form both natural and human-induced changes. Students should be exposed and educated about this fantastic, interdisciplinary science so that they have understanding of otherwise unknown places in this world of modern science.
Blending Knowledge into Wisdom Earth system science involves an intelligent merging of the disciplinary sciences focused on the atmosphere, hydrosphere, biosphere, and geosphere. The merging, or integration, of these disciplinary sciences provides the strategy for more fully understanding how the Earth system works. For example, atmospheric behavior is subject to profound geospheric influences occurring at the Earth's surface. Were students and scientists to ignore this interdisciplinary connection, they would not understand the significant influence on radiational energetics and cloud formation caused by particles and gases injected into the atmosphere by volcanic eruptions. Were students or scientists to hold the biosphere fixed while the atmosphere is studied, that would eliminate an understanding of how plant and animal life affects the gaseous structure of the atmosphere. Were they to hold the atmosphere fixed while studying the biosphere, little meaningful information would emerge about how ecosystems develop and sustain themselves.
Merging the Animate and Inanimate ... A full study and appreciation of the contemporary global warming issue requires a full appreciation of the very long-term natural variations in planetary carbon cycles that emerge from geospherical studies. The flow of rivers depends fundamentally on the rain distribution in time and space. The circulations of oceans depend partly on the driving force of atmospheric winds. Those ocean circulations help move living biological matter about, collect and deposit fish skeletons on the ocean floor, and over geological time scales, alter the course of tectonic plates. Rocks in hills and mountains are split apart by rainwater that fills the cracks and freezes due to atmospheric temperature drops. The door to learning that opens when disciplines are merged is simply awesome.
... Including Humans The Earth-atmosphere system contains living plants and animals, a few of which are intelligent enough to create unnatural objects such as furnaces, factories, automobiles, and chemical compounds and substances. The scope of Earth System Science Education includes human behavior and decision-making as part of its interdisciplinary view of the Earth system.