Bader International Study Centre


at Herstmonceux Castle, U.K.



at Herstmonceux Castle, U.K.

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GPHY 102/3.0 Earth System Science

Instructor: Dr. Charu Sharma

Introduction to Themes and Scope of the Course

This course introduces the major concepts studied in Earth System Science, addressing the Earth’s origins and evolution as an active planet within the solar system. The fundamental processes and interrelationships between the atmosphere, oceans, biosphere and lithosphere are investigated to serve as a basis for understanding natural systems, particularly near or at the Earth’s surface, and the ways in which human activities impact those systems. There is mounting concern about global warming, biodiversity, energy and sustainable development.  The course looks at examples of human impact on natural systems such as coasts, rivers, ecosystems and global climate and the attempts at their management. It also examines plate tectonics, earthquakes, volcanoes and tsunamis, which as yet are beyond human control. Earth - the ‘Blue planet’- is the only planet in the solar system to support life, so it is essential that we preserve it for future generations.

Expected Learning Outcomes

At the end of the course, students will be able to:

  • Understand the processes that underlie the functioning and the interaction of the natural systems of the Earth such as the geosphere, biosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere, cryosphere
  • Understand how these natural systems impact the human sphere, also known as the anthroposphere, and vice versa