Atmosphere

Research that addresses what the atmosphere is made of and how it works as a system. It also looks at substances carried in air, like aerosols and dust, and air quality.

Biosphere

The study of ecosystems; effects of organisms on their environment and vice versa; biogeochemical cycles—pathways by which water, carbon, nitrogen, and other substances move through the world; and environmental indicators—species that, considered together, tell us about an environment.

Climate Indicators

Gathering evidence from many sources (ice cores, ocean currents, lake cores, glacier mass balance, tree rings, isotopic analysis, pollen, temperature logs, and many others), this research measures what is happening in a climate system and models future changes.

Cryosphere

This research concerns anything to do with habitually frozen parts of the world: ice sheets, sea ice, glaciers, frozen ground and permafrost, and snow cover.

Human Dimensions

Research that addresses the effects of humans on the environment through their actions, behavior, beliefs, and use of land and resources; and how people are affected by the environment: health, natural hazards and disasters, and resources. Archaeological research is included in this category.

Land Surface

How land is shaped and changed over time is the subject of this research. It seeks to understand why landscapes look and operate as they do, describe the processes that create landforms, and predict future changes.

Oceans

Research on any aspect of the world’s oceans, from the sea surface to the seafloor. Currents and circulation, water temperature, coastal processes, marine sediments, ocean chemistry, tides, sea ice, and water quality, among other subjects, are all part of the Oceans category.

Paleoclimate

The study of past climates, especially changes in climate throughout the history of the earth. Research in this category uses evidence from a wide range of sources (sediments, rocks, ice sheets, tree rings, coral, and so on) to determine past states of the climate globally and in specific regions.

Soils & Sediments

Research concerned with the materials consisting of eroded or weathered rock, minerals, and organic matter that collect on the surface of the earth and are often transported by wind, water, or ice.

Solid Earth

Studies of the composition, structure, and dynamics of the earth from its surface to its interior fall into the Solid Earth category: topics can include volcanoes, earthquakes, geochemistry, geodesy, paleontology, stratigraphy, structural geology, and tectonics.