History & Mission


To contribute through research and teaching to a fundamental scientific understanding of the Earth as a coupled system, to train the next generation of Earth scientists, and to inform and educate policy makers and the public-at-large. We envision a society that understands the impact of human activities on the global environment and the interactions within the Earth system that preserve the habitability of the planet.



Understanding global environmental issues such as global warming, stratospheric ozone depletion, and worldwide air pollution requires the cooperation of scientists across many disciplines. Global change is projected to accelerate through the 21st century and will impact the ecosystems that preserve the habitability of the planet. The Department of Earth System Science (ESS) at the University of California, Irvine focuses on how the atmosphere, land, and oceans interact as a system, and how the Earth will change over a human lifetime.

Founded in 1995, the Department of Earth System Science provides quality education, along with research and teaching opportunities for students interested in the science of the Earth as a system. ESS faculty, researchers, and students conduct research in the areas of atmospheric chemistry, biogeochemical cycles, and climate change. Home to members of the National Academies of Sciences, the department provides opportunities for students to learn from and work with recognized experts in the field. Over the last decade,the Department of Earth System Science has earned a reputation as one of the most influential academic department in the nation devoted to studying the Earth as a system.

The Department of Earth System Science acknowledges our presence on the ancestral and unceded territory of the Acjachemen and Tongva peoples, who still hold strong cultural, spiritual and physical ties to this region.