Research Themes

Understanding global environmental issues such as global climate change, air pollution, and sea level rise 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.

The Cryosphere and Sea Level Rise

We employ an interdisciplinary approach to understand the interactions between ice and climate

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Climate Solutions

Human activities are changing the Earth’s climate, thereby threatening human health and safety; the security of our food, energy, and water systems; and long-term societal goals of prosperity, justice, and peace

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Reducing Disaster Risks

The frequency and intensity of hazards such as flooding, drought, heatwaves, wildfires, and storms are projected to increase in a warming climate, even as the number of people and value of infrastructure and assets exposed to these events also rise

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Climate System Dynamics

We study of Earth's climate system involving interactions between the atmosphere, land, ocean and cryosphere

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Marine ecosystems and biogeochemistry

Research of the fundamental biological, chemical, and physical processes that shape Earth’s vast marine ecosystems and it’s global biogeochemical cycles

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Land ecosystems and land use change

Research that promotes the conservation of natural and anthropogenic ecosystems and more sustainable land use and management

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Atmospheric Composition: Chemistry, Climate, and Air Pollution

Research that supports adaptation and policy planning regarding climate change and air quality

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W. M. Keck Carbon Cycle Accelerator Mass Spectrometer (KCCAMS) Facility

UCI's radiocarbon (14C) measurement facility dedicated to supporting carbon cycle research

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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.