Earth science is a well-established area of knowledge that studies the Earth from various scientific perspectives. Earth scientists often employ investigative approaches that more properly belong to the disciplines of biology, chemistry, physical geography, physics, and mathematics. Earth science can also study the nature phenomena of our planet from either reductionist or holistic vantage points. Some sub-disciplines of earth science include: environmental science, geology, geophysics, glaciology, hydrology, meteorology, climatology, oceanography, physical geography, and soil science.
This article, written by Charles W. Schmidt, a freelance writer specializing in science, medicine and technology, appeared first in Environmental Health Perspectives—the...
Earth's atmospheric airLast Updated on 2014-02-08 16:22:29The Earth's atmospheric air is a colorless, odorless and tasteless mixture of gases consisting mostly of nitrogen (N2) and oxygen (O2). It is the part of Earth's atmosphere that humans and all other animals breathe in order to obtain the oxygen needed to sustain life.
The Earth's atmosphere not only contains the air we breathe, it also holds clouds of moisture (water vapor) that become the water we drink. Furthermore, it protects us from meteors and harmful solar radiation and warms the Earth's surface by heat retention. In effect, the atmosphere is an envelope that protects all life on Earth.
The air may contain pollutants that originate from a variety of sources such as our industries and our vehicles, and can directly or indirectly affect our health and the natural environment. These effects may be experienced near the sources of air pollution and some air... More »
Improving access to and use of earth science dataLast Updated on 2013-10-22 23:34:26USGS Helps Debut New Technology to
Improve Access and Use of Earth Science Data
Researchers investigating global issues now have an easy method for finding and using earth science data through a new technology developed by the Data Observation Network for Earth, or DataONE.
Understanding broad and complex environmental issues, for example climate change, increasingly relies on the discovery and analysis of massive datasets. But the amount of collected data—from historical field notes to real-time satellite data—means that researchers are now faced with an onslaught of options to locate and integrate information relevant to the issue at hand.
DataONE, a ten-institution team with several hundred Investigators, including researchers from the United States Geological Survey (USGS), is addressing this data dilemma with a number of cyberinfrastructure and... More »
AERMOD Last Updated on 2013-10-05 15:00:30AERMOD is the latest generation air dispersion model designed for short-range (up to 50 kilometers) dispersion of air pollutant emissions from stationary industrial sources. It is a steady-state plume model incorporating dispersion based on planetary boundary layer (PBL) turbulence structure and scaling, and it accomodates surface and elevated emission sources as well as simple or complex terrain.
As of December 9, 2005, the U.S. EPA designated AERMOD as the preferred model to be used for compliance with any federal and state air pollution dispersion modeling requirements. As of November 9, 2006, AERMOD completely replaces the previous preferred model known as the Industrial Source Complex (ISC) model.
The AERMOD system integrates three modules:
A steady-state Gaussian dispersion model designed for short-range dispersion of continuous emissions from stationary... More »
General GlossaryLast Updated on 2013-10-02 09:39:36This general glossary compiles definitions of specialized terms used throughout the Encyclopedia of Earth. Each term listed below has had a blue link created to allow authors to link to the given term in any article without having the reader leave the page. The terms below are words or phrases for which an entire article on the Encylopedia of Earth is not necessarily envisioned:
Allohexaploidcells holding six copies of each chromosome: Cells holding six copies of each chromosome
AnuranAn amphibian that has limbs but no tail (includes all frogs and toads): An amphibian that has limbs but no tail (includes all frogs and toads)
ArheicRegion which generates no significant surface water runoff: Region that generates no significant surface water runoff
Atomic numberThe number of protons in the nucleus of a given atom: The number of protons in the nucleus of a given... More »
Aerial Exploration of the AntarcticLast Updated on 2013-09-30 23:07:04
Exploration of the Antarctic - Part 10
In the late 1920s, exploration of the Antarctic was revolutionized by the advent of aircraft.
At the turn of the century, the Discovery and Gauss expeditions included balloons. Robert Falcon Scott became the first "aeronaut" when he spent an hour, 800 feet over the edge of the Ross Ice Shelf on February 4, 1902. As soon as he descended Earnest Shackleton went up and took the first aireal photographs. Six weeks later, Eric von Drygalski and Emile Philippi repeated the experience at higher altitude on a different part of the Antarctic coast. This was a year before the Wright Brothers had their first sucessful flight with an aircraft.
Douglas Mawson included an aircraft in the Australasian Antarctic Expedition (1911-14) but it was damaged during trials in Australia and went to... More »
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