About ESSP Partnership
Increasingly, scientists recognize the Earth as a complex and sensitive system regulated by physical, chemical and biological processes—and influenced, as never before, by human factors. The ESSP Education Science System Project brings together researchers from diverse fields, and from across the globe, to undertake an integrated study of the Earth System: its structure and functioning; the changes occurring to the System; and, the implications of those changes for global sustainability.
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Regional Activities and Capacity Building
Integrated Regional Studies
Global change is not restricted to climate change and greenhouse gas emissions, nor can it be understood in terms of a simple cause-effect paradigm. Recent studies of the Earth’s land surface, oceans, coasts and atmosphere, of the biological diversity, the water cycle and biogeochemical cycles make it clear that human activity is generating change that extends well beyond natural variability—in some cases, alarmingly so—and at rates that continue to accelerate. Earth System dynamics are characterized by critical thresholds and abrupt changes. Global change research over the last decade shows that the Earth System is currently operating well outside the normal state exhibited over the past 500,000 years.