Office of Academic Affairs
Indian Institute of Science Education and Research Berhampur

Earth and Environmental Sciences

EES 201: Earth System Components (2)

Learning Objectives:

This course is designed for undergraduate students to provide a scientific understanding of the physical earth system – geosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere, biosphere - by describing how its component parts and their interactions have evolved, how they function, and how they may be expected to continue to evolve on all time scales. Using an interdisciplinary approach, earth system science attempts to achieve the level of understanding necessary to comprehend and solve many of our global environmental problems.

Course Contents:

Introduction to Earth System:
System and its components; Bretherton Diagram - Geosphere, Hydrosphere and Cryosphere, Atmosphere, Biosphere and Anthroposphere.

The Geosphere:
Introduction – Physiography of the Earth; Earth’s interior – Seismic waves, mechanical and compositional layering; Weathering and soil formation; Erosion dynamics.

The Hydrosphere and Cryosphere:
Components of the hydrosphere - ocean water, water vapor and precipitation, surface water – rivers, lakes, wetlands; Groundwater; Water budget.
Global ocean composition and properties – ocean circulation, gyres, Gulf stream, Ekmann transport, upwelling, down-welling, thermohaline circulation; Temperature and salinity-surface layer, intermediate and deep layers; Indian Ocean - Arabian Sea, Bay of Bengal, and their characteristics.
Components of the cryosphere – Continental ice sheets; Sea-ice, permafrost, ice shelves, icebergs; Mountain glacier – third pole region, snow cover.

The Atmosphere:
Earth energy budget- Solar radiation, Terrestrial radiation; Role of radiation in the overall energy balance.
Composition and vertical temperature profile - troposphere, stratosphere, mesosphere, thermosphere; Lapse rate, pressure gradient force, hydrostatic equilibrium, Coriolis force, frictional force, winds - meridional and zonal; General circulation of atmosphere-Hadley cell, Ferrel cell, Polar cell; Global precipitation regimes; Indian monsoons; Cyclones.

The Biosphere and Anthroposphere:
Introduction to biosphere; Biodiversity; Terrestrial and marine biosphere; Concept of Anthropocene; The sixth extinction.

Interactions of the Earth System Components:
The hydrological cycle; Global biogeochemical cycles - carbon, sulfur, nitrogen, and their coupling.

Suggested Readings :


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