Sarah Cornell explains earth system science and a new book which reviews research from the last decade and explains new insights about Earth system processes.

Global dynamics

New book on understanding the Earth system

Explains the what, the how and the why of climate science

Although people are global players in the Earth system, we don't understand well enough how  it will respond to our growing influence. 

A new book aims to render the complicated picture of the interactions between Earth's climate and its ecosystems a little bit more comprehensible.

Presenting options
Sarah Cornell, coordinator for the centre's work on planetary boundaries, has together with colleagues from Macquarie University, Bristol University and the European Space Agency, edited a book that  reviews research from the last decade and explains new insights about Earth system processes.

The book describes advances in global modelling, large-scale field experiments and Earth observation, showing how these have been used together to develop consistent and coherent understanding of past, present and 'possible' climates.

Emphasis is given to the important role of the biosphere in feedback mechanisms that can either amplify or help balance the effects of climate change.

"A key focus of our book is to show how this improved dynamic understanding informs society's options for managing the biosphere and responding to increasing climate risks," says Sarah Cornell.

Result of extensive research
The book, published by Cambridge University Press, draws on the extensive work by Quantifying and Understanding the Earth System (QUEST), a major UK-led research programme. QUEST integrated a broad range of expertise from institutions in and outside the UK, so the book has been co-authored by an international transdisciplinary team of scientists. The programme ended in Autumn 2011.



SE Cornell, IC Prentice, JI House and CJ Downy, eds. (2012) Understanding the Earth System: Global Change Science for Application. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge UK. 294pp. 

Read more about the book and access its online resources here


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