Without the greenhouse effect, Earth’s temperature would be below freezing. It is, in part, a natural process. However, Earth’s greenhouse effect is getting stronger as we add greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. That is warming the climate of our planet.
How has our knowledge about Earth's climate grown over time? Use our interactive timeline to explore important and interesting scientific milestones, including when carbon dioxide was first discovered and when we learned about the heat-trapping ability of gases.
The biosphere includes all life on our planet. Interdisciplinary research combining biochemistry, geochemistry, biology, hydrology, and atmospheric science helps us to better understand the biosphere’s role in the Earth system and, in particular, how biogeochemical cycles affect the Earth system.
How has the geosphere impacted Earth’s climate? Typically, the geosphere reacts on geologic timescales, affecting climate slowly and over millions of years. However, the burning of fossil fuels over the last 150 years has sped the impact of the geosphere on climate.
Climate change research involves numerous disciplines of Earth system science as well as technology, engineering, and programming. Some major areas of climate change research include water, energy, ecosystems, air quality, solar physics, glaciology, human health, wildfires, and land use.
Accounting for all the energy that enters and leaves the Earth system helps us understand how the planet maintains a habitable temperature. This accounting of energy is known as Earth’s radiation budget.