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Earth System, The (2nd Edition) [Paperback]

Lee R. Kump , James F. Kasting , Robert G. Crane
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)

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The Earth System (3rd Edition) The Earth System (3rd Edition) 4.1 out of 5 stars (7)
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Book Description

August 16, 2003 0131420593 978-0131420595 2
For courses in Earth Systems Science offered in departments of Geology, Earth Science, Geography and Environmental Science. The first textbook of its kind that addresses the issues of global change from a true Earth systems perspective, The Earth System offers a solid emphasis on lessons from Earth's history that may guide decision-making in the future. The text is more quantitative than the standard Earth science book, but the authors have remained sensitive to the needs of non-science majors.

Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

The Earth System, Second Edition employs a systems-based approach to examine Earth science at the global level. This text explores how:

  • Earth's processes have connections to the past and to each other
  • Seemingly small-scale changes to Earth can have large-scale effects
  • Processes that are occurring now are molding the course of the future

The second edition incorporates two new chapters:

  • Modeling the Atmosphere-Ocean System—A discussion of why numerical models are necessary, how they are used, what they can tell us about past and future climates, and what their limitations are.
  • A Focus on the Biota: Ecosystems and Biodiversity—Focuses on life's role in the Earth system, how ecosystems function, what biodiversity is, and whether or not biological diversity enhances the stability of ecosystems.

Three categories of boxed text are included and offer a deeper study of the topics presented.

  • A Closer Look—Includes more advanced concepts, results from current research, and explanations of interesting phenomena.
  • Important Concepts—In-depth presentations of fundamental concepts from the natural sciences essential to our understanding of the Earth system.
  • Thinking Quantitatively—Demonstrates how simple mathematics can be used to better understand the workings of the Earth system.

About the Author

Lee R. KumpGeology and is now editor of the Virtual Journal of Geobiology and associate editor of Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta. He is a fellow of the Geological Society of America, and received the Distinguished Service Medal from the Geological Society of America in 2000. Dr. Kump's research interests include the behavior of nutrient and trace elements in natural environments, the evolution of ocean and atmosphere composition on geologic time scales, biogeochemical cycling in aquatic environments, and environmental change during extreme events (mass extinctions, extreme warm periods, glaciations) in Earth history.

James F. Kasting is a Professor at Penn State University, where he holds joint appointments in the Departments of Geosciences and Meteorology and is an affiliate of the NASA Astrobiology Institute and Penn State's ESSC. He received his undergraduate degree from Harvard University in Chemistry and Physics and did his PhD in Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Michigan. Prior to coming to Penn State in 1988, he spent 7 year§ in the Space Science Division at NASA Ames Research Center. Dr. Kasting is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and of the International Society for the Study of the Origin of Life. His research focuses on the evolution of planetary atmospheres, particularly the question of why the atmospheres of Mars and Venus are so different from that of Earth. Dr. Kasting is also interested in the question of whether habitable planets exist around other stars and how we might look for signatures of life by doing spectroscopy on their atmospheres.

Robert G. Crane received his PhD in Geography from the University of Colorado, Boulder. After working as a Research Associate in the National Snow and Ice Data Center and the World Data Center-A for Glaciology in Boulder, he spent a year teaching at the University of Saskatchewan before moving to Penn State in 1985. Dr. Crane's research has been on microwave remote sensing of sea ice, ice-climate interactions, and, more recently, regional-scale climate change, climate downscaling techniques, and climate change and variability in southern Africa. He is coeditor of a text on the applications of artificial neural networks in geography. Currently Dr. Crane holds the position of Professor in the Department of Geography and an affiliate of the ESSC. He also serves as the Associate Dean for Education in the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences at Penn State.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Prentice Hall; 2 edition (August 16, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0131420593
  • ISBN-13: 978-0131420595
  • Product Dimensions: 10.8 x 8.2 x 0.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #616,576 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is the best textbook for earth system science December 6, 2002
Earth System Science is a new field, one that evolves much more quickly than textbooks can be revised. This one is as current as you can expect, and it approaches the field of science in a much better way than any other textbook I have seen. In particular, most earth system texts approach the field by morphing from a traditional discipline. Usually, it's a geology textbook revised to include atmospheric, oceanic, and climatic studies. But earth system science requires an interdisciplinary approach from the start, a problem based approach. Our global environmental problems need this approach, and this book covers them in a reasonably detailed and accurate manner.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good overview of how our earth works December 29, 2001
By A Customer
I used this book for an introductory environmental studies course. The book is full of information I had never before discovered. The chapters clearly describe how smaller cycles and feedback mechanisms relate the health of the earth as a whole.
If you are curious about global warming this book has great factual information to start an understanding of the concept.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not a bad textbook April 11, 2001
I used this book for my Environmental Geology class. Overall I think it's an ok text. It's not as readily understandable an reader friendly as some of the other introductory geology texts on the market that I have read--it's somewhat obsecure at times. I think that it's rather overpriced as well for a black and white paperback textbook.
It does however cover a large selection of material in a succint manner, yet with enough detail to satisfy the curiosity of the interested student. Some of the stuff in this textbook is not common to geology texts--principally the aspects that have to do with the biosphere.
Overall, it's a reasonable textbook, besides the cost, which I think is inflated. Textbook prices are inflated in general in any case!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gaia explained by scientists September 25, 2006
Kump has worked with James Lovelock of 'Gaia' fame on modelling Daisyworld. I'll let the reviewer discover what that means in this title.(But also see REVENGE OF GAIA, 2006, for Lovelock's predictions for our heating planet).

This is the best book for geoscientists and geographers in training who have an interest in climate past, present, and future. An excellent college level scientific supplement to popular works on climate change and earth systems science.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Earth Systems Science text so far September 29, 2006
I'm a prof at a small liberal arts college, and I love using this text in my upper level course on global change. It works well with non-science majors, as well as with the more advanced science students. It does a superb job with climate change science, which is one of the major focii in my course. It doesn't hesitate to use real physics, math, and chemistry, yet at the same time is accessible to the non-science folks. Lee Kump is one of the premiere geoscientists in the field, and he has lent his broad understanding to this excellent text. It might also be fun to simply read the book if you are not a student.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Introduction to Earth May 22, 2007
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I read this book outside of a class context. I am not well-versed in chemistry or geology (both are very important in earth science), but I was able to understand a majority of The Earth System. The book is lucidly written and provides a fine analysis of the dynamics of both small and large-scale planetary change.

I bought and read The Earth System with the goal of understanding the science behind global warming: little did I know what a tall order that was! Global climate is enormously complex and contains far more variables than the layman would imagine. Scientists do not and probably will not understand global warming in the same way that they understand less complex phenomena.

The climate system is Chaotic. The best we can do is understand the causal relations that exist within it, plug observed data into computers, and hope that the predictions based on computer modeling will be accurate.

Current modeling technology will predict today's climate by running simulations on what we know of conditions on Earth 150 years ago. The agreement between a variety of simulations that predict future climate based on current conditions is the basis of the scientific consensus that global warming will occur.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Decent Textbook August 5, 2010
By Kimme
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The "Earth as a System" approach is one of my favorite aspects of being Geoscience major. However, the book presents information at more of a high school level rather than a college level. Additionally, the content is somewhat dry at time, when this could really be an interesting topic. Even with all the faults of the book, the price is pretty good and the information presented is solid. I realize there is now a 3rd edition, that has probably improved many of the faults, but if you are interested in the Earth System theory and approach and would like an intro book, this is the book for you!
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