Earth as a System

Earth is a system of systems. To understand the complex causes and impacts of a changing climate, we need to begin with the Earth and its components—not just the atmosphere, but also the lithosphere (rocks and soils), biosphere (life), hydrosphere (water), and cryosphere (ice and snow). The relationships between these systems serve as drivers for the Earth's climate patterns, both globally and locally.

Start Learning Module:

A Context for Climate Change

hand writing on photo

This learning module is designed for interpreters and educators, and provides a scientific foundation for communicating Earth's climate at your site. Please allow 60–90 minutes to complete; you can leave and return at any time.

Before beginning, find a printed photograph that shows part of your site or home. This should be a landscape shot that you might consider to be representative of what makes your location special. You will be annotating and marking on this photograph during the module.

See learning module sources and references.