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From "Earth Sciences" to "Earth System Science": A Paradigm Shift to System Theory and Holistic Approach



Parallel abstracts

Intensified El Niño, ozone destruction and climate changes not only pose major threats to the Earth, but also challenge the conventional studies of Earth Sciences. To study and understand these complicated phenomena, scientists would have to take interdisciplinary approaches, as well as human's influence, into account. Beginning with the review of the history of three crises we ever had, this paper advances in discussing what system theory is and how it provided Earth science with a new conceptual framework. The conceptual framework of Earth System Science holds a new holistic approach toward re-evaluation of the very nature of the complexity and non-linearity of the Earth System, and study of various biophysical and biogeochemical interactions in the system. Finally, the application of Earth System Science to scientific research is illustrated by cases of recent progress in climate modeling and simulation.