The atmosphere is a gaseous envelope surrounding and protecting our planet from the intense radiation of the Sun and serves as a key interface between the terrestrial and ocean cycles.
The biosphere encompasses all life on Earth and extends from root systems to mountaintops and all depths of the ocean. It is critical for maintaining species diversity, regulating climate, and providing numerous ecosystem functions.
The cryosphere encompasses the frozen parts of Earth, including glaciers and ice sheets, sea ice, and any other frozen body of water. The cryosphere plays a critical role in regulating climate and sea levels.
The human dimensions discipline includes ways humans interact with the environment and how these interactions impact Earth’s systems. It also explores the vulnerability of human communities to natural disasters and hazards.
The land surface discipline includes research into areas such as shrinking forests, warming land, and eroding soils. NASA data provide key information on land surface parameters and the ecological state of our planet.
The ocean covers more than 70% of Earth’s surface and contains 97% of the planet’s water. This vast, critical reservoir supports a diversity of life and helps regulate Earth’s climate.
Processes occurring deep within Earth constantly are shaping landforms. Although originating from below the surface, these processes can be analyzed from ground, air, or space-based measurements.
The Sun influences a variety of physical and chemical processes in Earth’s atmosphere. NASA continually monitors solar radiation and its effect on the planet.
The terrestrial hydrosphere includes water on the land surface and underground in the form of lakes, rivers, and groundwater along with total water storage.