9. Earth, Atmosphere und Environmental Physics

Section foundation: 2012; closure: February 2024

Chair: -


Earth, atmosphere and environmental physics can be described in terms of the laws of physics. Examples include a number of environmental issues such as global warming, waste depositories, ozone layer depletion, energy crisis and renewable energy sources, air, soil and water pollution, etc. This section pays tribute to the emphasis placed on monitoring and understanding processes, as well as predicting changes of our physical world. The underlying topics may be regarded as Earth- or geo-sciences oriented, being a particular combination of physical, chemical, and biological processes linking and determining every components of the Earth system on a wide variety of spatial and temporal scales.

Earth Physics encompasses a number of topics from the geophysics of the globe (plate tectonics, geomagnetism, solid state at high pressures, seismology, geodesy, cosmic rays, extra-terrestrial geophysics,…) to engineering geophysics, applied geophysics (analysis of geological resources, of geomaterials, of geological hazards, of geological barriers for waste storage, monitoring of contaminated sites), aiming at a description from first principles.

Atmospheric Physics is concerned with the structure and evolution of the planetary atmospheres and with the wide range of phenomena that occur within them, with a particular focus on the Earth’s atmosphere interacting with other components such as the lithosphere, the biosphere, the hydrosphere and the cryosphere.

Environmental Physics involves the many aspects of physics that pervade environmental processes in our everyday lives and in naturally occurring phenomena. This includes energy supply and resources issues, which growing needs and use can impact on environment. It aims at understanding the various links between topics such as, e.g.: sustainability, contribution of renewable sources, efficiency, wastes and pollution, CO2, climatic impact.