It may be our home, but how much do we really know about our Earth and how it works? Scientists are continually making fascinating new discoveries about our planet. It’s a field of science known as Earth Sciences, which the National Science Foundation defines as “the study of the Earth’s structure, properties, processes, and four and a half billion years of biotic evolution.” The University of Colorado Boulder offers one of the state’s top programs for Earth Sciences through the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES), a partnership between the University and NOAA.
If you’re interested in learning more about Earth Sciences, check out CIRES’ magazine, Spheres. First published in 2009 and issued annually, Spheres highlights fascinating new research about our planet. “Our environmental scientists explore many aspects of Earth system science: the atmosphere, cryosphere, hydrosphere, geosphere, and biosphere,” CIRES explains. “These spheres of expertise give our magazine its name.”
CIRES recently released the magazine’s 2021 edition. This issue explores the COVID-19 pandemic’s effect on the atmosphere, including an associated drop in air pollutants. This issue also explores a wide variety of other fascinating topics such as wildfires; dying corals; marine heatwaves; connections between ozone pollution and aviation; melting glaciers and permafrost thaw; and much more. This and earlier issues of Spheres can be accessed online from the State Publications Library. In addition, the library’s collection includes numerous other CIRES resources. Many of these have a local focus, such as Climate Change in Colorado and the new 2020 publication Colorado River Basin Climate and Hydrology. You can also learn more about CIRES in their annual report. Search the library’s online catalog for more titles, including those from other university departments and state agencies that focus on Earth Sciences.