Cover of Earth System Science: A Very Short Introduction

Oxford University Press

Earth System Science: A Very Short Introduction introduces Earth System Science as an important and growing interdisciplinary area of research

Book cover Fire Phenomena and the Earth System

Fire Phenomena and the Earth System brings together the various subdisciplines within fire science to provide a synthesis of our understanding of the role of wildfire in the Earth system.

revolutions book

Oxford University Press

Revolutions that made the Earth introduces the concept of a very few critical revolutions in Earth history.


All publications are listed under each individual's respective profile page (see People). A selection of books published by the group are showcased below.



Earth System Science: A Very Short Introduction
Tim Lenton

When humanity first glimpsed planet Earth from space, the unity of the system that supports humankind entered the popular consciousness. The concept of the Earth's atmosphere, biosphere, oceans, soil, and rocks operating as a closely interacting system has rapidly gained ground in science. This new field, involving geographers, geologists, biologists, oceanographers, and atmospheric physicists, is known as Earth System Science. 

In this Very Short Introduction, Tim Lenton considers how a world in which humans could evolve was created; how, as a species, we are now reshaping that world; and what a sustainable future for humanity within the Earth System might look like. Drawing on elements of geology, biology, chemistry, physics, and mathematics, Lenton asks whether Earth System Science can help guide us onto a sustainable course before we alter the Earth system to the point where we destroy ourselves and our current civilisation (Oxford University Press).




Fire Phenomena and the Earth System
Claire Belcher

 Fire plays a key role in Earth system processes. Wildfires influence the carbon cycle and the nutrient balance of our planet, and may even play a role in regulating the oxygen content of our atmosphere. The evolutionary history of plants has been intimately tied to fire and this in part explains the distribution of our ecosystems and their ability to withstand the effects of natural fires today.

Fire Phenomena and the Earth System brings together the various subdisciplines within fire science to provide a synthesis of our understanding of the role of wildfire in the Earth system. The book shows how knowledge of fire phenomena and the nature of combustion of natural fuels can be used to understand modern wildfires, interpret fire events in the geological record and to understand the role of fire in a variety of Earth system processes. By bringing together chapters written by leading international researchers from a range of geological, environmental, chemical and engineering disciplines, the book will stimulate the exchange of ideas and knowledge across these subject areas.Fire Phenomena and the Earth System provides a truly interdisciplinary guide that can inform us about Earth’s past, present and beyond. (Wiley Blackwell)




Revolutions that made the Earth 
Tim Lenton and Andrew Watson

The Earth that sustains us today was born out of a few remarkable, near-catastrophic revolutions, started by biological innovations and marked by global environmental consequences. The revolutions have certain features in common, such as an increase in complexity, energy utilization, and information processing by life. This book describes these revolutions, showing the fundamental interdependence of the evolution of life and its non-living environment. We would not exist unless these upheavals had led eventually to 'successful' outcomes - meaning that after each one, at length, a new stable world emerged.

The current planet-reshaping activities of our species may be the start of another great Earth system revolution, but there is no guarantee that this one will be successful. The book explains what a successful transition through it might look like, if we are wise enough to steer such a course.

This book places humanity in context as part of the Earth system, using a new scientific synthesis to illustrate our debt to the deep past and our potential for the future. (Oxford University Press).