This unique addition to reference literature provides an introduction to the major concepts and contemporary issues that are essential for students of environmental science and environmental studies to know. With over 200 entries authored by world-class names like Anthony Brazel, John Day and Edward Keller, this text is divided into six sections: Environmental Science, Environments, Paradigms & Concepts, Processes & Dynamics, Scales & Techniques, and Environmental Issues.
In 1875 the Austrian geologist Eduard Suess (1831–1914) proposed the name ‘biosphere’ for the zone of the planet Earth which contained life in all its forms together with the conditions promoting life, such as the presence of minerals, water, light and other factors. This interaction would now be described as ecology. The concept was elaborated in 1926 by V.I. Vernadsky who thought it was a stage on the road to the development of the noosphere. The biosphere which houses life runs from a sub-oceanic stratum of rocks some 6 km below sea-level and 300 m below the sea floor to the highest peaks of mountain ranges at about 8800 m ASL. Compared with the atmosphere and the lithosphere this is quite a narrow zone and ...