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The Earth as an open ecosystem

  • Lev S. Ivlev
Part of the Springer Praxis Books book series (PRAXIS)

Abstract

The most important factor that determines the existence and development of the Earth ecosystem (i.e., the climate) is the Earth-Sun interaction (Kondratyev and Ivlev, 1995; Kondratyev et al., 1995; Krapivin and Kondratyev, 2002). The variations in the Earth-Sun interaction cause gradual or periodic changes of climatological conditions, commonly known as Milankovich cycles, as well as catastrophic phenomena. The cycles which correspond to the ice ages and the intervening interglacial periods were originally studied by James Croll, the son of a Scottish crofter, who had very little formal education, in the 1860s and 1870s; however, his work was largely ignored and the theory was revived and expanded by Milutin Milankovitch, a Serbian civil engineer and mathematician, in the early 20th century and they are now named after him. Catastrophic changes do not follow such a cyclical pattern. In choosing the direction for further development of our civilization the importance of the Earth-Sun interaction must be understood in emerging global changes of the environment, particularly those concerning the Earth’s biosphere. In order to be able to separate anthropogenic effects on the Earth’s biosphere from natural effects, it is necessary to understand the physical aspects of the formation and evolution of environmental conditions, of evolutionary processes under external influences of varied intensity and duration; this involves understanding the current status—not only of the environment, but of the Earth as a planet and of space (particularly the Earth’s near space) with its physical processes.

Keywords

Earth Planet Early 20th Century Open Ecosystem Periodic Change External Influence 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Praxis Publishing Ltd, Chichester, UK 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lev S. Ivlev
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratory of Aerosol Physics at Fok’s Institute of PhysicsSt. Petersburg State UniversitySt. PetersburgRussia

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