Earth science is about the study of our planet’s land, seas and skies. It involves many scientific disciplines and offers many excellent study and career opportunities. Here are just some of its main fields…
Geologists study the Earth’s origin, history, structure and physical composition.
Their skills are used in many sectors, from engineering to mining and even archaeology.
They can help identify natural hazards such as volcanos and fault lines, hunt for new resources such as minerals and fuels, search for evidence of the earliest life on the planet, and help to understand the environment around us.
Geology can be studied as an undergraduate degree in Ireland and abroad, or as part of an earth science degree.
2. Marine science and oceanography
These scientists focus on the water that makes up 7/10ths of the planet’s surface.
They deal not only with the composition and movement of the oceans but also with marine organisms and life systems, so the work can range across several disciplines including biology, physics and chemistry.
Marine biologists and marine chemists use field expeditions, lab research and data collection to unravel the mysteries of the water world.
Their work is used in fishing and shipping, the engineering and medical sectors, mineral exploitation, environmental monitoring and meteorology.
3. Atmospheric sciences and meteorology
These sciences cover the atmosphere between the Earth’s surface and the exosphere (about 1,000 kilometres high).
Disciplines within the field include atmospheric chemistry, atmospheric physics, climatology and meteorology.
Meteorologists study the weather and the atmospheric conditions that affect climate. They observe and forecast weather conditions and atmospheric phenomena, and study factors that contribute to climate change and research trends from the past.
Meteorology can be studied as part of an earth science degree or as an undergraduate degree, and some colleges offer Masters courses. The main Irish employers include Met Éireann and the Department of Environment.
MyScienceCareer.ie talks to our Science Ambassadors about what they studied in school and college, their careers so far and what it’s like working in these areas: