Icebergs abound in the cold waters of Svalbard, along the north/northeastern coast of this archipelago, 650 miles from the North Pole.

Earth and Environment

Exploring the wonders of our planet to preserve its future.

We support research that untangles the complex relationships between oceans, land and atmosphere, and the crucial impacts humans and other living things have on the planet's well-being.

With backing from NSF, researchers study short-term weather and long-term climate patterns, geology and tectonics, ocean sciences and the rapidly changing polar regions. They explore from the Earth's deep core to the space weather generated by the sun. And they investigate the Earth's past to try to project what the future might hold.

What we support

Atmospheric sciences

We support research to understand the behavior of the Earth's atmosphere and its interactions with the sun.

Visit the Division of Atmospheric and Geospace Sciences

Earth sciences

We support research to improve understanding of the structure, composition, processes and evolution of the Earth.

Visit the Division of Earth Sciences

Ocean sciences

We support research and education on all aspects of global oceans and their interactions with the earth and the atmosphere.

Visit the Division of Ocean Sciences

Polar research

We support world-class Arctic and Antarctic science through grants, polar facilities and operational support.

Visit the Office of Polar Programs

Environmental biology

We support evolutionary and ecological research on species, populations, communities and ecosystems.

Visit the Division of Environmental Biology

National Ecological Observatory Network

Environmental sustainability

We support transformative research in sustainable engineering and systems that support the natural environment. Our programs include:

Educational resources

Download a bundle of NSF's Earth science activity sheets.