A global overview of Earth Systems can be found on global earth systems and an overview of the research themes can be found on ITC

The systems principle of specification hierarchies will be used here as an integrated model for Earth Systems Analysis. Specification hierarchies derive from science an intelligible understanding of our world and of our place in it. It features a role in the world for humans based on science.

**Specification Hierarchies**

*Fig.1: An Example Specification Hierarchy*

When used to model systems, higher levels (control, regulate, interpret, harness) lower levels, whose behaviors are made possible by properties generated at still lower levels. So behaviors of higher levels are initiated by lower level configurations. Levels are discerned from hierarchical analysis, aimed at constructing (discovering) Nature’s “joints”.

**Mathematical Framework
**

A method with a mathematical framework for supporting modeling and analyzing a Complex System with a hierarchy of constraints given with a specification hierarchy was presented at the 23rd International Conference on Statistical Physics of the International Union for Pure and Applied Physics, IUPAP.

The mathematical framework and tools can be applied to all types of systems which can be constrained with a specification hierarchy, e.g. Information, Physical, Chemical, Biological, Ecological, Social and Economical Systems. A global presentation (in dutch) on specification hierarchies can be found on Specification Hierarchies.

Below some analysis examples will be given.

**Earth System Analysis Examples
**

*Mathematical Ecology
*

Mathematical Ecology seeks to improve the understanding of the flow of energy and materials through ecosystems and the regulation of the distribution and abundance of organisms. It covers productivity and biogeochemical cycles in ecosystems, tropic dynamics, community structure and stability, competition and predation, evolution and natural selection, population growth and ecology. In mathematical ecology, earth systems are analyzed using the {Mathematical {Physical {Chemical {Biological {Psychological {Social}}}}}} specification hierarchy. Mathematical Ecology examples can be found on mathematicalecology

The presentation of an Ecosystem Approach based on complex systems and specification hierarchies can be found on Ecosystem Sustainability and Health

*Non-Renewable Energy Resource Analysis*

Non-renewable fossil energy sources on earth can be regarded as stored energy. Given the earth systems specification hierarchy {Mathematical {Physical {Material {Economical}}}} we see the economical systems depend on material systems.

Non-Renewable Energy gives an analysis of the earth’s non-renewable material energy sources. It can be easily seen that the material fossil energy sources will last only for the coming decades. Given the specification hierarchy above, if the non-renewable fossil fuels remain the main energy source of the earth’s economical systems, these economical systems will be severely disrupted. Since most fossil fuels are formed on earth over million years and are currently used in several hundred years without being regenerated, it is easy to see that using these fossil fuels in a very short time causes massive disruptions in the earths systems specification hierarchy given above.

On the link Cost-of-Planet you can find a calculation of the cost of CO2 emission given the {Mathematical {Ecological {Economical}}} specification hierarchy.

On the link Emergy you can find a calculation of the Emergy Sustainalility Index (ESI) and Emergy Footprint of countries in the world.

*Renewable Energy Resource Analysis
*

Given the {Mathematical {Physical {Material {Biological {Economical}}}} specification hierarchy of earth systems, we can see the earth’s specification hierarchy is in balance only if economical systems depend on renewable physical, material and biological sources and don’t use sources stored on earth which will not be regenerated again.

On Renewable Energy an analysis is given of the renewable energy resources usable on earth. On earth enough renewable energy can be generated given all current and future demand given the specification hierarchy above.

*Energy System Transition Strategy Analysis *

In order to analyze a transition strategy of the earths systems we can use the {Mathematical {Physical {Material {Biological {Legal {Economical }}}}}} system specification hierarchy. Given this specification hierarchy, the economical realm depends on legal policies. By using legal policies we can make investments in renewable energy technologies more economical then investments in non-renewable energy technologies. This will result in replacement of non-economical non-renewable fossil energy technologies with economical renewable energy technologies. If we analyze biofuels with the {Mathematical {Physical {Material {Biological {Social {Economical}}}}} specification hierarchy, we see economical investments in biofuels are only justified when these investments don’t increase social inbalances.

**Earth System Transition Scenario’s**

Scenarios are “What if” explorations to understand the consequences of choosing a deadline to eliminate global ecological overshoot. In simple terms, Overshoot is the shortfall in earth’s capacity to meet the consumption demands of all humanity.

**Scenario 1 **

Business-as-usual. By 2050 accumulated ecological debt may be irreversible.

**Scenario 2**

A slow-shift scenario, leading to the elimination of overshoot by the end of the century.

**Scenario 3**

This scenario requires greatest initial economic investment but it carries lowest ecological risk because it minmizes ecological debt the fastest.

**Timeframes**

The graph below compares typical lifespans for some human and physical assets with the timeframe for the growth of overshoot.

on 2009-10-10 at 11:22NatureOn the link http://blogs.nature.com/climatefeedback/2009/09/planetary_boundaries_1.html 9 indicators can be found for quantification of the boundaries / constraints within this integrated mathematical specification hierarchy model.