Earth - Ocean system

Earth system science studies the physical, chemical and biological interactions between the atmosphere, seas, land, ice and the earths interior. We refer to these as the 'five components of the Earth system'. In taking this 'system science approach' we recognise that the behaviour of the oceans, for example, is strongly influenced by the coupling with the other four components of the Earth system. The Earth System science approach is at the heart of climate prediction.

Coastal seas

River outflows link the shelf seas with the land.

Oceans from space

Satellites provide a global view of the ocean's surface and Earth's gravity field.

Atmosphere and ocean

Heat and moisture are exchanged across the sea surface.

Ocean Processes

Physical, chemical, biological and long-term geophysical processes define the motion, content and shape of our seas.


Oceans interact with the marine life and geology of the seafloor.

Ice and sea

The interactions between the atmosphere, oceans and sea ice

Projects and collaborations

The NOC plays a lead role in the Met Office - NERC 'Earth System Modelling Strategy' and the Met Office 'Joint Weather and Climate Research Programme' (JWCRP), by developing state-of-the-art ocean circulation and marine ecosystem models for weather and climate prediction.


Research Groups

Click on the links below to find out more about the NOC science and technology group's involvement in Earth - Ocean System research


Information for…


The outputs of research generate new knowledge about the oceans. Transferring scientific knowledge to support business and industry is an important part of our NOC remit.



Our research is intended to tackle the big environmental issues facing the world. Research priorities will include the oceans' role in climate change, sea level change and the future of the Arctic Ocean.



The University of Southampton and the University of Liverpool both offer a range of highly regarded undergraduate and post-graduate degrees in Ocean and Earth Science.



For any media or press enquiries to the National Oceanography Centre follow the more link below. Please note the centre's press office is staffed from 0830 to 1730, Monday to Friday.



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Delivery Partners

Delivery Partners helping to provide marine science national capability.


Marine Science Community

The creation of a wider association of Universities and research institutions to support wider engagement of the NOC with the marine science community is now underway.



The National Oceanographic Library is a national resource for the UK marine science community.


Principal scientists

All updated information for cruise participants can be found using the Marine Facilities Planning website: