GPHY notes for the win.docx

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Published on 16 Apr 2013
School
Queen's University
Department
Geography
Course
GPHY 102
Professor
Ch 1- Spheres, Systems and Cycles 4/16/2013 2:00:00 PM
Geography- study of evolving character & organization of Earth‟s surface
Bridges natural and social sciences
Holistic- sees everything integrated
Distinguished more by how it approaches problems than by the
substance of the problems it examines
o Regional Geography- examines characteristics of particular
places on the earth
examines everything in one area
o Systemic Geography- investigates that different places in
time & space (ex: high and low pressure systems)
Looks for principles that allow us to explain and predict
the patterns and processes that we observe on the
earth
Can be physical or human
Disregards geographic location and looks at how land is
formed, what is happening to land
Geographic Methods- inherently spatial, interested in geological
terms and methods that link with scientific terms
o Most common maps
o Infrared, remote sensing, UV sensing
o Provide info about earth‟s surface
Physical Geography- examining natural processes including environmental
responses to human activities
Try to identify & understand environmental processes & systems in
order to take care of environment and understand human impact on
these systems
o Processes- behavior (mech. By which change occurs)
Function and mechanisms
o Pattern- expression (what you see at any given time )
o Composition and structure
Important fields of science
o Meteorology- processes that cause short-term fluctuations
in properties of atmosphere (daily weather)
o Climatology- describes results of processes in terms of
space and time (variability of weather at diff places around
the world)
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o Geomorphology- study of earth‟s surface processes and
landforms (what land can tell us about processes that have
happened)
o Coastal and marine geography- studies geomorphological
processes shaping coasts and shorlines
o Geography of soils (pedology)- studies distribution of soil
types, their properties and processes of formation
o Biogeography- patterns of landscape; studies distributions
of organisms over space and time and the processes that
produce those distributions.
Applications of phys. Geo
o Hazard assessment
o Water resources
Systems in Phys. Geo
o System approach considers the interconnections and flow of
matter and energy in natural systems
o Looks at entire system, not just components
Global geographic concerns
o Climate change
o Carbon cycle
o Biodiversity
o Pollution
o Extreme events
Spheres, Scales and Systems
Sphere- atmosphere, lithosphere, hydrosphere, biosphere (4 great
realms)
o Atmosphere- gaseous layer surrounding earth, contributes
to climate by redistributing heat and moisture from surface
and energy from sun
o Lithosphere- “the crust”, outermost solid portion of the
earth, many materials available to biosphere, has an affect on
climate due to topography (ex, Vancouver is warmer b/c of
the mountains that surround it)
o Hydrosphere- portion of earth containing water, process and
movement of water
Frozen portion called cryosphere
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o Biosphere- thin, where all living things are, dependent on
other three layers to support life (gases, water, nutrients).
Layers interact with each other in the „life layer‟ at
surface of earth
Scales- global to local (objects, areas, processes dependent on
scales)
o Global scale- Earth vs. external NRG.
Process of earth rotating
Consider planet and global NRG balance as whole
o Continental scale- results in uneven heating of the surface
and continental scale phenomena are created
Land and water
Latitude, longitude, elevation
Includes ocean currents, atmospheric circulation
o Regional scale- sub-continental scale
Topography
Persistent weather patterns (climate)
Affects of vegetation
o Local scale- community-based (ecosystem) studies processs
and interactions
More irregularity, lots of variation
Patterns defined by fine-scaled factors
Individual scale
Time scales
Systems- flow system of matter and energy (able to determine
how systems react to change in inputs)
o Describe and observe patterns
o Flow systems: where something moves from one place to
another thru time (matter or nrg)
Open flow systems- both inputs and outpust of
matter or NRG
Ex: River system (powered by climate and
gravity)
Closed flow systems- no inputs or outputs,
complicated pathways and interconnections, referred to
as cycles
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Document Summary

Geography- study of evolving character & organization of earth s surface. Distinguished more by how it approaches problems than by the substance of the problems it examines: regional geography- examines characteristics of particular places on the earth. Examines everything in one area: systemic geography- investigates that different places in time & space (ex: high and low pressure systems) Looks for principles that allow us to explain and predict the patterns and processes that we observe on the earth. Disregards geographic location and looks at how land is formed, what is happening to land. Geographic methods- inherently spatial, interested in geological terms and methods that link with scientific terms: most common maps, infrared, remote sensing, uv sensing, provide info about earth s surface. Physical geography- examining natural processes including environmental responses to human activities. Try to identify & understand environmental processes & systems in order to take care of environment and understand human impact on these systems: processes- behavior (mech.

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