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Geographic Representations

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University of Calgary
GEOG 205
John Yackel

Geographic Representations GEOG 205 – January 13 Anthropocene - Term proposed by chemist Paul Crutzen in 2000 - A new epoch in which humans are altering Earth’s climate - Paradigm shift in how we envision human-environment interactions - What indicates that we have entered a new geological era? o More people than ever on the planet o Competition for resources, that’s altering the overview of the Earth Weather, climate, climate change - Lake in Columbia that usually receives heavy rainfall, is now dry (experiencing a long drought) - Climate refers to the long-term patterns of weather (usually over 30 years) in a particular region. - Take the temperature in Calgary in January over 30 years, average it, that’s the average temperature of Calgary’s climate The Scientific Consensus on Climate Change – IPCC - Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change – scientific assessment panel - Global average temp will likely rise between 1.8 and 4 degrees Celsius by 2100 o Rising sea levels o Substantially decreased arctic sea ice o Increasing frequency of heat waves o Increasing intensity of tropical storms o Ocean acidification - The earth’s climate has changed many times, but generally speaking, climates change slowly, over hundreds or thousands of years. - Modern climate change is happening at an accelerated pace, due primarily to increases in human-caused GHG emissions o Uneven process o Ethical dimensions: harm the most vulnerable species and individuals on earth o Political and cultural dimensions: Global climate change challenges our deeply rooted ideas and ideals Geographic Representations - How we see the world is dictated by our culture and experiences - How we represent the world is dependent on our culture and experiences - Technology has changed our world view System of symbols and images that enable communication (sharing of meaning) and understanding. - Maps usually have a legend that shares the meaning of the map’s components - Among the oldest and most important forms of human knowledge o Graphical (maps and pictures) o Verbal (oral or written) - Key issues o What to represent o How to represent it - Problems can be approached from different perspectives - Knowledge is power Maps/oral/written representations are not objective forms of knowledge - Hidden agendas and meanings, sometimes unintentional, sometimes not GEOG 205 – January 15, 2014 Distortions of Space Map scale – - The amount of reduction from a globe the same size as Earth o Cartographic scale – how much a map is reduced from the original (how much zoom) o Geographic scale – how big something is - The move from 3D to 2D can alter distances and representations - The distinction between cartographic and geographic is important - A small scale map is used to show large scale features Spatial elements distorted on maps - Shapes and angles (conformal) – change from 3D to a piece of paper loses some of it
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