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Chapter 1

GG101 Chapter 1 Notes.docx

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Wilfrid Laurier University
James Hamilton

GG101 Chapter 1 Notes  Geography is the science that studies the relationships among natural systems, geographic areas, society, cultural activities, and the interdependence of all these over space  Spatial: nature and character of physical space, its measurement, and distribution of things within it o Five important spatial themes: location, region, human-Earth relationships, movement and place  Process: set of actions or mechanisms that operate in some special order, governed by physical, chemical and biological laws  Therefore, Physical Geography is the SPATIAL ANALYSIS of all the physical elements and processes that make up the environment  Five themes of geographic science (LMRHP): o Location- absolute and relative location of Earth; Location answers the question WHERE o Movement- communication, movement, circulation, migration and diffusion across Earth’s surface o Region- areas having uniform characteristics; how they form and change o Human-Earth Relationships- Humans and how they interact with the environment; resource exploitation, hazard perception, and environmental pollution and modification o Place- tangible and intangible living and nonliving characteristics that make each palce unique  Systems Theory o A system is any ordered, interrelated set of things and their attributes, linked by flows of energy and matter, as distinct from the surrounding environment outside the system o Within Earth’s systems, both matter and energy are stored and retrieved and energy is transformed from one type to another o Open systems: inputs and outputs of energy and matter flow in and out of the system- such as sunlight/photosynthesis, automobiles combusting gasoline and emitting pollutants o Closed systems: Earth is a closed system in terms of physical matter and resources- air, water and material resources, with the exception being the slow escape of lightweight gases (such as hydrogen) from the atmosphere into space and the input of frequent but tiny meteors and cosmic and meteoric dust o Feedback loops: “informative” outputs from a system that influences its operations;  Negative Feedback: feedback “info” discourages response in the system- such as dieting  Positive Feedback: feedback info encourages increased response in the system; further production in the system stimulates the growth of the system (page 7); examples include a forest fire where more and more wood is burned, increasing overall severity and a car that is being operated at increasingly high speeds o System Equilibrium: where a system maintains structure and character over time  Steady-state equilibrium: where rates of inputs and outputs, amounts of energy and matter are equal  Dynamic Equilibrium: changing trends of increasing/decreasing system operations  Threshold: abrupt changes in functional operation i.e. sudden landslide  Models o A simplified, idealized representation of part of the real world in order to understand complex ideas; such as a s/d curve in economics o System models in this text will include hydrologic system, water balance, surface energy budgets, earthquakes… Earth’s four spheres  Earth’s surface is a vast area of 500M sq. km’s where four immense open systems interact  Abiotic system = non-living; Atmosphere, Hydrosphere, Lithosphere 
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