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Physical Geography
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Course Outline

I.  INTRODUCTION TO GEOGRAPHY

            A.  What is Physical Geography?

                        1. Human VS Physical

                        2.  Four great spheres

                                               

II. TOOLS OF GEOGRAPHY

             A.  Maps Making

            B. Geographic Grid

                       1.  Latitude and Longitude

         a. minutes/seconds

             C.  Isolines

                        1.  Topographic Maps

            D.  Geographic Information Systems [GIS]

 

III. THE UNDERPINNINGS OF PHYSICAL SCIENCE

            A.  Predictive Nature of science

                        1. Investigation

                                    a. Scientific Method

           2. Models

                        3.  Scientific Theory

                                    a. Hallmarks  

B.  Foundational Laws

                        1.  Conservation of Mass

                                    a. Grand scale (closed system)

                                    b. Small scale (open system)

                        2.  Energy Law

                                    a. Forms of Energy

                                                i. Kinetic

                                                            -Macro scale motion

                                                            -Heat (molecular scale)

                                                            -Electrical  (electron scale)

                                                      - Radiant

                                                ii. Potential (Stored Energy)

                                                            -Gravitational

                                                            -Chemical

                                                            -Nuclear     

                                    b. Result of work (transformation of energy)

                        3.  Entropy law

                                    a. Result of work = Entropy

                                                i. Energy degradation (examples)

           

 

IV. THE EARTH AS A PLANET

            A.  Earth formation

             B. Shape

            C. Earth Rotation

                        1.  Direction

                                    a.  Longitude and Time

                                    b. political time

            D.  Earth Revolution

                        1.  History

                                    a.  Aristotelion-Ptolemaic Model [340 B.C.]

                                    b.  Copernican Model [1543]

                                    c.  Galilean Model [1609]

                                    d.  Kepler [1600’s]

                                    e.  Newton and “The Principia” [1687]

                        2.  4 key Characteristics

                                    a.  Distance

                                    b.  Plane of the Ecliptic

                                    c.  Axial Inclination

                                    d.  Axial Orientation

           

            E.  Earth-Sun Relationship

1.  Important Dates and Parallels

            a. Earth-Sun model

 

V. THE GLOBAL ENERGY BALANCE

             A. Radiation

                        1. Electromagnetic radiation

                        2. Visible spectrum

            B. Incoming Solar Radiation

                        1.  Variation with Declination

                                    a.  Sun Angle

                                    i. daily

                                    ii. annually

                                     b.  Day length

                                    i. Important dates

C.  The Atmosphere

                        1.  Composition

                        2.  Radiative Properties

                                    a.  Ozone

                                    b.  greenhouse effect

            D. Global Energy Budget

                       1. Distribution

                                  a. Albedo

             E.  Energy Imbalances

                       1. Balancing mechanisms

         a. Sensible Heat Transfer

i.  Conduction

                                                ii.  Convection

                                                iii. Atmospheric transfer

                                    b. Latent Heat

                                                i. Phase changes

                                    ii. Energy Transfer Diagram

2. Poleward Heat Transport

 

VI. AIR TEMPERATURE

               

            A.  Temperature

                        1.  Temperature vs. Heat

                        2.  Temperature Scales

                        3.  Converting                         F=1.8(C)+32     C=5/9(F-32)     K=C+273.15

           

B.  Atmospheric Vertical Temperature Profile

                        1.  Troposphere

                                    a.  Negative Constant

                                                i.  Environmental Lapse Rate

                                                ii. Heating Source

                        2.  Stratosphere

                                    a.  Positive Relationship

                                    b.  Heating Source

            C. Factors Influencing Surface Temperature Distribution

                        1.  Insolation Receipt

                                    a.  Latitudinal Variation

                                    b.  Daily (Solar Declination) Variation

                        2.  Principle of Continentality

                                    a.  Land vs. Sea Contrast

                        3.  Elevation and Air Density

                                 a.  Efficiency of Warming Process

                        4.  Ocean Currents

                                    a.  Gyres

                                    b.  Gulf Stream vs. California Currents

 

            D. Temperature Patterns

                        1. Annual

                        2. Global

 

 

 

VII.  ATMOSPHERIC WINDS

           

            A.  Air Pressure

                        1.  Measurement

        a.  Standard Sea Level Pressure (1013mb, 29.92in)

                        2.  Vertical Distribution

                         3. Horizontal Distribution

            

            B.  Forces on Air (Causes of wind)

                        1.  Pressure Gradient Force [PGF]

                                    a.  Examples

                                                i.  cities

                                                ii.  sea breeze (day/night)

                        2.  Coriolis Force

                       3.  Surface Friction

           

            C.  Isobar Maps (Net Effect)

                        1.  Wind Direction

                                    a.  Upper-Level “Geostrophic” Winds

                                    b.  Surface Winds

                        2.  Weather Systems

                                    a. Low Pressure System

                                                i. results

                                    b.  High Pressure System

                                            i. results

 

VIII.  MOISTURE AND CLOUD FORMATION

 

            A.  Atmospheric moisture

            B.  Measures of Humidity

                        1.  Specific Humidity

                         2.  Relative humidity

                          3. Dew Point Temperature

C.  Saturation Analogy

D. Cloud Formation

            1. Classification

            2. Cooling Processes

                        a. Conductive

                                    i. Fog

                                    b. Adiabatic

                                                i. Cyclonic Lifting

                                                ii. Convecting lifting

                                                iii. Orographic Lifting

                                                iv. Frontal Lifting

                                                a) warm front

                                                b. cold front

 

IX.  TRAVELING WEATHER SYSTEMS

 

             A. Jet Stream

B. Air Mass movement

            C. Cyclones

                        i. Mid Lat

                        ii. Tropical

                        iii. Tornado Alley

            D. Local Weather

                        i. June Gloom

                        ii. Santa Anas

 

 

X. GLOBAL CLIMATES

           

            A.  Climate System

                        1.  Moist Vs Dry

         

B. Climate Controls

                        1. Insolation

                        2. Topography

                        3. Pressure

                        4. Air Mass movement

                        5. Cyclone belts

                        6. Ocean currents

 

            C. Idealized Climates

                        1. Homogenous earth

                        2. Idealized Continent

                                    i.) Climate characteristics

                                                a. Ex: USA

 

            D.  Climographs

 

XI. BIOGEOGRAPHY

 

            A.  Definitions

B. Food Chain

                        1.  Energy Flow

                                   a. photosynthesis

                                   b. respiration

            C. Classification

            D. Evolution 

              E. Biome Distribution

                        1. Low Latitudes

                        2. Mid-Lat

                       3. High Lat

                        4. Elevation

                                    i.) San Diego

 

XII.       EARTH MATERIALS

 

A. Layers

            1. Crust

            2. Mantle

            3. Core

            4. Lithosphere

            5. Asthenosphere

 

B. Geologic Time

            1. Eras

 

              C.  Crustal Materials

                       1.  Minerals

                        2. Rock Cycle

                                    i.)  Igneous Rocks

                                                            a.  Intrusive [Plutonic] (ie: granite and granitics)

                                                            b.  Extrusive [Volcanic] (ie: basalt)

                                                ii.).  Sedimentary Rocks (ie:  shale, limestone, sandstone)

                                                iii.)  Metamorphic Rocks (ie:  marble, slate, schist, gneiss)

            

XIII.  PLATE TECTONICS (Endogenic forces)

 

            A. Theory Development

                        1. Isostacy

2. Continental Drift [1912]

                            3. Asthenospheric Convection [1930]

                        4.   Seafloor Spreading [1960]

                             5.  Plate Tectonics [1960’s]:  The Unifying Theory of Geology

                                   

            C.  Tectonic Activity

                        1.  Plate Boundary Types

                                    a.  Diverging (Spreading Zones)

                                    i.) Continental

ii.) Oceanic

                                   

                                    b.  Converging

                                    i.) Oceanic-Coninental

                                    ii.) Oceanic-Oceanic

                                    iii.) Continental-Continental

                                  c.  Transform (Shearing Zones)

2. Hot Spot Theory

           

D.  Real world Tectonics

            1. Examples

            2. Disasters

                        a. Earthquakes

                        b. Tsunamis

 

XIV. EXOGENIC FORCES

           

            A.  Rock-Weathering Processes

                        1.  Physical Weathering

           2.  Chemical Weathering

 

B.  Mass Wasting

1. Southern California

 

            C.  Erosion

                        1. Wind

                        2. Ice

                        3. Running water

                                    i.) Fluvial

                                 ii. )Beaches

 

            D. Ocean Waves

 

XV.  OCEANOGRAPHY

 

A. Bathometry

 

B. Salinity

 

C. Density

            1. Graphs

 

D. Circulation

1. Deep water

2. Surface

                                    i.) Ekman Transport

                                    ii.) Global Patterns

                                    iii.) Upwelling

            3. El Nino

D. Waves

            1. Anatomy

            2. Energy

            3. Breaking

 

E. Tides

            1. Model

 

XVI.  HUMAN ENVIRONMENT INTERACTION

           

A. Resource Issues

                        1. Historical energy use

                        2. Non-renewable resources

                                    a. finite fossil fuels/Nuclear

                                                i) Limitations

                        3. Reusable Resources

                        4. Environmental Problems

                                    a. Atmopshere

                                    b. Hydrosphere

                                    c. Land Surface Issues

           

  B. Climate Change

            1. Definitions

            2. IPCC Conclusions

                       a. results

                                   i. california

            3. Solutions!

Last Updated: 12/05/2014
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