This course is intended as an introduction to the genesis of given features of the lithosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere and biosphere. Students will use geographic techniques to analyze aspects of these natural systems. The interactions of physical processes across these spheres are responsible for the development of our natural landscape and are therefore important determinants of the global environment. The study of physical geography gives students a foundation of knowledge necessary for evaluating environmental change and for effecting conservation and appropriate management of our finite physical resources.
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Upon successful completion of the course, the student will be able to:
Describe how incoming solar radiation interacts with the Earth's atmosphere and surface.
Identify how the global atmospheric circulation, wind systems, and ocean currents are generated.
Explain the processes that lead to condensation, cloud formation, and precipitation.
Compare weather and climate associated with different air masses and storm systems.
Use geographic techniques to analyze aspects of natural systems.
Identify landforms created through techtonics and volcanic activities.
Illustrate how atmospheric precipitation is transformed into surface water (rivers and lakes), soil moisture, and groundwater.
Distinguish between the different flows of energy and cycles of matter in the biosphere.
Interpret aspects of the local environment.
Develop an awareness of the interdependence and vulnerability of the physical environment to human activity.
Effective as of Winter 2004
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