Physical Geography: Great Systems and Global Environments

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2012-04-30
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press

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The physical geography of Earth is explained through the systems that shape the planet's lands, waters, and atmosphere. Written in an easy narrative style, each chapter combines text with more than 40 single-concept illustrations. The result is a distinctive design that weaves words and illustrations together into an integrated whole. The presentation is uncluttered to keep students focused on the main themes. An entire chapter is dedicated to climate change, its geographic origins, likely outcomes, and influence on other Earth systems. A distinctive illustration program includes summary diagrams at the end of chapters that recap concepts and reinforce the systems approach. Section summaries within chapters, along with end-of-chapter review points and questions, are provided to highlight key concepts and encourage thoughtful review of the material. The instructor's guidebook highlights the core concepts in each chapter and suggests strategies to advance a systems approach in teaching physical geography.

Table of Contents

Earth's Energy, Climate and Ocean Systems
Mapping our course of study
An overview of planet Earth: some geographic observations about Earth
The Sun-Earth energy system: fuel for a planet
Earth's radiation and heat systems over land and water
The great systems of global air and ocean circulation
Atmospheric moisture, precipitation and weather systems
Modern climate types and patterns
Climate change, past, present, and future
Earth's Life Support Systems
Earth as an ecosystem: energy, food, and life
Biogeography: geographic distribution of plant and animal types
Human origins, diffusion, and the alteration of natural landscapes
Soil system, processes, and formation
Soil types, distribution, and land use relations
Earth's Water Systems
The global water system
Runoff systems, streamflow, and watersheds
Groundwater, lakes, and water resources
Earth's Rock and Mountain Systems
Earth's internal system: heat, convection, rocks and the planet's skin
The formation and geographic organization of the continents and ocean basins
Mountain building systems, earthquakes, and volcanoes
Earth's Erosional and Landform Systems
Geomorphic systems: rock weathering, hill slope processes, and slope formation
Stream systems, valley formation, and fluvial landscapes
Coastal systems: waves, currents, and landforms
Glacial systems: growth, motion, and work of glacial ice
Wind, sand, dust, and deserts
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