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Physical Geography Terms.docx - Physical Geography Terms...

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Physical Geography TermsGeography:The science that studies the interdependence and interaction amonggeographic areas, natural systems, processes, society, and cultural activities overspace—a spatial science. The five themes of geographic education are location,place, movement, regions, and human–Earth relationships.Meteorology:The scientific study of the atmosphere, including its physicalcharacteristics and motions; related chemical, physical, and geological processes;the complex linkages of atmospheric systems; and weather forecasting.Climatology:The scientific study of climate and climatic patterns and the consistentbehaviour of weather, including its variability and extremes, over time in one placeor region; includes the effects of climate change on human society and culture.Hydrology:The science of water, including its global circulation, distribution, andproperties—specifically water at and below Earth’s surface.Geomorphology:The science that analyzes and describes the origin, evolution, form,classification, and spatial distribution of landforms.Biosphere: That area where the atmosphere, lithosphere, and hydrosphere functiontogether to form the context within which life exists; an intricate web that connectsall organisms with their physical environment.Place:A major theme in geography, focused on the tangible and intangiblecharacteristics that make each location unique; no two places on Earth are alike.Location:A basic theme of geography dealing with the absolute and relative positionsof people, places, and things on Earth’s surface.Region:A geographic theme that focuses on areas that display unity and internalhomogeneity of traits; includes the study of how a region forms, evolves, andinterrelates with other regions.System:Any ordered, interrelated set of materials or items existing separate from theenvironment or within a boundary; energy transformations and energy and matterstorage and retrieval occur within a system.Open System:A system with inputs and outputs crossing back and forth between thesystem and the surrounding environment. Earth is an open system in terms ofenergy.Closed System:A system that is shut off from the surrounding environment, so that it isentirely self-contained in terms of energy and materials; Earth is a closed materialsystem.Feedback Loop: Created when a portion of system output is returned as aninformation input, causing changes that guide further system operation.
Positive Feedback:Feedback that amplifies or encourages responses in a system.Negative Feedback:Feedback that tends to slow or dampen responses in a system;promotes self-regulation in a system; far more common than positive feedback inliving systems.Steady State Equilibrium:The condition that occurs in a system when the rates of inputand output are equal, and the amounts of energy and stored matter are nearlyconstant around a stable average.

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