GEOG 110 Notes

GEOG 110 Notes - GEOG 110 Notes 1/10/08 Introduction to the...

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GEOG 110 Notes 1/10/08 Introduction to the Systems Perspective 1) Definition – A system consists of an organized assemblage of flows and components that is distinct from the environment. Each component serves some function in the system, and the flows essentially act as communication lines between each component. i) Key words: organized, different parts, predictability, distinct, connected b) As systems develop that display more and more organization; their components or parts are more efficient and more easily seen. (1) ex. Hurricane c) Budgets can be constructed that illustrate the changing material or energy states of each component or reservoir. d) Systems can be diagrammed by boxes representing components that are connected with arrows that represent the flows as well as the inputs and outputs. (1) Example: water budget in the earth-atmosphere system e) Most systems are dynamic, that is, the state of a system is constantly changing. Matter contained within a reservoir or component is constantly cycling through. Ongoing interactions between components in the system produce ebbs and flows of energy and material fluxes. (1) Example: droughts, floods and continental glaciations in the earth- atmosphere system → changes in precipitation, atmospheric water vapor, water salinity, etc f) Various components in many systems act as reservoirs that store things such as matter and energy. The material in the reservoirs of a system flows through or “turns over” at a certain rate. (1) Example: ice storage in a glacier system (2) Other Examples: The cells in the human body, including the brain. 2) Nestedness – Smaller (micro) sub-systems are nested inside bigger (macro) systems and often serve critical functions in the bigger system. This nestedness is often found across a wide range of scales. i) Example 1: The cells, organs in the body, the body, family, community ii) Example 2: Multiple vortex tornado 3) Interconnectedness – Every component or reservoir in a system is connected either proximately or distally to every other reservoir or component in a system. A change in the state of one reservoir causes changes in all of the other reservoirs of the system. Removal or change in a single component can cause major dysfunctions in a system. i) Example: Removal of a key organism in the food web of an ecosystem causes changes in the numbers and types of species remaining in the ecosystem 4) Entropy : Systems take energy from the environment, consume the energy, and then dissipate it. This causes changes in entropy, which is a measure of the degree of equalization of energy (e.g. heat) in a given space.
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i) High entropy states are characterized by an environment that is nearly isothermal – little spatial variation in temperature or energy. Implicitly, there is little or no circulation in the medium. ii) Low entropy states are characterized by an environment that displays strong
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This note was uploaded on 03/19/2008 for the course GEOG 110 taught by Professor Konrad during the Spring '08 term at UNC.

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GEOG 110 Notes - GEOG 110 Notes 1/10/08 Introduction to the...

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