68128-Ch01_IM

68128-Ch01_IM - Chapter 1 Introduction to Earth To ground...

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Chapter 1: Introduction to Earth To ground the reader, Chapter One provides both a perspective on the field of geography and the Earth itself, virtually orienting the reader as to physical geography’s role in academic history and Earth’s place in the universe. Chapter One also demonstrates how physical geography fits within the overall discipline of science through an examination of science as a field of learning, as well as how physical geography seeks to monitor both natural and human-induced global environmental change. Furthermore, Chapter One examines the basic physical characteristics of this planet and the functional relationship between Earth and its prime source of energy, the Sun. In addition, it examines the geographic grid as a system of accurate location for studying the distribution of geographic features over Earth’s surface. It finishes with discussions on Earth’s movements, the march of seasons, and telling time. TOPICS Geography as a Field of Learning Science and Geography Science as a Field of Learning Numbers and Measurement Systems Global Environmental Change The Environmental Spheres The Solar System The Size and Shape of Earth The Geographic Grid Latitude Longitude Earth Sun Relations Earth’s Rotation on Its Axis Earth’s Revolution Around the Sun Inclination of Earth’s Axis Polarity of Earth’s Axis The Annual March of the Seasons Seasonal Transitions Significance of Seasonal Patterns Changes in Daylight and Darkness Telling Time Standard Time The International Date Line Daylight Saving Time KEY TERMS Antarctic Circle (p. 18) aphelion (p. 17) Arctic Circle (p. 18) atmosphere (p. 5) biosphere (p. 5) circle of illumination (p. 18) cryosphere (p. 5) cultural geography (p. 1) December solstice (p. 19) equator (p. 10) graticule (p. 11) great circle (p. 10) Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) (p. 23) hydrosphere (p. 5) inclination of Earth’s axis (p. 17) 1
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International Date Line (p. 24) international system of measurement (SI) (p. 4) June solstice (p. 18) latitude (p. 11) lithosphere (p. 5) longitude (p. 13) March equinox (p. 21) meridian (p. 13) North Pole (p. 11) parallel (p. 11) perihelion (p. 17) physical geography (p. 1) plane of the ecliptic (p. 17) plane of the equator (p. 10) polarity (parallelism) of the rotation axis (p. 18) prime meridian (p. 13) September equinox (p. 19) solar altitude (p. 18) South Pole (p. 11) Tropic of Cancer (p. 18) Tropic of Capricorn (p. 19) Universal Time Coordinated (UTC) (p. 23) CHAPTER OUTLINE I. Geography as a Field of Learning A. Geography is a generalized discipline that has the face of planet Earth as its focus. 1. Rooted in the Greek words for “earth description,” geography is the areal differentiation of Earth’s surface. 2. The fundamental questions of geographic inquiry are a) “Why is What Where?” b) “So What?” B. Geography’s basic characteristics are as follows: 1. It looks at how things differ from place to place; 2. It has no peculiar body of facts or objects it can call wholly its own; 3. It is a very broad field of inquiry and “borrows” its objects of study from related disciplines; 4.
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