Physical Geography: The Atmosphere and Biosphere
Physical Geography: The Atmosphere and Biosphere

Physical Geography: The Atmosphere and Biosphere

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This Top Hat content contains 17 chapters from eBook Understanding Physical Geography by Michael Pidwirny that focus on explaining the principles and processes that govern the functions of the atmosphere and biosphere, and the interactions between these environmental systems and human activity. The author, Michael Pidwirny, an Associate Professor in the Department of Earth, Environmental and Geographic Sciences at the University of British Columbia, Okanagan Campus, located in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada. He teaches courses in introductory Physical Geography (Earth Science), Anthropogenic Climate Change, and the use of statistics in Earth Science and Geography. His research uses statistically downscaled and spatial interpolated climate data to assess how human caused climate change influences temperature and precipitation patterns at North American ski resorts.

Physical Geography: The Atmosphere

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Introduction to Physical Geography

1.1 INTRODUCTION

1.1.1 History of Geography and Physical Geography

        1.1.1.1 Early Greeks and Romans
       1.1.1.2 Middle Ages to 1800
       1.1.1.3 1800 to 1950
       1.1.1.4 20th Century – Second Half
       1.1.1.5 The 21st Century

1.1.2 Phenomena of Study in Modern Geography

1.2 DEFINITION OF PHYSICAL GEOGRAPHY

1.3 THE FOUR SPHERES

1.3.1 The Atmosphere
1.3.2 The Hydrosphere
1.3.3 The Lithosphere
1.3.4 The Biosphere

1.4 SCIENCE OF PHYSICAL GEOGRAPHY

1.4.1 The Hypothetico-Deductive Method

1.5 SYSTEMS THEORY AND SCIENCE

1.5.1 System Hierarchy and Interconnections
1.5.2 Systems and Equilibrium


Chapter 2: Maps, Time, GIS and Remote Sensing

2.1 MAPS: MODELS OF REALITY

2.2 MAP SCALE

2.3 MAP LOCATION SYSTEMS

2.3.1 Geographical Coordinate System
2.3.2 Rectangular Coordinate System
2.3.3 Global Positioning Systems

2.4 MAP PROJECTION SYSTEMS

2.4.1 Cylindrical Map Projections
2.4.2 Conic Map Projections
2.4.3 Planar Map Projections
2.4.4 Other Map Projections

2.5 TOPOGRAPHIC MAPS

2.5.1 Topographic Map Symbols
2.5.2 Contour Lines
2.5.3 Topographic Map Profiles
2.5.4 Measuring Distance on Topographic Maps
2.5.5 Measuring Direction on Topographic Maps

2.6 TIME ZONES

2.6.1 Coordinating Time
2.6.2 International Date Line

2.7 GEOGRAPHIC INFORMATION SYSTEMS

2.7.1 Components of a GIS

2.8 REMOTE SENSING

2.8.1 Satellite Remote Sensing
 

Chapter 3: Matter, Energy and the Universe

3.1 THE UNIVERSE AND OUR SOLAR SYSTEM

3.1.1 The Big Bang Theory
3.1.2 Structure of the Universe
3.1.3 The Solar System

        3.1.3.1 The Inner Solar System
       3.1.3.2 The Outer Solar System

3.2 MATTER

3.2.1 Elements and Compounds
 3.2.2 Properties of Matter
 3.2.3 Phases of Matter
 3.2.4 Types of Matter
 3.2.5 Cellular Structure of Life

3.3 ENERGY

3.3.1 Types of Energy
 3.3.2 Measurement of Energy
 3.3.3 Energy, Temperature, and Heat

3.4 LAWS OF THERMODYNAMICS

3.4.1 First Law of Thermodynamics
 3.4.2 Second Law of Thermodynamics
 3.4.3 Third Law of Thermodynamics

3.5 ENERGY TRANSFER ON OUR PLANET

3.5.1 Conduction, Convection, and Radiation
3.5.2 Energy Transfer and Life

        3.5.2.1 Photosynthesis
       3.5.2.2 Cellular Respiration


Chapter 4: Solar Radiation and the Earth

4.1 NATURE OF RADIATION

4.1.1 Waves and Photons
4.1.2 Emission and Absorption

4.2 SOLAR OUTPUT AND THE EARTH

4.2.1 Sunspots, Prominences, and Solar Flares

4.3 EARTH GEOMETRY AND MOTIONS

4.3.1 Earth Rotation and Revolution
4.3.2 Tilt Of the Earth's Axis
4.3.3 Axis Tilt and Solar Altitude

4.4 DAILY AND ANNUAL CYCLES OF INSOLATION


Chapter 5: Atmospheric Structure and Radiation Transfer

5.1 EVOLUTION OF THE EARTH'S ATMOSPHERE

5.2 COMPOSITION OF THE ATMOSPHERE

5.2.1 Gases
5.2.2 Aerosols

5.3 ATMOSPHERIC LAYERS

5.3.1 Thermal Layers
5.3.2 Chemical Layers

5.4 ABSORPTION, REFLECTION, AND SCATTERING

5.4.1 Atmospheric Scattering
5.4.2 Atmospheric Absorption
5.4.3 Atmospheric Reflection
5.4.4 Atmospheric Transmission

5.5 SURFACE ALBEDO AND INSOLATION

5.5.1 Satellite Measurements of Albedo

5.6 GLOBAL RADIATION TRANSFERS

5.6.1 Spatial Patterns of Surface Insolation Input
5.6.2 Concept of Radiation Balance
5.6.3 Earth Space Bound Emission
5.6.4 Annual Global Radiation Cascades
5.6.5 Net Radiation

5.7 THE GREENHOUSE EFFECT AND GLOBAL WARMING


Chapter 6: Energy, Temperature and Heat

6.1 RADIATION TRANSFER AND TEMPERATURE

6.2 MEASUREMENT OF SURFACE AIR TEMPERATURE

6.2.1 Instruments for Measuring Temperature
6.2.2 Instrument Shelters
6.2.3 Temperature Means, Ranges, Normals, and Extremes

6.3 FACTORS INFLUENCING AIR TEMPERATURE

6.3.1 Latitude
6.3.2 Altitude
6.3.3 Cloud Cover
6.3.4 Maritime and Continental Effects
6.3.5 Ocean Currents

6.4 CYCLES OF AIR TEMPERATURE

6.4.1 Daily Cycles
6.4.2 Annual Cycles

6.5 GLOBAL TEMPERATURE PATTERNS

6.5.1 Annual Surface Air Temperatures
6.5.2 January Surface Air Temperatures
6.5.3 July Surface Air Temperatures
6.5.4 Seasonal Temperature Variations
6.5.5 Ocean Surface Temperatures

6.6 THE GLOBAL HEAT BALANCE


Chapter 7: Atmospheric Pressure and Wind

7.1 ATMOSPHERIC PRESSURE

7.1.1 Pressure, Density, Volume, and Temperature
7.1.2 Surface Atmospheric Pressure
7.1.3 Measuring Air Pressure
7.1.4 Weather Maps and Air Pressure
7.1.5 Global Atmospheric Pressure Patterns

7.2 WIND

7.2.1 Newton’s Laws of Motion
7.2.2 Pressure Gradient Force
7.2.3 Coriolis Effect
7.2.4 Frictional Force

7.3 SURFACE AND UPPER AIR WINDS

7.3.1 Surface Winds
7.3.2 Upper Air Winds
7.3.3 Gradient Winds

7.4 LOCAL AND REGIONAL WIND SYSTEMS

7.4.1 Thermal Circulations
7.4.2 Sea And Land Breezes
7.4.3 Mountain and Valley Breezes
7.4.4 Katabatic Winds
7.4.5 Monsoon Winds

7.5 MODELS OF GLOBAL CIRCULATION

7.5.1 Three Cell Model of Global Circulation

7.6 ACTUAL GLOBAL SURFACE CIRCULATION

7.7 UPPER ATMOSPHERE CIRCULATION AND JET STREAMS

7.7.1 Rossby Waves


Chapter 8: Thunderstorms, Mid-Latitude Cyclones and Hurricanes

8.1 STORMS OF VARIOUS SIZES

8.2 THUNDERSTORMS

8.2.1 Geographic Distribution of Thunderstorms
8.2.2 Air Mass Thunderstorms
8.2.3 Severe Thunderstorms
8.2.4 Thunderstorms and Tornadoes
8.2.5 Oklahoma, May 3rd, 1999

8.3 AIR MASSES AND TRANSITIONAL FRONTS

8.3.1 Air Masses
8.3.2 Transitional Fronts

8.4 MID-LATITUDE CYCLONES

8.4.1 Description and Characteristics
8.4.2 Mid-Latitude Cyclone Life Cycle

8.5 TROPICAL WEATHER AND HURRICANES

8.5.1 Tropical Weather
8.5.2 Easterly Waves
8.5.3 Hurricanes
8.5.4 Hurricane Development, Movement, and Dissipation
8.5.5 Hurricane Classification
8.5.6 Hurricane Damage and Destruction


Chapter 9: Climatic Regions and Climate Change

9.1 FACTORS INFLUENCING THE DIVERSITY OF CLIMATE

9.1.1 Latitude
9.1.2 Global-Scale Pressure Patterns and Winds
9.1.3 Air Masses
9.1.4 Storms
9.1.5 Heat Exchange Between Land and Water
9.1.6 Altitude and Mountain Ranges

9.2 CLIMATE CLASSIFICATION

9.2.1 Köppen Climate Classification System
9.2.2 Tropical Moist Climates - Köppen Type A

        9.2.2.1 Tropical Wet (Af)
       9.2.2.2 Tropical Wet and Dry (Aw)
       9.2.2.3 Tropical Monsoon (Am)

9.2.3 Dry Climates - Köppen Type B

        9.2.3.1 Subtropical Desert (BWh) and Steppe (BSh)
       9.2.3.2 Mid-Latitude Desert (BWk) and Steppe (BSk)

9.2.4 Moist Mid-Latitude Climates with Mild Winters - Köppen Type C

        9.2.4.1 Humid Subtropical (Cf)
       9.2.4.2 Dry Winter, Wet Summer (Cw)
       9.2.4.3 Mediterranean (Cs)

9.2.5 Moist Mid-Latitude Climates with Cold Winters - Köppen Type D
9.2.6 Polar Climates - Köppen Type E

        9.2.6.1 Polar Tundra (ET)
       9.2.6.2 Polar Ice Cap (EF)

9.2.7 Highland Climates - Köppen Type H

9.3 NATURAL VARIABILITY OF THE EARTH'S CLIMATE

9.3.1 Earth's Climatic History
9.3.2 Reconstructing Past Climates

        9.3.2.1 Instrument Records
       9.3.2.2 Written Documentation
       9.3.2.3 Proxy Data

9.4 CAUSES OF CLIMATE CHANGE

9.4.1 Factors that Influence Earth’s Climate

        9.4.1.1 Variations in the Earth's Orbital Characteristics
       9.4.1.2 Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide Variations
       9.4.1.3 Volcanic Eruptions
       9.4.1.4 Variations in Solar Output


Chapter 10: Human Alteration of the Atmosphere

10.1 INTRODUCTION

10.2 ATMOSPHERIC POLLUTION

10.2.1 Types of Air Pollution
10.2.2 Primary Pollutants
10.2.3 Secondary Pollutants
10.2.4 Factors Affecting Air Pollution

        10.2.4.1 Wind
       10.2.4.2 Atmospheric Stability and Inversions
       10.2.4.3 Topography

10.3 INDUSTRIAL AND PHOTOCHEMICAL SMOG

10.3.1 Formation of Photochemical Smog
10.3.2 Chemistry of Photochemical Smog
10.3.3 Meteorological Factors

10.4 ACID DEPOSITION

10.4.1 Acid Deposition Formation
10.4.2 Effects of Acid Deposition

10.5 AIR POLLUTION CONTROL

10.6 HUMAN CAUSED CLIMATE CHANGE

10.6.1 Human Enhancement of the Greenhouse Effect
10.6.2 Forecasting Human Caused Climate Change
10.6.3 Consequences of Human Caused Climate Change

        10.6.3.1 Changes to Weather and Climate
       10.6.3.2 Plants, Animals, and Biome Changes
       10.6.3.3 Changes to the Hydrology of the Planet
       10.6.3.4 Human Health Effects
       10.6.3.5 Human Built Environment and Agriculture

10.6.4 Mitigation Efforts - Kyoto Protocol
10.6.5 Conference of the Parties - Paris Agreement 

10.7 STRATOSPHERIC OZONE DEPLETION

10.7.1 Ozone Depletion in the Stratosphere
10.7.2 The Montreal Protocol


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Additional Chapters Available that Can be Added to the eBook


Chapter 12: Atmospheric Hydrology

12.1 ATMOSPHERIC HUMIDITY

12.1.1 Introduction
12.1.2 Mixing Ratio, Saturation Mixing Ratio, and Relative Humidity
12.1.3 Dew Point and Frost Point
12.1.4 Measuring Humidity
12.1.5 Global Measurements of Humidity
12.1.6 Condensation, Freezing, and Deposition

12.2 CLOUD FORMATION PROCESSES

12.3 FOG AND PRECIPITATION

12.3.1 Fog
12.3.2 Precipitation
12.3.3 Measuring Precipitation

        12.3.3.1 Standard Rain Gauge
       12.3.3.2 Tipping Bucket Gauge
       12.3.3.3 Measuring Snowfall
       12.3.3.4 Radar Systems

12.4 GLOBAL DISTRIBUTION OF PRECIPITATION

12.5 PATTERNS OF PRECIPITATION OVER NORTH AMERICA

12.6 EVAPORATION AND TRANSPIRATION


Chapter 14: The Oceans

14.1 INTRODUCTION

14.1.1 Atlantic Ocean  
14.1.2 Arctic Ocean   
14.1.3 Indian Ocean
14.1.4 Pacific Ocean
14.1.5 Southern Ocean

14.2 PHYSICAL AND CHEMICAL CHARACTERISTICS OF SEAWATER

14.2.1 Dissolved Solid Chemicals    
14.2.2 Dissolved Gases     
14.2.3 Seawater Salinity  
14.2.4 Seawater pH  
14.2.5 Seawater Density

14.3 SURFACE AND SUBSURFACE OCEAN CURRENTS

14.3.1 Surface Ocean Currents     
14.3.2 Ekman Spiral and Transport      
14.3.3 Surface Currents Associated with the Subtropical Gyres   
14.3.4 Surface Currents Associated with the Polar Gyres   
14.3.5 Subsurface Currents

14.4 OCEAN TIDES

14.4.1 Types of Tides   

14.5 EL NIÑO, LA NIÑA, AND THE SOUTHERN OSCILLATION

 


Chapter 26: Introduction to Life

26.1 LIFE ON OUR PLANET

26.1.1 What is Life?
26.1.2 Domains and Kingdoms of Life
26.1.3 History of Life on the Earth

26.2 CLASSIFICATION OF LIFE

26.2.1 What is a Species?
26.2.2 Species Classification

26.3 POPULATIONS, COMMUNITIES, AND ECOSYSTEMS

26.3.1 Populations
26.3.2 Communities
26.3.3 Ecosystems

26.4 LIFE AND EVOLUTION

26.4.1 Darwin’s Theory
26.4.2 Natural Selection, Mutations, and Reproductive Isolation

26.5 ADAPTIVE STRATEGIES FOR SURVIVAL

26.5.1 r- and K-Selected Species
26.5.2 Grime’s Plant Strategies

26.6 LIFE’S DIVERSITY

26.6.1 Types of Biodiversity
26.6.2 Global Patterns of Species Diversity
26.6.3 Other Species Diversity Patterns
26.6.4 The Extinction of Life


Chapter 27: Spatial Distribution of Species and Ecosystems

27.1 GEOGRAPHIC RANGE AND THE ECOLOGICAL NICHE

27.1.1 Geographic Range
27.1.2 Ecological Niche

27.2 FACTORS INFLUENCING SPECIES DISTRIBUTION

27.2.1 Dispersal and Colonization
27.2.2 Abiotic Factors and Species Distributions
27.2.3 Biotic Interactions and Species Distributions

        27.2.3.1 Competition
       27.2.3.2 Mutualism
       27.2.3.3 Commensalism
       27.2.3.4 Predation, Parasitism, and Pathogens

27.3 DISTURBANCE

27.3.1 Fire
27.3.2 Wind
27.3.3 Flooding and Inundation

27.4 PLANT SUCCESSION

27.4.1 Abandoned Field to Oak Forest
27.4.2 Types of Plant Successions
27.4.3 Abiotic and Biotic Changes During Succession
27.4.4 Succession Mechanisms

        27.4.4.1 Facilitation Model of Succession
       27.4.4.2 Tolerance Model of Succession
       27.4.4.3 Inhibition Model of Succession

27.5 EARTH'S ECOSYSTEMS AND MAJOR BIOMES

27.5.1 Terrestrial Biomes

        27.5.1.1 Tundra
       27.5.1.2 Boreal Forests/Taiga
       27.5.1.3 Temperate Coniferous Forests
       27.5.1.4 Temperate Broadleaf and Mixed Forests
       27.5.1.5 Temperate Grasslands, Savannas and Shrublands
       27.5.1.6 Montane Grasslands and Shrublands
       27.5.1.7 Deserts and Xeric Shrublands
       27.5.1.8 Mediterranean Forests, Woodlands and Scrub
       27.5.1.9 Tropical and Subtropical Grasslands, Savannas and Shrublands
       27.5.1.10 Flooded Grasslands and Savannas
       27.5.1.11 Tropical and Subtropical Moist Broadleaf Forests
       27.5.1.12 Tropical and Subtropical Dry Broadleaf Forests
       27.5.1.13 Tropical and Subtropical Coniferous Forests

27.5.2 Aquatic Ecosystems

        27.5.2.1 Open Sea
       27.5.2.2 Coastal Zone
       27.5.2.3 Lakes and Ponds
       27.5.2.4 Streams
       27.5.2.5 Fresh Water Wetlands


Chapter 28: Biogeochemical Cycling and Ecosystem Productivity

28.1 ESSENTIAL NUTRIENTS FOR LIFE

28.2 NUTRIENT CYCLING

28.2.1 External Nutrient Inputs to Ecosystems

        28.2.1.1 Weathering
       28.2.1.2 Atmospheric Input
       28.2.1.3 Biological Input
       28.2.1.4 Symbiotic Nitrogen Fixation by Legumes
       28.2.1.5 Symbiotic Nitrogen Fixation by Non-Legumes
       28.2.1.6 Addition of Inorganic and Organic Matter

28.2.2 Nutrient Outputs to Ecosystems

        28.2.2.1 Gaseous Losses
       28.2.2.2 Loss of Inorganic and Organic Matter

28.2.3 Internal Ecosystem Nutrient Cycling

28.3 THE CARBON AND NITROGEN CYCLES

28.3.1 The Carbon Cycle
28.3.2 The Nitrogen Cycle

28.4 PRODUCTIVITY OF PLANTS

28.4.1 Introduction
28.4.2 Factors Limiting Plant Productivity

        28.4.2.1 Efficiency of Solar Radiation Use

28.5 FOOD CHAINS, TROPHIC PYRAMIDS, AND FOOD WEBS

28.5.1 Production by Consumers
28.5.2 Grazing Food Chain
28.5.3 Detritus Food Chain
28.5.4 Trophic Pyramids and Food Chains
28.5.5 Food Webs
 

Chapter 29: Soil and Soil Classification

29.1 INTRODUCTION TO SOILS

29.2 SOIL PROPERTIES

29.2.1 Mineral Particles
29.2.2 Soil Texture
29.2.3 Soil Structure
29.2.4 Soil organisms and Organic Material
29.2.5 Porosity
29.2.6 Density
29.2.7 Translocation

29.3 SOIL CHEMISTRY

29.3.1 Nutrients
29.3.2 Soil Colloids
29.3.3 Plant Uptake Process
29.3.4 Soil pH

29.4 SOIL PROFILE

29.2.1 O Horizon
29.2.2 A Horizon
29.2.3 B Horizon
29.2.4 C Horizon
29.2.5 R Horizon
29.2.7 Subordinate Layers

29.5 PEDOGENESIS: SOIL FORMATION

29.5.1 Factors Involved in Soil Formation

        29.5.1.1 Climate
       29.5.1.2 Living Organisms
       29.5.1.3 Parent Material
       29.5.1.4 Topography
       29.5.1.5 Time

29.5.2 Principal Pedogenic Processes

        29.5.2.1 Laterization
       29.5.2.2 Podzolization
       29.5.2.3 Calcification
       29.5.2.4 Salinization
       29.5.2.5 Gleization

29.6 SOIL CLASSIFICATION SYSTEMS

29.6.1 United States Soil Taxonomy

        29.6.1.1 Alfisols
       29.6.1.2 Andisols
       29.6.1.3 Aridsols
       29.6.1.4 Entisols
       29.6.1.5 Gelisols
       29.6.1.6 Histosols
       29.6.1.7 Inceptisols
       29.6.1.8 Mollisols
       29.6.1.9 Oxisols
       29.6.1.10 Spodsols
       29.6.1.11 Ultisols
       29.6.1.12 Vertisols

29.6.2 Canadian System of Soil Classification

        29.6.2.1 Brunisolic Order
       29.6.2.2 Chernozemic Order
       29.6.2.3 Cryosolic Order
       29.6.2.4 Gleysolic Order
       29.6.2.5 Luvisolic Order
       29.6.2.6 Organic Order
       29.6.2.7 Podzolic Order
       29.6.2.8 Regosolic Order
       29.6.2.9 Solonetzic Order
       29.6.2.10 Vertisolic Order        


Chapter 30: Human Alteration of the Biosphere

30.1 SPECIES EXTINCTION CRISIS

30.1.1 Poaching, Hunting, and Harvesting
30.1.2 Species Introductions
30.1.3 Pollution, Toxic Chemicals, and Climate Change
30.1.4 Exotic Pet and Plant Trade
30.1.5 Pest Management
30.1.6 Habitat Modification and Loss

30.2 LAND-COVER CHANGE AND ECOSYSTEM LOSS

30.2.1 Forest Ecosystems
30.2.2 Grassland and Rangeland Ecosystems

30.3 BENEFITS OF SPECIES AND ECOSYSTEMS

30.3.1 Species Benefits

         30.3.1.1 Food
         30.3.1.2 Medical Importance
        30.3.1.3 Industrial Products
         30.3.1.4 Tourism and Recreation
         30.3.1.5 Ecological Importance

30.3.2 Ecosystem Services

30.4 REDUCING THE LOSS OF SPECIES AND ECOSYSTEMS

30.4.1 Assessing the Damage

30.5 MANAGING SPECIES AND ECOSYSTEMS

30.5.1 Ex Situ Management of Species
30.5.2 Saving Species and Ecosystems in the Wild