Earth Systems is an introductory physical geography lab course. Earth Systems utilizes a systems approach to analyze the earth's dynamic systems: energy, atmosphere, water resources, weather and climate, tectonic processes, landforms, soil, vegetation and ecosystems. Introductory geographic concepts including absolute and relative location, spatial analysis and geographic approach are covered. Fundamentals of map reading, remote sensing and geographic information systems are included.
(A requirement that must be completed before taking this course.)
Upon successful completion of the course, the student should be able to:
- Relate systems analysis (open and closed systems and negative and positive feedback) to Earth's systems.
- Explain the geographic grid (latitude and longitude) and the time zones.
- Explain how geographic tools, such as geographic information systems and remote sensing are used in geographic analysis.
- Explain the characteristics of solar and terrestrial radiation.
- Construct a model of the layers of the atmosphere based on composition, temperature and function.
- Distinguish between natural and anthropogenic variable gases in the troposphere and stratosphere.
- Explain the interaction of solar energy with the Earth's atmosphere, including the following pathways: scattering, transmission, refraction, albedo, conduction, and convection.
- Explain the factors that result in global temperature patterns.
- Explain the following forces within the atmosphere: gravity, pressure, gradient, Coriolis, and friction.
- Relate how the unique properties of water, such as heat capacity, influence climatic patterns.
- Explain weather patterns and systems using the following weather elements: temperature, atmospheric pressure, atmospheric humidity, and winds.
- Construct a water balance equation to account for the expenditures of water supply.
- Explain the difference between weather and climate.
- Distinguish between endogenic and exogenic systems, including the driving force for each system and the speed at which these systems operate.
- Compare the origin, evolution, and spatial distribution of landforms, including landforms created by river systems, glacial, and eolian processes.
- Evaluate the principal soil formation factors, including modification of soil chemistry and texture by humans.
Currently no sections of this class are being offered.