Physical Geography Study Guide Exam #1

four primary spheres, what are they and what are they composed of

Earth’s rotation causes the earth to be in the form of what shape (causes flattening of earth where)

type of shape/name of the shape of the earth

characteristics of Great Circles

Latitude is measured north/south of what

Longitude is measured east/west of what

how many degrees in a circle and how that applies to measuring north and south latitude (up to 90°)/east and west longitude (up to 180°)

what is the angular tilt of the Earth’s axis relative to the plane of the ecliptic

time it takes for earth to make one complete rotation

meaning of polarity of the earth and the star that earth points to

cause of Earth’s seasons

Solstices and Equinoxes—lengths of days; dates; locations of sun being directly overhead (names given to certain lines of latitude—Tropic of Capricorn, Tropic of Cancer, Equator—their degrees latitude); the extent (degrees latitude) the sun shines directly overhead  in both the northern and southern hemispheres

advantages/disadvantages of Globes

can maps depict a location as perfectly as a globe

understand map scale

problems with conformal and equivalent map projections—what is the distortion in each

name of map projection typically used for navigation, is it conformal or equivalent.

be familiar with isoline maps—define and which type is used to display elevation

GPS units receive data from what source

orthophoto images/maps—what are they produced from; do they or do they not contain distortion

which remotely sensed imagery is best for use at night (hint: it can detect heat signatures)

characteristic of atmosphere—main (permanent) gases and variable gases—proportion/percentage of nitrogen, oxygen, and carbon dioxide (yes, you need to know the actual percentage number)

short or long wave radiation emits from the sun/short or long wave radiation emits from the earth (MANY QUESTIONS ON EXAM RELATE TO THIS)

greenhouse gases of water vapor and carbon dioxide, absorb mainly what type of radiation (hint: shortwave radiation or longwave radiation)

know the characteristics of the first two thermal layers (the layer lying next to the earth and then the next layer up; know which layer has turbulence and where weather occurs; which layer contains the ozone layer; what happens to temperatures in both layers as elevation increases

characteristic of air pressure, especially when increasing in altitude—does it increase or decrease

understand the density or mass of the atmosphere—where is most of the mass

gases in the atmosphere (ozone, carbon dioxide, water vapor) absorb what type of radiation, i.e.) ultraviolet radiation (which is shortwave), shortwave radiation, or longwave radiation

understand changes in atmospheric gases and particulates—human inputs (pollution), natural inputs, and the long-term climate change perspective

difference between weather and climate

know list of elements of weather and climate

orographic precipitation—which side of mountain receives most rain; know difference between windward and leeward side of mountain

warm and cold ocean currents—located on which side of continents?

know list of controls of weather and climate; which control is the main factor in determining average temperature on earth?

dominate surface wind flow direction in the mid-latitudes (north, south, east, or west)

understand importance of solar energy as the fuel to the earth’s atmospheric processes

what is insolation

characteristic of hot objects and the radiation in shortwave or longwave; characteristic of cooler objects and the radiation of shortwave or longwave

understand kinetic energy and temperature (what is temperature actually measuring)

what is a black body

earth’s atmosphere is heated mostly from what source

understand absorption, reflection, scattering, transmission

more efficient absorbers—light or dark colors?

what is albedo

understand conduction, convection, advection

Greenhouse Effect—be sure to understand the process and which type of radiation is absorbed (longwave or shortwave) and what main gases do the absorbing

understand adiabatic process of heating and cooling (expansion and contraction of air molecules)

understand latent heat, evaporation/condensation

of all controls of weather and climate, which is the main control factor of annual average temperature on earth as a whole

land and water temperature contrasts and how that effects maritime locations and continental locations

in U.S. (not counting Hawaii), which region/area gets on average the highest amount of daily insolation

how angle of incidence and amount of solar insolation received are related; understand what zones on earth receive direct angle of sun (some time during the year the sun is directly overhead) and which areas receive lower angles of the sun (no time during the year is the sun directly overhead)

understand the characteristics of the specific heat of water as compared to land

the surface currents in the ocean are set in motion by what

understand the difference in yearly temperature ranges between locations under the continental effect as compared to areas located near large bodies of water

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