Geography Prelim Notes

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Geography Preliminary Exam Outline

20 multiple choice – skills

Short Answer Questions – Biophysical Interactions (some or all or how they integrate), population and culture integration.

Extended response – Natural resources – one or a combination of the four points

Geography Preliminary Notes

The Biophysical Environment

* The Biophysical Environment is the interaction of all abiotic and biotic elements found on the planet. * Expressed another way the BPE is made up of all the features of the physical and the built environment and how these features interrelate. * The BPE is then the interactions, which occur between the Atmosphere, Lithosphere, Biosphere and Hydrosphere.

ATMOSPHERE

* Atmosphere, mixture of gases surrounding any celestial object that has a gravitational field strong enough to prevent the gases from escaping; especially the gaseous envelope of the earth. The principal constituents of the atmosphere of the earth are nitrogen (78 percent) and oxygen (21 percent). The atmospheric gases in the remaining 1 percent are argon (0.9 percent), carbon dioxide (0.03 percent), varying amounts of water vapour, and trace amounts of hydrogen, ozone, methane, carbon monoxide, helium, neon, krypton, and xenon.

* The water-vapour content of the air varies considerably, depending on the temperature and relative humidity. With 100 percent relative humidity the water-vapour content of air varies from 190 parts per million (ppm) at -40° C to 42,000 ppm at 30° C. Minute quantities of other gases, such as ammonia, hydrogen sulphide, and oxides of sulphur and nitrogen, are temporary constituents of the atmosphere in the vicinity of volcanoes and are washed out of the air by rain or snow.

Divisions of the Atmosphere:
Without our atmosphere, there would be no life on earth. A relatively thin envelope, the atmosphere consists of layers of gases that support life can provide protection from harmful radiation.

Issues related to the Atmosphere

* Daily weather conditions, climatic conditions (seasonal/short-term/long-term/cyclical) * Global warming, Greenhouse Effect (GHE)
* Ozone depletion
* Acid rain
* Smog, photochemical smog, brown haze
* Radioactive fallout

Atmosphere Impacts

* Oxides and other pollutants added to the atmosphere by factories and automobiles have become a major concern, however, because of their damaging effects in the form of acid rain. In addition, the strong possibility exists that the steady increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide, mainly as the result of fossil-fuel combustion over the past century, may affect the earth's climate (for example enhanced Greenhouse Effect).

* Similar concerns are posed by the sharp increase in atmospheric methane. Methane levels have risen 11 per cent since 1978. About 80 per cent of the gas is produced by decomposition in rice paddies, swamps, and the intestines of grazing animals, and by tropical termites. Human activities that tend to accelerate these processes include raising more livestock and growing more rice. Besides adding to the greenhouse effect, methane reduces the volume of atmospheric hydroxyl ions, thereby curtailing the atmosphere's ability to cleanse itself of pollutants. (for example photochemical smog)

Atmosphere – Ozone Depletion
The ozone layer became a subject of concern in the early 1970s when it was found that chemicals known as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), were rising into the atmosphere in large quantities because of their use as refrigerants and as propellants in aerosol dispensers. The concern centred on the possibility that these compounds, through the action of sunlight, could chemically attack and destroy stratospheric ozone, which protects the earth's surface from excessive ultraviolet radiation.

HYDROSPHERE

* The hydrosphere refers to all liquid and frozen surface waters, groundwater held in soil and rock, and atmospheric water vapour. *...
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