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What Is Physical Geography The Study Of

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What Is The Role Of Physical Geography In A Dynamic World Experiencing Unprecedented Changes

Physical & Human Geography – GEOGRAPHY BASICS

Info: 2657 words Dissertation 9th Dec 2019

An idea whose time has come!: What is the role of physical geography in a dynamic world experiencing unprecedented changes?


The statement An idea whose time has come! is an important statement. Physical geography assists us in how we examine our environment, land forms and weather patterns, to name a few, as well as how humans interact with the physical environment. However, to properly understand the continued importance of physical geography in the modern world, we must also examine the historical origins of physical geography and its ever-evolving trajectory. It is of much academic debate about whether or not the world is entering the Anthropocene age due to the human activity continually changing the physical environment. This essay will examine the origins of physical geography, how physical geography has developed over time, interrelationships between physical and human geography, whether or not we are entering Anthropocene era and the future of physical geography. It will also be argued within this essay that physical geography was and still is an important discipline that continues to have a relevance in the modern world and will continue to do so moving deeper into the twenty-first century.

The origins of physical geography

How physical geography has developed over time

Are we entering the Anthropocene age?

Physical & Human Geography

Physical Geography is the study of the science of spaces it examines the structures of the world around us- both natural and man-made- as well as the formative processes of these. Human Geography is concerned with the spatial patterns of humans and human activity over spaces and places. This program connects these two aspects of Geography to give students a complex understanding of the world around us, explain spatial phenomena, and help them to apply spatial theories and techniques in a variety of real-life situations. The Major Program in Physical and Human Geography examines:

  • The factors affecting economic development
  • Social concerns around the natural environment
  • Land use policies and sustainability
  • Factors in the physical environment such as geology, climate, water, and soil
  • Biodiversity and sustainability practices
  • Policies and laws affecting the environment, and more.

Equipped For Work Life

When you graduate you will be well prepared for working life, both in Sweden and abroad. Our study programs prepare students for a diverse range of science and non-science careers. You can choose to do a traineeship, as an optional course within your study programme, that can lead to employment after graduation.

During your studies you can take part in career seminars and other activities that can be useful in finding a job in:

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Keeping Up With The Journal Literature

Want an easy way to keep up with the journal literature in Physical Geography? And you use a mobile device? You can install the BrowZine app and create a custom Bookshelf of your favorite journal titles. Then you will get the Table of Contents of your favorite journals automatically delivered to you when they become available. Once you have the ToC’s you can download and read the articles you want.

You can get the app from the App Store or Google Play.

Don’t own or use a mobile device? You can still use BrowZine! It’s now available in a web version. You can get to it here. The web version works the same way as the app version. Find the journals you like, create a custom Bookshelf, get ToCs and read the articles you want.

Skills Obtained When Studying Physical Geography


Below are some of the common skills that you will gain upon completion of your course

  • Analysing different types of data and identify patterns and implications
  • Field work, mapping and sample analysis
  • Data collection, such as survey design and interpretation
  • Lab-based and technical skills such as mathematical modelling

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Key Takeaways: Physical Geography

  • Physical geography is the study of our planet and its systems .
  • Understanding the climate and how it’s changing affect people now and can help plan for the future.
  • Because the study of Earth is vast, numerous sub-branches of physical geography specialize in different areas, from the upper limits of the sky to the bottom of the ocean.

In contrast, cultural or human geography spends time studying why people locate where they do and how they adapt to and change the landscape in which they live. Someone studying cultural geography might also research how languages, religion, and other aspects of culture develop where people live how those aspects are transmitted to others as people move or how cultures change because of where they move.

Why Study Physical Geography

Ever wanted to know the how the land was formed? How those cool mountains came to be? Physical geography will tell you that and more.

Always thought that nature was majestic? Want to study all about the land? How the weather has created such beautiful erosion patterns on the rocks? Have a strong desire to make a difference in the world? Then physical geography is the career for you.

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Editorial: Physical Geography Beyond The 20th Century

Morgan De DapperPDF

1In his book The Nature of Physical Geography, published in 1985, Ken Gregory wrote in the preface: Physical geography is now poised for great development in view of the focus of recent works and research and the advent of new technology including the microcomputer, electronic instrumentation and enhanced remote sensing .

2Indeed, during the last twenty years we saw a growing number of books and articles in which physical geographers direct their attention definitively to new subjects such as experimental geomorphology or the use of advanced techniques such as stable isotopes. Moreover, an increasing number of physical geographers were contributing in interdisciplinary endeavour, producing works to which scientists, covering different specialisms inside and outside the Earth sciences, contribute.

3Simultaneously new technology, such as the microchip and the microcomputer, offered enormous strides in acquisition and analysis of data on the physical environment.

4Remote sensing provides inputs to physical geography since the late 1960s. However, new generations of satellites offering greater resolution, using a wider extent of the electromagnetic spectrum and affording repeated coverage over time spans of a few weeks, allowed to largely complement and even replace the classic field surveys.

Study Of Physical Geography

Physical Geography

Location: The way that geographers locate places on the earth is through two basic types of lines. The lines of latitude are also known as parallels that emanate from the equator. It is zero degrees and moves parallel towards the north pole or the South Pol. Any place can be located north or south of the equator between 0 and 90 degrees. Longitude, on the other hand, breaks up the planet in a circular way.

There is one meridian called the prime meridian, which is designated as zero. And it runs between the North Pole and the equator, bisecting Greenwich, England. There is another line that is 180 degrees. Any place on the planet is either east or west of that prime meridian. And they meet together at a hundred and eighty degrees, on the other side of the planet, where have the International Date Line. Time zones are based on lines of longitude. About every 15 degrees of longitude produces a new time zone.

Maps: Map scale determines how big a map is compared to the real world. There are a couple of ways to represent scale. The one that most of us prefer and are used to is the graphic scale. It shows how many miles an inch covers. Geographers tend to use a fractional scale instead, which shows what anything on the map represents in the real world. Maps are also projected from a spherical surface onto a flat surface, which often distorts size.

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What Is Physical Geography

  • M.A., Geography, California State University – Northridge
  • B.A., Geography, University of California – Davis

The vast discipline of geography is divided into two major branches: 1) physical geography and 2) cultural or human geography. Physical geography encompasses the geographic tradition known as the Earth sciences tradition. Physical geographers look at the landscapes, surface processes, and climate of the earthall of the activity found in the four spheres of our planet.

Branches Of Physical Geography

Physical geography is divided into several branches or related fields, as follows:

Geomorphology: Geomorphology is the study of landforms landscapes and the processes that create them. There are plenty of variations on that definition in the literature. The study of great landscapes and applying that study to practical needs, especially in global change. So its easy to identify many ways in which geomorphology is essential. For example, understanding landscapes helps us to enjoy them more to predict and to identify. Structural geomorphology is geological controls strongly influence landscapes or process.

Pedology: Pedology is the study of soil types and how they form. Pedologists have helped with the extensive soil conservation efforts that have been in place for more than a century. The rare combination of glaciers and volcanoes not only influences the land but also influences the water.

Glaciology: It is the scientific study of glaciers and their effects on the landscape.

Climatology: It is a collective state of the atmosphere science like weather forecast, temperature, wind, relative humidity, barometric pressure, etc. Climatology is taking a look at weather over a long period. Climate and weather are energy in one form or another. The source of energy is solar radiation.

Oceanography: Science is the study of the oceans, which includes the actual oceans themselves. It is the concern with coastal environments and organisms that live inside of them.

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Geography As A Science

Geography is the spatial study of the earths physical and cultural environments. Geographers study the earths physical characteristics, its inhabitants and cultures, phenomena such as climate, and the earths place within the universe. Geography also examines the spatial relationships between all physical and cultural phenomena in the world. Furthermore, geographers also look at how the earth, its climate, and its landscapes are changing due to cultural intervention. Geography is a much broader field than many people realize. Most people think of area studies as the whole of geography. In reality, geography is the study of the earth, including how human activity has changed it. Geography involves studies that are much broader than merely understanding the shape of the earths landforms. Physical geography involves all the planets physical systems. Human geography incorporates studies of human culture, spatial relationships, interactions between humans and the environment, and many other research areas that involve the different subspecialties of geography. Students interested in a career in geography would be well served to learn geospatial techniques and gain skills and experience in GIS and remote sensing, as they are the areas within geography where employment opportunities have grown the most over the past few decades.

Physical Geography And Physical Systems

Physical and Human Geography

As a consequence of these changes, physical geography moved away from inductive accounts of environments and their origins and toward analysis of physical systems and processes. Interest in the physiography of the Earths surface was replaced by research on how the environment works.

There were three other main groups of physical geographers, two of whose work was also much influenced by the concepts of evolution. Workers in biogeography studied plants and, to a lesser extent, animals. The geography of plants reflects environmental conditions, especially climate and soils biogeographical regions are characterized by those conditions and their floral assemblages, which produce patterns based on latitude and elevation. It was argued that those assemblages evolve toward climaxcommunities. Whatever specific vegetation types initially occupy an area, competition between plants for available resources will lead to those most suited to the prevailing conditions eventually becoming dominant. Such conditions may change and a new cycle be initiated because of either short-term climatic fluctuations or human-induced environmental changes.

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Career Paths In Physical Geography

If you want to make a difference to the world, choosing to study geography is a good place to start. Geography careers offer graduates a multitude of opportunities to develop solutions to some of the most pressing problems for modern society, such as climate change, natural disasters, overpopulation, urban expansion and even multicultural integration. Weve shortlisted some of the more popular career options for you here:

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Connecting With Space And Place

Geography is the study of places and the relationships between people and their environments. Geographers explore both the physical properties of Earths surface and the human societies spread across it. They also examine how human culture interacts with the natural environment and the way that locations and places can have an impact on people. Geography seeks to understand where things are found, why they are there, and how they develop and change over time.

Careers In Geography And Gis

Why study Geography at Birmingham?

Geography is not a discipline of endlessly memorizing capitals, countries, rivers, mountain ranges, and more. The discipline is about scientifically analyzing the spatial and temporal distribution, connections, and patterns of the physical and cultural environments we live within.

The following information on careers in geography is from the website of the Association of American Geographers , which is a resource for those interested in pursuing employment in the field of geography.

Many occupations require knowledge of and skills in geography. Geographers work in many different areas, such as environmental management, education, disaster response, city and county planning, community development, and more. Geography is an interdisciplinary field that offers diverse career opportunities.

Many geographers pursue rewarding careers in business local, state, or federal government agencies, nonprofit organizations and schools. Geographers with graduate degrees may become educators in higher education .

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Fields Of Physical Geography

  • Geomorphology is the science concerned with understanding the surface of the Earth and the processes by which it is shaped, both at the present as well as in the past. Geomorphology as a field has several sub-fields that deal with the specific landforms of various environments e.g. desert geomorphology and fluvial geomorphology, however, these sub-fields are united by the core processes which cause them mainly tectonic or climatic processes. Geomorphology seeks to understand landform history and dynamics, and predict future changes through a combination of field observation, physical experiment, and numerical modeling . Early studies in geomorphology are the foundation for pedology, one of two main branches of soil science.
  • Glaciology is the study of glaciers and ice sheets, or more commonly the cryosphere or ice and phenomena that involve ice. Glaciology groups the latter as continental glaciers and the former as alpine glaciers. Although, research in the areas are similar with research undertaken into both the dynamics of ice sheets and glaciers the latter tends to be concerned with the interaction of ice sheets with the present climate and the latter with the impact of glaciers on the landscape. Glaciology also has a vast array of sub-fields examining the factors and processes involved in ice sheets and glaciers e.g. snow hydrology and glacial geology.

Difference Between Human Geography And Physical Geography

Physical and Human Geography is the principal branches of Geographical sciences.

Physical geography is what we are more familiar with as it involves earths land areas, bodies of water, plant life etc. Physical geographers help in making decisions about managing different types of resources such as water, forests and land.

Human geography is more about peoples religion, culture and way of life. Human geographers aid in planning cities and the formulation of international business models.

This article will give details about the key differences between Physical Geography and Human Geography as both are important concepts in the geography segment of the IAS Exam.

Aspirants can find more Difference Between Articles, by visiting the linked page

The differences between Physical Geography and Human Geography is given in the table below

Difference Between Physical Geography and Human Geography

The concepts of physical geography come under the umbrella segment of Geography in the UPSC Exams, while some aspects of human geography overlap with the Art and Culture segment. The following links will help in preparing for both the sections:

Difference Between Human Geography and Physical Geography-

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Why Physical Geography Is Important

Knowing about the physical geography of Earth is important for every serious student studying the planet because the natural processes of Earth affect the distribution of resources and the conditions of the human settlement. Anyone studying processes involving Earth and its processes is working within the confines of its physical geography. These natural processes have resulted in a plethora of varied effects on human populations throughout the millennia.

Scope Of Physical Geography :

Unit 0 introduction to geography d

The scope of physical geography includes the study of earth relief features and physical features, such as plains, mountains, hills, etc.

The emergence of areas that branches into physical geography such as Geomorphology, Climatology, Oceanography, etc made the scope of physical geography quite extensive. The subject matter of all branches is considered as the scope of physical geography.

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