Spatial analysis of all the physical elements and processes that make up the environment: energy, air, water, weather, climate, landforms, soils, animals, plants, microorganisms, and the Earth itself
System (a useful general definition for our purpose): any ordered, interrelated set of things and their attributes linked by flows of energy and matter, as distinct from the surrounding environment outside the system.
Model: simplified, idealized representation of part of the real world.
EX: Cartoon, equation, model
Models of the Earth’s interrelated systems atmosphere hydrosphere lithosphere biosphere
Latitude: angular distance north or south of the equator.
Parallel: conceptual line connecting all points of same latitude.
Measured in degrees, minutes, seconds (DMS) or decimal degrees (DD)
Longitude: angular distance east or west of a point on Earth’s surface Meridian: conceptual line connecting all points of the same longitude that intersect at the poles
Arbitrary Prime Meridian: Greenwich, England = 0° longitude
International Date Line = 180° east or west of Prime Meridian
Global Positioning System: • Created by US DOD • 24-32 medium earth orbit satellites transmit long wavelength signals • time delays between transmission and reception of GPS signals give the distance to each satellite • microwaves carry location data for satellite locations • 2-dimensional position requires triangulation using 3 signals
Clock time: • One Earth day is a o 360° revolution that today takes 24 hours o 360°/24 = 15° per hour o ‘time zone’ of 1 hour spans 15° longitude o lines are distorted by political boundaries
Map: a generalized view of an area, usually some portion of the Earth’s surface as seen from above and greatly reduced in size. Thus, it is a spatial model and a fundamental tool in earth science and geography.
Scale: unitless ratio of the image on a map to the real world
- Relates a unit on the map to the same unit on the ground
A globe is the only model that retains true:
• distance • direction • area • shape• proximity
Different projections can preserve different spatial qualities
Distance: equidistant projections accurately show distance
Direction: azimuthal projections preserve direction (angle from a point to another point)
Area: equal area projections preserve the same proportional relationship to the real areas they represent
Shape: conformal projections have a map scale is the same in any direction (meridians and parallels intersect at right angles)
Proximity: proximal projections preserve the relationship between a distance on a map and the same distance on the Earth.
Mercator (cylindrical conformal): Shapes are preserved but high latitude regions are very distorted
Albers Equal Area (conic): Areas are accurate but shapes are distorted
REMOTE SENSING: Satellite, aircraft, ground-based sensors that monitor Earth Systems
Two Main Types
Passive Remote Sensing: records the character of radiated energy from the earth's surface.
Active Remote Sensing: directs a beam of energy (e.g. long radar waves) at the earth and analyze the energy reflected back (backscatter).
GRACE = Gravity Recovery And Climate Experiment
GEOGRAPHIC INFORMATION SYSTEMS and SCIENCE (GIS)
Data processing tool for the storage, manipulation, analysis, and displaying of spatially-explicit data.
Fusion: abundant H atoms (74% by mass) fuse to form He (24%) and huge amounts of energy at the expense of solar mass.
Sunspots: caused by magnetic storms (intense magnetic activity) that give rise to strong heating…