Modern astronomy basically begins with the re-emergence of the heliocentric view of the universe by Copernicus. Who were the four other major contributors to the development of modern astronomy after Copernicus? Explain what those contributions were. Finally, why did it take so long for the geocentric view of the universe to be overthrown and what does that tell us about scientific research and our society, even today?
Explain the relationship of geography to other scientific disciplines. What is a good definition for geography or the geosciences in general? What are the strengths and weaknesses of geography as a discipline and how do you think that has influenced its development, or lack thereof?
Weather and climate are separate, but related, terms. Provide a definition of each and then give an example of a concept related to both weather and climate. Additionally, since they are important issues when dealing with the subject of climate today, what is the greenhouse effect and global warming? Are they the same thing? If not, how are they different? What influence would global warming have on “nature” and our lives?
Explain the pressure gradient force, the Coriolis Effect and the frictional force and their effects on the direction and speed of air at the surface and aloft in the atmosphere. Describe the wind and pressure systems (surface and aloft) that exist in the zone from the Equator to the North Pole in the Northern Hemisphere. There is a close relationship between atmospheric pressure patterns, wind zones and precipitation patterns. The global map of total annual rainfall shows great differences in precipitation received from place to place. Using at least 3 reasons, explain why this is so.
Compare/contrast the Mediterranean (Csa) climate found along the coast of southern California and the humid subtropical (Cfa) climate found in South Carolina. Considering that comparison, also explain why the western United States has dramatically different climates from the eastern United States. An important consideration when considering climate and climatic change today is the role of El Nino. Explain the ocean/atmosphere changes that take during an El Nino/ENSO cycle and the effects these changes have on our lives and societies.
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