Geosystems: An Introduction to Physical Geography (8th Edition)

Geosystems: An Introduction to Physical Geography (8th Edition)
  • Author: Robert W. Christopherson
    Publisher: Pearson
    Genres: Mathematics
    Publish Date: January 8, 2011
    ISBN-10: 0321706226
    Pages: 688
    File Type: PDF
    Language: English

Book Preface

Geosystems, An Introduction to Physical Geography. This edition builds on the widespread success of the first seven editions, as well as the companion texts, Elemental Geosystems, now in its sixth edition, and Geosystems, Canadian Edition, Second Edition. Students and teachers appreciate the systems organization, scientific accuracy, integration of figures and text, clarity of the summary and review sections, and overall relevancy. Geosystems continues to evolve with the geospatial sciences, presenting the latest science and geophysical events, in student-friendly language that tells a story.

The goal of physical geography is to explain the spatial dimension of Earth’s dynamic systems—its energy, air, water, weather, climate, tectonics, landforms, rocks, soils, plants, ecosystems, and biomes. Understanding human- Earth relations is part of the challenge of physical geography— to create a holistic (or complete) view of the planet and its inhabitants.Welcome to physical geography!

New to the Eighth Edition
Nearly every page of Geosystems’ Eighth Edition contains updated material, new features, and new content in text and figures—far too many to list here. See the visual Walkthrough of new features at the end of this Preface. Following is a sampling of the Eighth Edition’s features:

■ Many figures are new or recast to improve student learning. There are more than 600 new photos and images bringing real-world scenes into the classroom. Our photo and remote-sensing program exceeds 750 items, integrated throughout the text.
■ The 4 Part Openers and 21 Chapter Openers are redesigned with 24 new photos, the only exception being Chapter 12, with its new integrated map of the ocean floor. Each of these four parts, described on the back cover, features a new systems schematic that portrays the organization of the content; check these out on pages 36, 160, 294, and 524.
■ Key Learning Concepts appear at the outset of each chapter, many rewritten for clarity. Each chapter concludes with a Key Learning Concepts Review, which summarizes the chapter using the opening objectives. New to this edition are integrated representative figures, photos, illustrations, and images highlighting each concept in the review.
■ New to each chapter is an opening case study feature, Geosystems Now. These original, unique essays help focus interest on the chapter content. Geosystems Now topics for each chapter include:

1. Where Is Four Corners, Exactly?
2. Chasing the Subsolar Point
3. Humans Help Define the Atmosphere
4. Albedo Impacts, a Limit on Future Arctic Shipping
5. Temperature Change Affects St. Kilda’s Sheep
6. Ocean Currents Bring Invasive Species
7. Earth’s Lakes Provide an Important Warming Signal
8. The Front Lines of Intense Weather
9. Water Budgets, Climate Change, and the Southwest
10. A Look at Puerto Rico’s Climate at a Larger Scale
11. Earth’s Migrating Magnetic Poles
12. The San Jacinto Fault Connection
13. Human-Caused Mass Movement at the Kingston Steam Plant,Tennessee
14. Removing Dams and Restoring Salmon on the Elwha River,Washington
15. Increasing Desertification and Political Action—A Global Environmental Issue
16. What Once Was Bayou Lafourche
17. Ice Shelves and Tidewater Glaciers Give Way to Warming
18. High Latitude Soils Emit Greenhouse Gases
19. Species’ Distributions Shift with Climate Change
20. Invasive Species Arrive at Tristan da Cunha
21. Seeing Earth and Ourselves from Space Be sure to read these as you begin each chapter. For instance, “Ocean Currents Bring Invasive Species,” in Chapter
6, tracks an oil-drilling platform left adrift in a storm in the South Atlantic Ocean. Months later the platform ran aground in Tristan da Cunha.The Geosystems Now in Chapter 20 picks up the story with “Invasive Species Arrive at Tristan da Cunha.” The rig was contaminated with non-native species, introducing them to fragile Tristanian marine ecosystems. The Geosystems approach involves such connections and linkages across the chapters and among Earth systems.

■ New within each chapter are Geo Reports, placed along the bottom of pages. Geo Reports offer facts, events related to the discussion in the chapter, student action items, and new sources of information, among other features. There are 78 Geo Reports throughout the book, with topics such as: water in the Solar System, why we always see the same side of the Moon, measuring Earth’s rotation, polar region warming, Iceland volcanic ash and aircraft flights, iceberg hazards, tornado and tropical storm records, how water is measured, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the Nobel Prize, Earth’s weight, how large earthquakes affect the entire Earth system, what a bayou is, a saltier Mediterranean Sea, killer waves, high-latitude ice losses, soil losses, ongoing extinction rates, and sources of food and medicine in the rain forest, among many others.

■ New to this edition and placed throughout the chapters are 53 carefully crafted Critical Thinking items to take you to the next level of learning, offering opportunities to check conceptual understanding and placing you in charge of further inquiry.Topics include finding your location, tracking seasonal change, analyzing your ozone column, assembling your physical geography profile, measuring wind through observation, following clouds, assessing hazard perception, finding your climate, reducing climate forcing, touring the ocean floor, looking at landslide potential, assessing the post- Katrina Gulf Coast, relating to rising sea levels, living at the polar station, observing ecosystem disturbances, and tracking shifting climates, among others. These bring relevancy to learning physical geography.

■ Placed at the end of the text for each chapter is a new Geosystems Connection feature. In a brief paragraph, we review what we covered in the chapter and what is about to unfold in the next chapter, “bridging” from one chapter to the next. The final Geosystems Connection in Chapter 21 bridges to what comes next beyond this course.

■ Climate change science is well established and affects systems in every chapter of Geosystems. Part of this revision effort further updates our extensive climate change coverage throughout the chapters.We present a new section on “Reasons for Concern” to organize the climate discussion. The record year of warmth for land-surface temperatures was 2005, with 2007 and 2009 close behind. Through August 2010, new monthly temperature records for land and ocean were set. For the Southern Hemisphere, 2009 was the warmest in the modern record. The decade of 2001–2010 was the warmest decade in the entire record. As an integrative spatial science, physical geography is well equipped to identify and analyze related impacts to Earth’s systems. Geosystems presents all the aspects of climate change and has done so since its first edition in 1992.

■ Geosystems continues to embed Internet URLs within the text. More than 200 appear in this edition; many are new links, and all are revised and checked. These allow you to pursue topics of interest in greater depth or to obtain the latest information about weather and climate, tectonic events, floods, and the myriad other subjects covered in the book.

■ New to this edition is MasteringGeography™. Used by over 1 million science students each year, the Mastering platform is the most effective and widely used online homework, tutorial, and assessment system for the sciences. Geosystems is supported by MasteringGeography™ assignable activities that include geoscience animations, Encounter Geosystems Google Earth™ multimedia, Thinking Spatially and Data Analysis; there are figure labeling tasks followed by data analysis tasks, and MapMaster™ interactive maps, as well as a robust student Study Area with many digital resources, including a Pearson eText version of Geosystems.Available at www.

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