Learning outcomes of the course unit
The course provides knowledge useful for understanding the phenomena that develop in the natural environment and to interpret the main landforms. The course includes main topics of astronomy, meteorology and geomorphology closely related and useful for the student to correctly interpret natural phenomena. The topographic map is an important tool for the interpretation of the landscape and essential to recognize the main geomorphological processes.
Course contents summary
The first part of the course provides knowledge about the main astronomical motions of the Earth and consequent illumination of the globe. The second part describes the main characteristics of the atmosphere and meteorological phenomena. The third part concerns the distribution and classification of climates on Earth. The fourth part deals with main morphologies of the Earth surface. Finally, the course includes a description of the criteria for implementation, interpretation and use of the topographic map.
The sun, internal structure and activity. Earth in the solar system. Keplero and Newton laws. The Earth rotation. Physical effects of the Earth rotation. The Earth revolution. Solstice and Equinox. Apparent path of the sun in the sky. The period of revolution: the year. Lengths of day and night. The twilight. The analemma. The time. Local mean time and standard time. World time zones.
Atmosphere and Hydrosphere of the Earth.
Structure of the atmosphere. Solar radiation through the atmosphere. Air temperature. Daily and seasonal variation in air temperature. Heating and cooling of sea-surface and earth- surface. Atmospheric pressure. Cyclones and anticyclones. The wind. The earth’s wind systems. The ocean waters and their circulation. Atmospheric moisture. Clouds. Forms of precipitation. Air masses. Weather fronts. Cyclones of the middle latitude. Hurricanes and tornadoes.
The world’s climates. Strahler classification and Koppen classification. Climate diagrams.
The Earth forms. Earth ellipsoids in Cartography. Map projections. The geographic grid. Triangulation and photogrammetric survey. Map scale. The geographic coordinates: latitude and longitude. The Gauss-Boaga and UTM grids. The GPS. Map symbols. Topographic contour maps. Contour lines. Earth relief features by contour lines. The Italian National and Regional Cartography. The topographic profile. Interpretation and use of topographic maps.
A.N. STRAHLER: "Geografia fisica", PICCIN, Padova (1984)
S. PEREGO: "Cartografia (Lettura delle carte topografiche)", Santa Croce (2004)
A.N. STRAHLER: "The Earth Sciences", Harper&Row, (1971)
A. STRAHLER, A. STRAHLER: “Corso di Scienze della Terra”, Zanichelli, 1998
Assessment methods and criteria
The student should have acquired the basic concepts of physical geography, understand natural, astronomical and meteorological phenomena and be able to link together such knowledge; the student would have understood the distribution of climates on Earth and be able to interpret the main landforms. The student should also have acquired the knowledge to interpret a topographical map.