About GEOG 040 A

Introduction to the fundamentals of weather, climate, landform evolution, and plant distribution using a systems approach. Focus on variation in processes over space and time.


1st year & sophomores only during 1st week of registration; Juniors and seniors register in second week; Junior and senior GEOG majors contact instructor; Fulfills natural science non-lab requirements; Open to Degree and CDE students

Section Description

Weather, Climate and Landscapes is an introduction to physical geography, the study of the earth’s atmosphere, weather and climate, water resources, landforms and ecosystems. In this course, we will explore the composition and function of the atmosphere, the flow of energy and mass between the atmosphere, hydrosphere, cryosphere, biosphere and lithosphere, and the resulting climate patterns. We will explore how evidence of past climate can tell us about our current and future world. We will also examine how weather and climate influence those processes which shape the surface of the earth and influence ecosystems. Themes of global climate change and environmental change are explored in each unit. Finally, we will seek to understand how these processes affect and are affected by human activity. This course fulfills a three credit science distribution requirement (no lab) in the College of Arts and Sciences. There are no prerequisites for this course. It also satisfies a major requirements for Geography and for the Global Climate and Environmental Change concentration in Environmental Sciences and is a pre-requisite for GEOG 140, 143, 148, 153, 244 and 246.

Section Expectation

Course Learning Goals 1. Students will be able to describe key system components within the atmosphere, hydrosphere, cryosphere and biosphere and explain how processes (comprised of these component) operate within these systems (comprehension). 2. Students will be able to construct and apply conceptual and mathematical models illustrating earth’s processes, including the flow of energy and mass within and between the atmosphere, hydrosphere, cryosphere and biosphere, and at different scales. (application) 3. Students will apply these models within the context of current and future global climate and environmental change to predict/hypothesize future outcomes. (application, analysis) 4. Students will be able to synthesize knowledge of atmosphere, hydrosphere, cryosphere and/or biosphere components and processes to interpret and explain the spatial distribution of environmental variables on the earth’s surface. (comprehension, application, synthesis) 5. Students will be able to illustrate, analyze and interpret environmental science data. (application, analysis, evaluation)


Graded Work Grades in the course will be based on in-class activities, in-class participation, homework exercises, and exams as follows: In-class exercises (20%) In-class exercises will be assigned regularly (roughly once per week, ~10 assignments) during the semester. Students will work on and complete the exercises in small groups . These exercises are opportunities to review class material and practice concepts that will be on homework and exams. Participation (5%) Participation credit will be given to students who attend and participate in the weekly class sessions. Homework exercises (25%) Regular weekly homework exercises are designed to keep you current with lecture material and the text and to encourage you to participate in the weekly synchronous sessions. Ten homework exercises will be posted on Blackboard for you to download, complete and turn in. Each homework assignment will help you to build your skills in making basic calculations, interpreting graphs and maps and synthesizing lecture and reading concepts. Exams (50%) There will be three exams - Exam 1 (15%), Exam 2 (15%) and the Final Exam (20%). All exams will cover material in the course modules, including lectures, synchronous exercises, assignments, readings and videos. Review questions will be made available on BB one week prior to each exam and a one-hour, optional exam review session will be held on the Tuesday or Thursday prior to the exam.

Course Dates



Innovation Hall E105 (View Campus Map)


to on Tuesday and Thursday

Important Dates

Note: These dates may change before registration begins.

Note: These dates may not be accurate for select courses during the Summer Session.

Last Day to Add
Last Day to Drop
Last Day to Withdraw with 50% Refund
Last Day to Withdraw with 25% Refund
Last Day to Withdraw


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