SO286, Physical Geography

Exam 1, Spring 2007


Definitions (1 sentence)

10@ 4 points each



Short answer (3-4 sentences)

3 @ 5 points



Longer answer (short paragraph)

3 @ 10 points



Short Essay (long paragraph)

1 @ 15 points








Read the directions carefully.  You have a selection of questions for the definitions.

Quality of your answers is important.   For full credit you should use correct terminology, and show that you understand the concepts involved.


Definitions:  define 10 of the 12 terms with a concise sentence that clearly shows your understanding of the term, and why it is relevant in physical geography:  Each is worth 4 points.


1.      Artesian well

2.      Cumulous clouds:

3.      Adiabatic process:

4.      Katabatic wind:

5.      Lapse rate:

6.      Frontal precipitation:

7.      Orographic precipitation:

8.      Ozone layer:

9.      Equinox: specific dates, where is sun, how long are day/night

10.  SRTM:

11.  Heat index:

12.  Coriolis deflection:


Verify that only answered 10 of the 12 terms.  You will have to answer all the remaining questions.



Both show half the world, and you can compare how they distort distance, shape, and area.  The projection on the left is orthographic.  Note that India barely appears, and the poles also barely make an appearance.  It cannot be equal area.  The one on the right is conformal, and preserves local angles and shape.  The names and exact details are not important

(5 points) The two maps above show different views of the world.  Why are the two projections different, which is better, and why must we worry about map projections?


(5) Can you pick out the equator in satellite images of the world?  Defend you answer in terms of what you can or cannot see, and what causes this.


(5 points)  How can you relate the desert belts of the world to vertical motion of air in the atmosphere, and surface winds? 


The graphs below show precipitation and potential evapotranspiration for Silver Lake at 10,250 feet above sea level, and Boulder, Colorado, which is about thirty miles downstream at 5,430 feet of elevation.


(10 Points) These two graphs show annual water budgets for two stations which are within close proximity.  Discuss what these graphs show, and from their shapes discuss what you can infer about the climates and spatial locations of the two stations.



(10 Points) If you were at the top of the atmosphere over the equator:


o       What wavelength(s) would you see going downward toward the earth’s surface?

o       What wavelength(s) would you see coming upward going back to space, and what would have happened to the energy while it was below you in the atmosphere?

Averaged over the entire year, which would be larger, the incoming or outgoing?  Why would this be the case?






(10 points) So far we’ve discussed three ways that physical geography tells us about how we could get alternative energy sources to reduce dependence on fossil fuels.  For at least two of these alternatives that are included in the chapters we’ve covered, discuss what factors make a good location for harnessing that form of energy.  Insure that you focus on geography and why locations are either good or bad.



The climograph above shows the temperature and precipitation at a location over the course of a year.


(4) Which hemisphere is this, how could you tell, and what causes the differences between the hemispheres?



(3) What kind of air masses dominate in the winter?  Give a name and characteristics.



(3) What kind of air masses dominate in the summer?  Give a name and characteristics.


(1)               What is the a name for this pattern?


(4) What latitude do you think this station is at?  What do you say this?  The reasons are more important than a lucky (or unlucky) guess.