Spring 2006


Instructor: Andrei G. Lapenas

Department of Geography and Planning

Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences

Arts and Sciences, Room 229


Office hours: Monday: 10:00 -12:00 am, Thursday: 3:00 - 5:00 pm

CLASS MEETS: MW: 5:45-7:05 pm Room LC 23

INTRODUCTION TO PHYSICAL ENVIRONMENT is a basic course that provides an understanding of our current view of the Earth as an integrated system involving dynamic interactions among the atmosphere, oceans, solid earth, and life. Emphasis is placed on how Earth's climate system work at the present time, how it evolved in the past, and predictions for the future. The subject matter includes new observations of the global systems from space; the circulation of the oceans and atmosphere, cycles of elements essential for life; the co-evolution of climate and life on earth; current problems, e.g. the greenhouse effect from increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide, deforestation, and depletion of the ozone layer.

COURSE OBJECTIVES: The aim of the course is to give students an understanding and appreciation of the new view of the Earth as an integrated system. This requires a survey of the dynamics and interactions of the major Earth systems including the atmosphere, oceans, solid earth, and life.

REQUESTED BOOK: Geosystems: An Introduction to Physical Geography: by Robert W. Christopherson

Publisher Prentice Hall
Edition 6

GRADES: your final average is FA = (1/4)(G1 + G2 + G3 + Gf) + E, where G1, G2, G3 and Gf are the grades on the first three exams and the final. E- extra points, the maximum of 10 extra points can be awarded through the active participation in discussions.  The grading on all examinations: >90= A, 80-89=B, 70-79=C, 60-69=D, 60-0=F.

Course Calendar




January 23-

February 13


Essentials of Geography (Chapters 1-6)

First Exam February 13th

If you have any questions regarding your grade, please, make an appointment to see my TA Mr. Benjamin Anderson (

(Arts & Sciences Room 213

Office hours: Tuesday & Thursday  11:45 a.m. to 12:45 p.m.)



February 15


Geographic Information Systems (GIS)


February 15-

March 13



The Water, weather, and Climate Systems (Chapters 7- 10)



Second Exam- March 13th


 March 15-

April 19



The Earth-Atmosphere Interface (Chapters 11-17)



Third Exam April 19th


April 24 -May 8



Soils, Ecosystems, and Biomes (Chapters 18-21)


 May 15  



Final Exam (5:45-7:05 pm, May 15) (Chapters 18-21)





Benjamin W. Anderson []