Fundamentals of the Physical Environment has established itself as a highly-respected core introductory textbook for students of physical geography and environmental sciences. The third edition of this popular textbook has been extensively revised to incorporate current thinking and knowledge in the area of physical geography and the environment whilst retaining its basic structure. A new example - Upper Wharfdale - has been taken as the theme of Chapter 1 to illustrate new ideas and concepts that can be used in the study of the environment. A systems approach is taken to demonstrate how the various factors operating in the landscape can interact and how it can be used for us to decipher them. The nature of Earth and its oceans, the main processes of geomorphology and elements of ecosystems (soils and vegetation) are all explained. Since the second edition was published, uncertainties about the nature and extent of global climate and environmental change have become clarified. Scientific evidence now points more reliably to patterns and rates of change exceeding earlier forecasts.
There is now a more urgent need to understand the nature of global physical environments and their interactions with human societies. The chapter on climate change has been largely rewritten to reflect these rapidly changing ideas and information available. The potential impacts on all other aspects of the natural environment are considered in other chapters, including the final section involving chapters on particularly sensitive environments such as polar regions, mountains and drylands. The structure of the book follows that of previous editions but chapters are arranged within new sections entitled Fundamentals, Atmosphere, Geosphere, Biosphere and Environments. New illustrations and diagrams have been added in most chapters. Colour has been added in the diagrams to enhance the information displayed. This is particularly useful in maps where tonal variations give a clearer idea of the patterns indicated. Boxes are used extensively to indicate areas of special interest and illustrate key processes, new concepts, developments, applications or human impacts.
Specific features include: * A clearly structured and accessibly written text * Superb illustrations: 439 figures, 153 black and white photos, 24 colour plates * Glossary of terms and key words highlighted throughout the text * Global case studies with key linked research references * Annotated and updated further reading lists * Chapter summaries and key points boxes * Relevant web resources * Online diagrams importable into Powerpoint for overheads