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Physical Geography: Science and Systems of the Human Environment, 3rd Edition

Physical Geography: Science and Systems of the Human Environment, 3rd Edition

Alan H. Strahler

ISBN: 978-0-470-59223-6

Oct 2009

816 pages



A comprehensive fully integrated, systems-based approach to physical geography, Strahler's highly successful text is considered the standard for an undergraduate two-semester course in physical geography. The text's accurate and comprehensive coverage provides both the breadth and depth necessary to appreciate how humans are changing, and are changed by, the Earth.

Related Resources

Part I: Introduction

1:  Introducing Physical Geography

2:  Spheres, Scales, Systems, and Cycles

Part II: Weather and Climate Systems

3:  The Earth as a Rotating Planet

4:  The Global Energy System

5:  Air Temperature and Air Temperature Cycles

6:  Atmospheric Moisture and Precipitation

7:  Winds and the Global Circulation System

8:  Weather Systems

9:  The Global Scope of Climate

10: Low-Latitude Climates

11: Midlatitude and High-Latitude Climates

Part III: Systems and Cycles of the Solid Earth

12: Earth Materials and the Cycle of Rock Change

13: The Lithosphere and the Tectonic System

14: Volcanic and Tectonic Landforms

Part IV: Systems of Landform Evolution

15: Weathering and Mass Wasting

16: The Cycling of Water on the Continents

17: Fluvial Processes and Landforms

18: Landforms and Rock Structure

19: The Work of Waves and Wind

20: Glacier Systems and the Ice Age

Part V: Systems and Cycles of Soils and the Biosphere

21: Soil Systems

22: Systems and Cycles of the Biosphere

23: Biogeographical Processes

24: Global Ecosystems

Appendix 1: The Canadian System of Soil Classification

Appendix 2: Climate Definitions and Boundaries

Problem Answers


Photo Credits

Conversion Factors

Index Endpapers

  • Continued emphasis on systems and the integration of topics. Throughout, the book presents strong links among topics and concepts, which makes it easier for students to understand the inter-relatedness of the Earth’s systems.
  • New inter-chapter feature called “A Closer Look,” which enhances the coverage of a number of topics with current and relevant information for students. This material includes discussions of global change, current environmental events, and natural hazards.
  • A substantially revised Chapter 7 on Winds and Global Circulation, which more fully links surface winds to upper atmospheric circulation.
  • Expanded exercises called “Reading the Landscape” throughout the chapters. These activities help students develop the skills needed to view landscape in an informed manner. Students can observe a particular landscape and then compare their observations with those that a physical geographer would make. The identifications for these images are now found at the end of each chapter to provide more detail and expand explanations.
  • Increased coverage of biogeography throughout, including a new chapter in Part V to help clearly define biogeography.
  • A number of additional showcase art pieces. These two-page spreads group photographs and illustrations to visually communicate concepts to aid student comprehension
  • New chapter openers and part openers, which include photographs from Earth from Above, by Yann Arthus-Bertrand.
  • GeoDiscoveries multimedia, which continues to grow in resources for student learning and faculty presentation. Developed with faculty, this very robust multimedia package offers interactive resources and experiences to help students understand key concepts in physical geography. The material will be available on a CD packaged with the book and a companion website. This material will include simulations, activities, links, quizzes and exploratory modules.
  • Accuracy: This text has been praised for its accuracy in conveying key physical geography concepts to the undergraduate student. This accuracy helps students understand key concepts, which are crucial to further study in the discipline.
  • Currency: This title includes the most up-to-date information available. With the growth of remote sensing, GIS, and other geographic techniques, currency in textbooks has become increasingly important.
  • Comprehensive coverage of key concepts in Physical Geography: This is the main reason instructors continue to select Physical Geography: Science and Systems of the Human Environment as their book of choice.
  • Outstanding art program: The title includes a photographic and illustration program that is second to none. These visuals are extremely important for helping students comprehend the key scientific concepts in physical geography. Reviewers have praised the authors for their effective integration of these visuals into the text.
  • Critical thinking: The text provides the tools that students need to think critically and scientifically.