Portal:Geography
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Portal:Geography

The Geography Portal


Geography is the science that studies the lands, the features, the inhabitants, and the phenomena of the Earth. A literal translation would be "to describe or write about the Earth". The first person to use the word "geography" was Eratosthenes (276-194 BC). Four historical traditions in geographical research are the spatial analysis of the natural and the human phenomena (geography as the study of distribution), the area studies (places and regions), the study of the human-land relationship, and research in the Earth sciences. Modern geography is an all-encompassing discipline that foremost seeks to understand the Earth and all of its human and natural complexities--not merely where objects are, but how they have changed and come to be. Geography has been called "the world discipline" and "the bridge between the human and the physical science". Geography is divided into two main branches: human geography and physical geography.

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Global warming
Global warming is the increase in the average temperature of the Earth's atmosphere and oceans that has been observed in recent decades. The scientific opinion on climate change is that much of the recent change may be attributed to human activities. Carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases released by the burning of fossil fuels, land clearing, agriculture, among other human activities, are the primary sources of the human-induced component of warming. Observational sensitivity studies and climate models referenced by the IPCC predict that global temperatures may increase by between 1.4 and 5.8 °C between 1990 and 2100. An increase in global temperatures can in turn cause other changes, including rises in sea level and changes in the amount and pattern of precipitation. These changes may increase the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events, such as tropical cyclones or floods. There are a few scientists who contest the view about attribution of recent warming to human activity. Uncertainties exist regarding how much climate change should be expected in the future, and there is a hotly contested political and public debate over attempts to reduce or reverse future warming, and how to cope with possible consequences.

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Amundsen's party at the South Pole, December 1911

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Flooding at the Kappa V site

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Daniel Boone
Daniel Boone was an American pioneer and hunter whose frontier exploits made him one of the first folk heroes of the United States. Boone is most famous for his exploration and settlement of what is now the U.S. Commonwealth of Kentucky, which was then beyond the western borders of the Thirteen Colonies. Despite resistance from American Indians, for whom Kentucky was a traditional hunting ground, in 1775 Boone blazed the Wilderness Road through the Cumberland Gap and into Kentucky. There he founded Boonesborough, one of the first English-speaking settlements beyond the Appalachian Mountains. Before the end of the 18th century, more than 200,000 European people migrated to Kentucky and Virginia by following the route marked by Boone. He was a legend in his own lifetime, especially after an account of his adventures was published in 1784, making him famous in America and Europe. After his death, he was frequently the subject of tall tales and works of fiction. His adventures--real and legendary--were influential in creating the archetypal Western hero of American folklore. In American popular culture, he is remembered as one of the foremost early frontiersmen, even though the mythology often overshadows the historical details of his life.

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National Palace of Haiti after the 2010 earthquake
Credit: Photo: Logan Abassi, UNDP Global

This photo, taken the day after the 2010 Haiti earthquake, shows the damage it caused to the National Palace of Haiti. The palace's collapsed cupola has become a symbol of the devastation caused by the quake. The Haitian government is currently in the process of demolishing the remains in preparation for reconstruction.

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Horace Walpole
-- Horace Walpole, letter to Sir Horace Mann (1774)

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