Ing - Civ (Mag.)(ord. 270) - MI (495) GEOINFORMATICS ENGINEERING - INGEGNERIA GEOINFORMATICA
058026 - GEOFUNDAMENTALS [I.C.]
056625 - GEOMATICS FOR GEOINFORMATICS
058027 - GEOFUNDAMENTALS A: GEOMATIC DATA EXPLOITATION
This course offers a broad overview of the fundamental characteristics of the physical environment and the ecological components of the Earth. It is specifically aimed to describe the main processes regulating our planet's functioning systems, as well as the phenomena that emerge from their interactions. Special emphasis is placed on Earth observation as a tool to describe and understand global patterns and global change.
Risultati di apprendimento attesi
Knowledge and understanding
Upon completing the course, the students will gain a basic understanding of - the main characteristics of the Earth's physical spheres, namely the atmosphere, the hydrosphere and the geosphere; - the main characteristics of the biosphere and of its interactions with the other spheres; - some overarching themes spanning across the various environmenal spheres, such as energy and mass exchanges, biogeography and biodiversity, and the concept of sustainability.
Applying knowledge and understanding
The students will be able to apply the concepts outlined above to - describe the main features and processes characterizing the four environmental spheres; - evaluate energy/matter flows within and between environmental spheres by formulating simple quantitative balances; - assess the status of ecological systems by using suitable biodiversity indexes; - describe population dynamics by applying demographic methods and models.
Preliminaries - environmental spheres - global change - spatial tools
The physical spheres - atmosphere: global energy balance, temperature, winds and global circulation, weather and climate systems - hydrosphere: hydrologic cycle, moisture and precipitation, global ocean, fresh water, cryosphere - geosphere: lithosphere, weathering and erosion, soil
The biosphere - fundamental ecosystem processes - biodiversity, biogeography, and conservation threats - population dynamics and demography - sustainability of the biosphere
These topics will be accompanied by tutorial classes, during which the students will be required to solve numerical exercises.
In the first part of the course, dealing with the physical spheres of our planet, special attention is devoted to the climate system, its dynamics, and its global modifications (about 10% of the course). In the second part of the course, dealing with the biosphere, special emphasis is placed on the ecological processes that shape life on our planet (about 40% of the course).
Mathematical formalism is used throughout the course, therefore having completed a basic Calculus course is highly recommended.
Modalità di valutazione
The exam consists of two parts: an individual evaluation test and the presentation of the results of group work. Individual assessment is performed through a full-term evaluation test to be taken during one of the regular exam sessions, according to the official academic calendar of the School. All tests are in written form and include both quantitative exercises (typically 3, max 4) and conceptual questions (typically, in a multiple-choice format). Group work will focus on a selection of the topics analyzed in the course and it will be aimed to deepen the understanding of selected environmental or ecological processes. Each group will present their work to the class at the end of the course.
Within each written test, exercises and questions typically concern all of the topics discussed in the course. Formal correctness, numerical accuracy, and exposition clarity all contribute to determining the final grade. Specifically, written tests may evaluate the students' ability to - formulate energy and matter balances to study exchanges within and between environmental spheres; - apply biodiversity measures to real or realistic field data; - evaluate demographic indicators for structured populations and study population dynamics through mechanistic models.
For group work, the grade will be determined based on the accuracy and depth of the presented information, the clarity of the exposition, and the quality of the presentation. Specifically, the assessment of oral presentations may evaluate the students' ability to - review state-of-the-art information on selected environmental processes; - understand how Earth observation (if applicable) can be used to improve our understanding of such processes; - clearly organize and present the results of their work.
A 0-32 scale is used for grading. Individual and group assessments contribute approximately 3/4 and 1/4 to the final grade, respectively. The exam is considered as passed with a grade ≥18/32. The grade obtained in this course (module B) contributes 50% towards the final grade of the integrated Geo Fundamental course.
Course slides and reading materialhttps://webeep.polimi.it/Arbogast, A.F., Discovering Physical GeographyHess, D., McKnight's Physical Geography: A Landscape AppreciationStrahler, A., Introducing Physical GeographySmith, T.M., Smith, R.L., Elements of Ecology
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