Risorse bibliografiche
Risorsa bibliografica obbligatoria
Risorsa bibliografica facoltativa
Scheda Riassuntiva
Anno Accademico 2018/2019
Scuola Scuola di Ingegneria Civile, Ambientale e Territoriale
Insegnamento 099339 - GEO FUNDAMENTALS [I.C.]
  • 099337 - GEO FUNDAMENTALS [1]
Docente Mari Lorenzo
Cfu 5.00 Tipo insegnamento Modulo Di Corso Strutturato

Corso di Studi Codice Piano di Studio preventivamente approvato Da (compreso) A (escluso) Insegnamento

Obiettivi dell'insegnamento

This course offers a broad overview of the fundamental characteristics of the physical environment 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 via remote sensing as a tool to describe and understand global patterns and global change. This course deals with topics concerning the UN Sustainable Development Goals 15 (Life on Land), 14 (Life Below Water), 13 (Climate Action) and 12 (Responsible Consumption and Production). 

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.

Argomenti trattati

- environmental spheres
- global change
- spatial tools 


The atmosphere
- global energy balance
- temperature, winds and global circulation


The hydrosphere
- hydrologic cycle, moisture and precipitation
- global ocean, fresh water, cryosphere 
- weather and climate systems 


The geosphere
- lithosphere, weathering, global soils 


The biosphere
- fundamental ecosystem processes
- biodiversity, biogeography and conservation threats
- population dynamics and demography
- sustainability of the biosphere


These topics will be covered in succession and will be accompanied by tutorial classes, during which students will be required to solve numerical exercises.


Mathematical formalism is used throughout the course, therefore having completed a basic Calculus course is highly recommended.

Modalità di valutazione

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) and conceptual questions (in either multiple-choice or short-open formats, or both). A 0-32 scale is used to grade each test. The exam is considered as passed with a grade ≥18/32. The grade obtained in the Geo Fundamentals [1] module contributes by 50% towards the final grade of the integrated course Geo Fundamental.


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 determine 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.

Risorsa bibliografica obbligatoriaCourse slides and reading material http://www.ecologia.polimi.it/geofun/
Risorsa bibliografica facoltativaArbogast, A.F., Discovering Physical Geography
Risorsa bibliografica facoltativaHess, D., McKnight's Physical Geography: A Landscape Appreciation
Risorsa bibliografica facoltativaStrahler, A., Introducing Physical Geography
Risorsa bibliografica facoltativaSmith, T.M., Smith, R.L., Elements of Ecology

Forme didattiche
Tipo Forma Didattica Ore di attività svolte in aula
Ore di studio autonome
Laboratorio Informatico
Laboratorio Sperimentale
Laboratorio Di Progetto
Totale 50:00 75:00

Informazioni in lingua inglese a supporto dell'internazionalizzazione
Insegnamento erogato in lingua Inglese
Disponibilità di materiale didattico/slides in lingua inglese
Disponibilità di libri di testo/bibliografia in lingua inglese
Possibilità di sostenere l'esame in lingua inglese
Disponibilità di supporto didattico in lingua inglese

Note Docente
schedaincarico v. 1.6.5 / 1.6.5
Area Servizi ICT