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M4A1: Midterm Essay Examination The Midterm exam primarily covers the areas of astronomy and the atmosphere. In astronomy, special attention should be paid to the lecture notes and the PowerPoint fil

M4A1: Midterm Essay Examination

The Midterm exam primarily covers the areas of astronomy and the atmosphere.  In astronomy, special attention should be paid to the lecture notes and the PowerPoint files, as well as the Discussion Boards.  The sections on meteorology and climatology are more dependent on the text and the laboratory exercises, but the discussions and the lecture notes are more conducive to explanation and understanding with an essay-driven format. 

For this midterm essay exam you are required to answer all five (5) of the questions. There is a minimum of 250 words limit for each of these essay questions, you will be graded on your knowledge of the material and the detail with which you write your answers. You should take care to cite your sources in APA format and provide full references in a Works Cited list.

1.      Modern astronomy basically begins with the re-emergence of the heliocentric view of the universe by Copernicus. Who were the four other major contributors to the development of modern astronomy after Copernicus?  Explain what those contributions were. Finally, why did it take so long for the geocentric view of the universe to be overthrown and what does that tell us about scientific research and our society, even today?

2.      Explain the relationship of geography to other scientific disciplines. What is a good definition for geography or the geosciences in general?  What are the strengths and weaknesses of geography as a discipline and how do you think that has influenced its development, or lack thereof? 

3.      Weather and climate are separate, but related, terms.  Provide a definition of each and then give an example of a concept related to both weather and climate. Additionally, since they are important issues when dealing with the subject of climate today, what is the greenhouse effect and global warming? Are they the same thing?  If not, how are they different? What influence would global warming have on “nature” and our lives?

4.      Explain the pressure gradient force, the Coriolis Effect and the frictional force and their effects on the direction and speed of air at the surface and aloft in the atmosphere. Describe the wind and pressure systems (surface and aloft) that exist in the zone from the Equator to the North Pole in the Northern Hemisphere. There is a close relationship between atmospheric pressure patterns, wind zones and precipitation patterns. The global map of total annual rainfall shows great differences in precipitation received from place to place. Using at least 3 reasons, explain why this is so.

5.      Compare/contrast the Mediterranean (Csa) climate found along the coast of southern California and the humid subtropical (Cfa) climate found in South Carolina. Considering that comparison, also explain why the western United States has dramatically different climates from the eastern United States.  An important consideration when considering climate and climatic change today is the role of El Nino. Explain the ocean/atmosphere changes that take during an El Nino/ENSO cycle and the effects these changes have on our lives and societies.

It is suggested you write or print out the essay questions for handy reference as you develop your responses. Be sure to submit your essay exam using the APA writing style in one WORD document and place it in the appropriate assignment dropbox.

Compose your work in a .doc or .docx file type using a word processor (such as Microsoft Word, etc.) and save it frequently to your computer.

Check your work and correct any spelling or grammatical errors.


This course has Turnitin® fully integrated into the course dropbox.

Once submitted, your assignment will be evaluated by Turnitin® automatically.


This assignment will be graded using the Multi-Essay Assignment Rubric located on the Course Rubrics page within the Start Here section of the course.  Please review the rubric prior to beginning your work so that you ensure your submission meets the criteria in place for this assignment.  This assignment is worth 15% of your final course grade.

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