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Physical geography overview and list of faculty working in this specialty

Physical Geography deals with the spatial aspects of the natural environment. Its emphasis is on the interrelated processes that affect and determine the human use of the earth.

Geography has a strong link to the natural sciences through physical geography and earth science. Physical geography is important because it deals with earth processes that concern the human use of the earth. For instance, agriculture is dependent upon interrelated physical processes such as climate, weather, and the formation and erosion of soils. Those having a good background in physical geography are well prepared to deal with various environmental problems, including air pollution, water pollution, and the management and disposal of solid, toxic, and hazardous wastes. Physical geographers also study the impact of such natural hazards as hurricanes, tornadoes, volcanic eruptions, floods, and earthquakes.

People specializing in this area

Tenure / Tenure Track

Trent Biggs

  • Effects of land cover change on hydrology, sediment, and stream biogeochemistry
  • Remote sensing of land cover, terrain, and evapotranspiration
  • Isotopes in the hydrologic cycle

Fernando De Sales

  • Impacts of land-use and land-cover changes on climate

Hilary McMillan

  • Changes in hydrological processes with space, time and scale
  • Hydrological predictions on national to continental scales
  • Uncertainty in hydrological data and predictions

John F. O'Leary

  • Methods of vegetation analysis (field sampling techniques, statistical analysis, remote sensing GIS, and mapping)

Douglas A. Stow

  • Mediterranean-type ecosystems

The statements found on this page/site are for informational purposes only. While every effort is made to ensure that this information is up to date and accurate, official information can be found in the university publications.

©Department of Geography, San Diego State University