Regents Prep: Global History: Human & Physical Geography

Human and Physical Geography is the study of the environment, people, and the resources they use.  Geography determines the way in which humans live, the adaptations they have developed to survive, and the alterations to the environment they have made to better their existence.  The impact of human interaction with the environment has had mixed results.  While human life has been improved and made more comfortable, the environment has been damaged in a variety of ways.

The study of Human and Physical Geography has five themes, Location, Place, Interaction between People and their Environment, Movement, and Region.

Five Themes of Human and Physical Geography

  • Describes where a place is -- its position on the Earth's surface.  Two ways to describe location: Relative Location and Absolute Location.
  • Relative Location: The description of a place in relation to another.
  • Absolute Location: The exact location of a place using lines of longitude and latitude.
  • Describes an area in terms of it's physical and human characteristics such as climate, landforms, waterways, language, religion, social activities, etc...
Human/Environment Interaction
  • Describes how people change their environment or adapt to it
  • Describes an area that has its own unifying characteristics.  This is done politically -- the Middle East is a political region, physically -- the rainforests of Brazil, and culturally -- Muslim areas are influenced by the religion of Islam.

Climate is a very important part in the study of human and physical geography.  Climate is the usual weather patterns that occur in an area over a long period of time.  There are four major climate zones, tropical, dry, mid-latitude, and high latitude.

Climate Zones
  • Located near the equator.
  • Little temperature change from year to year.
  • Tropical Rainforests: warm and wet most of the year. (Amazon Rainforest)
  • Tropical Savanna: warm and dry part of the year, warm and wet the other part. (African Savanna)
  • Little or no rainfall, less than 10 inches per year.
  • Temperature very hot during the day, very cold at night.
  • Extremely cold winters.
  • The Sahara Desert is a dry climate.
Mid Latitude
  • Variety of climates due to mixing warm and cold air masses.
  • Variety of weather patterns
  • Most people live in a mid latitude climate zone.
  • Europe and North America are mid latitude climate zones.
High Latitude
  • Polar regions, very cold.
  • Often have high mountains that remain cold at the peak year round.

This site is designed to aid students in reviewing the concept of Human and Physical Geography in preparation for the New York State Regents Exam in Global History and Geography. In addition, students may test their knowledge of the material presented here by accessing multiple-choice questions from past Regents Exams.


Created by Jeffery Watkins
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