World at Risk Notes for Edexcel Unit 1 Geography

Im re-taking this unit and decided to make some notes for the Physical section: World at Risk. The notes are fairly thorough and have some good case studies on Africa and Antarctic, which are cumpolsary for the exam. Hope you find these useful - any feedback would be great !

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Geography Unit 1 Revision notes
World at Risk ­ Physical
Global hazards can be split into two groups ­ Hydro meteorological and
Geophysical hazards, which cause a number of disasters around the world.
Where people are already vulnerable because of poverty, high population
density, multiple hazard hotspots occur.
Climate Change is a context hazard as it causes a global chronic threat to
people and the environment.
Environmental Hazards: can be defined as the threat posed to humans and
the environment by natural events originating it.
Geophysical Hazards: are formed by tectonic/geological events such as
earthquakes, volcanoes, and tsunamis
Hydro ­ meteorological Hazards: are formed by hydrological and
atmospheric processes such as floods and droughts
Context Hazards: are widespread threats arising from global environmental
changes such as climate change or from a major hazard such as a super volcano
Disasters: is the realization of hazards to cause social and economic impacts
Risk: is the probability of a hazard occurring and becoming a disaster as a
result of deaths and loss of livelihood.
Vulnerability: is shaped by the underlying state of human development,
including inequalities of income, which marginalize the poor. Regions where
vulnerability are high have a low capacity to cope and are exposed to frequent
natural extreme events.
The risk equation measures the level of hazard for an area =
R= H x V/C
Climate change: is any marked trend or shift in climate that shows a sustained
change in the average value for any particular climatic element
Climate variability: refers to the differences in climate from one year to
Global warming: refers to a consistent recently measured rise In the average
surface temperature of the planet

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The Greenhouse Effect: is a natural process that warms the Earth's
atmosphere due to trapping of heat in that would otherwise be radiated back to
Enhanced greenhouse effect: is when there is a rise in the level of
greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, which can lead to global warming
Fossil Fuels: are rich in carbon and when burnt release C02, which is very
effective at trapping heat so can contribute to global warming
Tipping Point: is an irreversible point in climate change, where the…read more

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La Nina causes usually drought in California and heavy rainfall in
Hurricanes in the Atlantic are usually increased in La Nina years and
reduced in El Nino years.…read more

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Destructive plate boundaries when heavy oceanic plate
subdcuts, melts into the mantle causing magma to rise up to the surface,
-Landslides: cause over 1,400 deaths a year on average. They are normally
found in mountainous areas often caused by heavy rainfall or seismic activity.
Human activity such as deforestation can cause landslides due to unstable soil
-Snow Avalanches: are concentrated in high mountainous areas where there
is heavy snowfall.…read more

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El Nino can bring devastating floods like the ones in Mozambique in
1997 and 2006.
Rapid snowmelt in some areas can cause flooding, which adds water to
already swollen rivers.
Distribution Of Storms:
Storms include tropical cyclones, mid-latitude storms and hurricanes. Tropical
cyclones are violent storms between 200km and 700km in diameter. They
occur 5-20 degrees north and south of the equator, warm ocean temperatures
of 26 degrees and above of at least 70 meters in depth.…read more

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Threats from Hazards Sits on a typhoon belt, Lies Earthquakes main risk ­
on the Eurasian and sits on San Andreas Fault,
Philippines plate boundary which is conservative plate
­ Volcanoes and boundary. Landslides can
Earthquakes. El Nino/La occur as a result due to
Nina can cause drought, Mountainous region. El
flooding and landslides Nino cause flooding while
La Nina can cause drought
Climate Change Timescales
Long Term ­ Refers to the cycle of ice ages, which began around 450,000
years ago.…read more

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The Arctic and Climate Change
In the past few decades, average temperatures in the Arctic have risen at twice
the rate of the rest of the world, 3-4 degrees Celsius in the past 50 years. It the
next 100 years temperatures could increase by a further 3-5 degrees Celsius
and 7 degrees Celsius over ocean.
Impacts on natural systems:
Vegetation shifts: The shift will destabilize food webs.…read more

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Impacts on Society:
Loss of hunting and decline of food security
Need for herd animals
Enhanced agriculture and forestry
Arctic will become more accessible and prone to being exposed for oil,
gas and other resources
Climate Change in Africa
Africa makes the least contribution to climate change but is the continent that
is most at risk to climate change. Much of it's population is dependent on
climate sensitive resources such as local water.…read more

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The world's largest Deltas such as the Ganges in Bangladesh, where
there are large populations on low lying land close to major rivers
Small low lying islands such as the Maldives, where the land is only 4
meters above the sea surface
Areas close to sea levels that are heavily defended such as Eastern
Places such as Hong Kong where development has been built on
reclaimed costal land
- The IPCC is the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate
Change.…read more

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Depends on government policies.
- Unknown LEDC rate of development.
- The two scenarios involving smallest rises are
interventionist/best case scenario.
- Most likely 2°C-3°C.
- At a current rate, temperature rises reach 4°C.…read more



What grade did you get overall? :)

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