Physical Geography

Physical geography focuses on geography as an Earth science (and is sometimes called Earth System Science).

Physical geography is a branch of geography that focuses on the study of the natural features and processes of the Earth’s surface. It includes the examination of landforms, climate, vegetation, soils, and water resources. Physical geographers use a range of scientific methods and tools to analyze and understand the complex interactions between the Earth’s physical systems.

Learn about the different branches of geography that fall under the physical geography category: climatology, geomorphology, biogeography, and more.

Bristlecone pine forest in Great Basin National Park. Photo: USGS, public domain.

Island Biogeography of the Great Basin

Rachel Quist

The theory of island biogeography is one of the explanations as to why speciation occurs.

Map of Global Temperatures Since 1880

Caitlin Dempsey

NASA takes a look at global temperatures and has a short piece and animated map showing the global change in ...

NASA Earth Observatory image by Jesse Allen, using data provided courtesy of the MODIS Land Group. Caption by Rebecca Lindsey.

Deadly Cold Across Europe and Russia

Caitlin Dempsey

This image shows the impact of the cold snap on land surface temperatures across the region from December 11 to 18, 2009, compared to the 2000-2008 average.

Line in the Sand – How the Same Species Differ Across Borders

Caitlin Dempsey

A study from the University of Haifa looked at differences between rodent, reptile, and ant lion species in Jordan and Israel.

This Satellite Image of Algae Bloom Looks Like a Painting

Caitlin Dempsey

Satellite imagery can show us fantastic and beautiful views of Earth.  This image captured on November 22, 2008 shows vibrate ...