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GEOG101: World Regional Geography

Unit 13: The Pacific and Antarctica   Almost all of Antarctica rests south of the Antarctic Circle, surrounded by the Southern Ocean.  The closest continent to Antarctica is South America.  Many countries have laid claim to sections of Antarctica, nevertheless the continent lacks industrial development.  In the early 20th century, Argentina, Australia, Chile, France, Great Britain, New Zealand, and Norway announced claims to parts of Antarctica.  In 1961, these nations and others signed the Antarctic Treaty, essentially putting aside their territorial claims in the interests of international cooperation in scientific research.  In 1991, 24 nations approved an addition to the treaty that would ban oil and other mineral exploration for at least 50 years.

The hundreds of South Pacific islands are surrounded by the Pacific Ocean and make up the largest geographic area in the world.  The Pacific realm includes the island groups in the tropics between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn.  There has been little industrial development in the South Pacific.  Just as Antarctica has been divided up and claimed by other countries – though it was not colonized by them – most of the islands in the South Pacific were claimed or colonized by the imperial powers of Europe, Japan, or the United States.  Both areas are considered to be peripheral realms in the overall scheme of the global economy.  Tourism is the major activity in the South Pacific, and research and tourism are the major activities in Antarctica.  Both regions have opportunities for greater economic development in the future.

Both the Pacific realm and Antarctica are impacted by climate change.  Rising temperatures melt the polar caps, which in turn raise sea levels.  Changes in precipitation patterns seriously alter the biodiversity of tropical islands in the Pacific, while changes in temperature and precipitation affect agricultural activity and tourism on many islands.  Climate change in Antarctica could cause further decline for the animals native to the realm.

Unit 13 begins with the exploration of physical and cultural characteristics of the three groups of the islands of the South Pacific: Melanesia, Micronesia, and Polynesia.  During your exploration, you will analyze the geographic characteristics (physical, cultural, and political) of specific islands within the three groups.  Then, you will travel to the Southern Ocean and the Antarctica, paying special attention to environmental concerns such as climate change and ozone depletion.

Unit 13 Time Advisory
This unit should take you approximately 5.25 hours to complete.

☐    Subunit 13.1: 1.75 hours

☐    Subunit 13.2: 3.5 hours

Unit13 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this unit, the student will be able to:
- Identify, compare, and contrast the three components of the South Pacific Realm: Melanesia, Micronesia, and Polynesia. - Distinguish between low islands and high islands. - Determine which islands remain under the auspices of France, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, or the United States. - Describe the primary economic activities of the islands in the realm. - Summarize the main environmental concerns of the islands in each region. - Describe the physical geography of Antarctica. - Discuss the political struggle of governing Antarctica and how the international community manages the continent. - List the features and effects of global warming.  - Explain the changes that would occur if the ice sheet covering Antarctica were to melt. - Identify and explain both natural and human causes of climate change on Earth. - Describe the carbon cycle, and explain how humans have influenced the carbon cycle since the Industrial Revolution. - Describe how the amount of ozone in the atmosphere above the South Pole changes during the seasons. - Explain how ozone in the stratosphere projects living organisms from incoming solar ultraviolet (UV) radiation.

13.1 Pacific Islands   - Reading: World Regional Geography: People, Places, and Globalization: “Chapter 13: The Pacific and Antarctica:” “Section 13.1: The Pacific Islands” Link: World Regional Geography: People, Places, and Globalization: “Chapter 13: The Pacific and Antarctica:” “Section 13.1: The Pacific Islands” (PDF)
 
Instructions: Please click on the link above, and read Section 13.1 in its entirety.  Before you begin the reading and lecture assignments for this subunit, read all of the Study and Discussion Questions.  Then, answer these questions and keep these questions in mind as you read through the text and watch the lectures.  This reading covers the topics outlined in sub-subunits 13.1.1 through 13.1.1.
 
This reading provides an introduction to the physical, cultural, and economic characteristics of the nations that make-up the Pacific Islands, including Melanesia, Micronesia, and Polynesia.  In addition, the reading explores which islands remain under the auspices of France, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, or the United States.
 
Reading and answering associated Discussion Study Questions should take you approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes to complete.
 
Terms of Use: This text was adapted by The Saylor Foundation under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 License without attribution as requested by the work’s original creator or licensee.

13.1.1 Introducing the Realm   Note: This topic is covered by the reading assigned below subunit 13.1.  In particular, focus on the text below the heading, “Introducing the Realm.”   

13.1.2 Melanesia   Note: This topic is covered by the reading assigned below subunit 13.1.  In particular, focus on the text below the heading, “Melanesia.”   

13.1.2.1 Papua New Guinea   Note: This topic is covered by the reading assigned below subunit 13.1.  In particular, focus on the text surrounding the bolded term, “Papua New Guinea.”  

13.1.2.2 Solomon Islands   Note: This topic is covered by the reading assigned below subunit 13.1.  In particular, focus on the text surrounding the bolded term, “Solomon Islands.”   

13.1.2.3 Vanuatu   Note: This topic is covered by the reading assigned below subunit 13.1.  In particular, focus on the text surrounding the bolded term, “Vanuatu.”   

13.1.2.4 New Caledonia   Note: This topic is covered by the reading assigned below subunit 13.1.  In particular, focus on the text surrounding the bolded term, “New Caledonia.”   

13.1.2.5 Fiji   Note: This topic is covered by the reading assigned below subunit 13.1.  In particular, focus on the text surrounding the bolded term, “Fiji.”   

13.1.3 Micronesia   Note: This topic is covered by the reading assigned below subunit 13.1.  In particular, focus on the text below the heading, “Micronesia.”   

  • Web Media: iTunes U: “Global Ideas, Deutsche Welle TV: Protecting Micronesia’s Islands” Link: iTunes U: “Global Ideas, Deutsche Welle TV: Protecting Micronesia’s Islands” (iTunes U)
     
    Instructions: Once you click on the link above, scroll to the podcast titled “Protecting Micronesia’s Islands,” and select “View in iTunes” to launch the video.  Watch the short podcast, depicting some of the environmental concerns of the residents of the Micronesian islands due to global climate change.
     
    Viewing this podcast and pausing to take notes should take approximately 15 minutes to complete.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

13.1.3.1 Guam   Note: This topic is covered by the reading assigned below subunit 13.1.  In particular, focus on the text below the subheading, “Guam,” under the heading, “Micronesia.”   

13.1.3.2 Northern Mariana Islands   Note: This topic is covered by the reading assigned below subunit 13.1.  In particular, focus on the text below the subheading, “Northern Mariana Islands,” under the heading, “Micronesia.”  

13.1.3.3 Nauru   Note: This topic is covered by the reading assigned below subunit 13.1.  In particular, focus on the text below the subheading, “Nauru,” under the heading, “Micronesia.”  

13.1.3.4 Palau   Note: This topic is covered by the reading assigned below subunit 13.1.  In particular, focus on the text below the subheading, “Palau,” under the heading, “Micronesia.”  

13.1.3.5 Marshall Islands   Note: This topic is covered by the reading assigned below subunit 13.1.  In particular, focus on the text below the subheading, “Marshall Islands,” under the heading, “Micronesia.”   

13.1.4 Polynesia   Note: This topic is covered by the reading assigned below subunit 13.1.  In particular, focus on the text under the heading, “Polynesia.”

13.1.4.1 Hawaii   Note: This topic is covered by the reading assigned below subunit 13.1.  In particular, focus on the text below the subheading, “Hawaii.”   

13.1.4.2 Kiribati   Note: This topic is covered by the reading assigned below subunit 13.1.  In particular, focus on the text below the subheading, “Kiribati.”   

13.1.4.3 Samoa   Note: This topic is covered by the reading assigned below subunit 13.1.  In particular, focus on the text below the subheading, “Samoa.”   

13.1.4.4 Tonga   Note: This topic is covered by the reading assigned below subunit 13.1.  In particular, focus on the text below the subheading, “Tonga.”   

13.1.4.5 Tuvalu   Note: This topic is covered by the reading assigned below subunit 13.1.  In particular, focus on the text below the subheading, “Tuvalu.”   

13.1.4.6 French Polynesia   Note: This topic is covered by the reading assigned below subunit 13.1.   In particular, focus on the text below the subheading, “French Polynesia.”  

13.1.4.7 The Pitcairn Islands, Easter Island, and the Cook Islands   Note: This topic is covered by the reading assigned below subunit 13.1.  In particular, focus on the text below the subheading, “The Pitcairn Islands, Easter Island, and the Cook Islands.”

13.2 Antarctica   - Web Media: National Geographic’s “Polar Regions: Destination: Antarctica.” Link: National Geographic’s “Polar Regions: Destination: Antarctica” (Adobe Flash)
 
Instructions: Please click on the link above, and watch the short video for an introduction to the geography of Antarctica.
 
Watching this video (several times as needed) should take approximately 15 minutes to complete.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Reading: World Regional Geography: People, Places, and Globalization: “Chapter 13: The Pacific and Antarctica:” “Section 13.2: The Antarctica” Link: World Regional Geography: People, Places, and Globalization: “Chapter 13: The Pacific and Antarctica:” “Section 13.2: The Antarctica” (PDF)
     
    Instructions: Please click on the link above, and read Section 13.2 as well as the end of chapter material in Section 13.3.  Before you begin the reading and lecture assignments for this subunit, read all of the Study and Discussion Questions.  Then, answer these questions and keep these questions in mind as you read through the text and watch the lectures.  This reading covers the topics outlined in sub-subunits 13.2.1 through 13.2.6. 
     
    This reading provides an introduction to the physical characteristics of the Antarctic.  In addition, the reading discusses the political struggle of governing Antarctica and how the international community manages the continent.  Finally, the reading explores the effects of climate change to the region.
     
    Reading and answering associated Discussion Study Questions should take you approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes to complete.
     
    Terms of Use: This text was adapted by The Saylor Foundation under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 License without attribution as requested by the work’s original creator or licensee.

13.2.1 The Southern Ocean   Note: This topic is covered by the reading assigned below subunit 13.2.  In particular, focus on the text below the heading, “The Southern Ocean.”   

13.2.2 Physical Geography   Note: This topic is covered by the reading assigned below subunit 13.2.  In particular, focus on the text below the heading, “Physical Geography.”  

13.2.3 The Antarctic Treaty   Note: This topic is covered by the reading assigned below subunit 13.2.  In particular, focus on the text below the heading, “The Antarctic Treaty.”   

13.2.4 Climate Change   Note: This topic is covered by the reading assigned below subunit 13.2.  In particular, focus on the text below the heading, “Climate Change.”   

  • Lecture: iTunes U: University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh: Professor Laura Carnahan’s “Weather and Climate” Link: iTunes U: University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh: Professor Laura Carnahan’s “Weather and Climate” (iTunes U)
     
    Instructions: Please click on the link above, locate “Lecture 21 – Climate,” and select “View in iTunes” to launch the lecture.  View the entire lecture for an introduction to global climate change, including causes, evidence, and consequences.
     
    Watching this lecture and pausing to take notes should take approximately 45 minutes to complete.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

13.2.5 Ozone Depletion   Note: This topic is covered by the reading assigned below subunit 13.2.  In particular, focus on the text below the heading, “Ozone Depletion.”   

  • Web Media: National Geographic’s “Environment News: Ozone Hole Peaks over Antarctica” Link: National Geographic’s “Environment News: Ozone Hole Peaks over Antarctica” (Adobe Flash)
     
    Instructions: Please click on the link above, and watch this brief video for a discussion of the Antarctic ozone hole.
     
    Watching this video (several times as needed) should take less than 15 minutes to complete.

    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Lecture: iTunes U: University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh: Professor Laura Carnahan’s “Weather and Climate” Link: iTunes U: University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh: Professor Laura Carnahan’s “Weather and Climate” (iTunes U)
     
    Instructions: Please click on the link above, locate “Lecture 2 – The Atmosphere,” and select “View in iTunes” to launch the lecture.  View the entire video for an introduction to Earth’s atmospheric layers, as well as a description of ozone depletion and what causes it.
     
    Watching this lecture and pausing to take notes should take approximately 30 minutes to complete.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

13.2.6 Global Impacts and Organizations   Note: This topic is covered by the reading assigned below subunit 13.2.  In particular, focus on the text below the heading, “Global Impacts and Organizations.”   

  • Web Media: National Geographic’s “Global Warming: Antarctica Ice.” Link: National Geographic’s “Global Warming: Antarctica Ice” (Adobe Flash)
     
    Instructions: Please click on the link above, and watch this brief video for a discussion of how global warming is affecting ice melt in the Antarctica (and subsequently, how this melt can potentially affect coastal cities around the world).
     
    Watching this video (several times as needed) should take less than 15 minutes to complete.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.