5A1: Investigating Australia’s Physical Environments


Looking back over the course of one human generation (say a period of about thirty years), we realise that, despite the day-to-day variability, there is some long-term consistency in the weather patterns in our particular locality. Furthermore, our locality differs from other localities in its weather pattern (Plate 2). The term climate is used to refer to the accumulated knowledge of the average course of weather conditions for a particular locality obtained over many years; for example, the processed records of measurements taken daily for at least three decades on such variables as temperature, rainfall and air pressure.

Figure 1: Image of the Australian environment taken on 31 July 2008 using satellite-mounted sensors responding to thermal-infrared wavelengths (10-12 µm). (Source: Australian Bureau of Meteorology  [Accessed 31 July 2008] ).

Australian Curriculum links

The distribution and characteristics of biomes as regions with distinctive climates, soils, vegetation and productivity (ACHGK060)

The challenges to food production, including land and water degradation, shortage of fresh water, competing land uses, and climate change, for Australia and other areas of the world  (ACHGK063)

(ACHGK064) The capacity of the world’s environments to sustainably feed the projected future population to achieve food security for Australia and the world

Year 10

(ACHGK073) The application of human-environment systems thinking to understanding the causes and likely consequences of the environmental change being investigated

(ACHGK074) The application of geographical concepts and methods to the management of the environmental change being investigated