Glossary of climate change

Glossary of climate change

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This article serves as a glossary of climate change terms. It lists terms that are related to global warming
Global warming
Global warming refers to the rising average temperature of Earth's atmosphere and oceans and its projected continuation. In the last 100 years, Earth's average surface temperature increased by about with about two thirds of the increase occurring over just the last three decades...

.

0-9

  • 100,000-year problem
    100,000-year problem
    The 100,000-year problem is a discrepancy between past temperatures and the amount of incoming solar radiation, or insolation. The former rises and falls according to the strength of radiation from the sun, the distance from the earth to the sun, and the tilt of the Earth's poles...

    - a discrepancy between the climate response and the forcing from the amount of incoming solar radiation.

A

  • Adaptation
    Adaptation
    An adaptation in biology is a trait with a current functional role in the life history of an organism that is maintained and evolved by means of natural selection. An adaptation refers to both the current state of being adapted and to the dynamic evolutionary process that leads to the adaptation....

    - in the climate change context, adaptation implies an adjustment in natural or human systems in response to a changing/changed climate.
  • Additionality - in the context of a project funded by carbon offset
    Carbon offset
    A carbon offset is a reduction in emissions of carbon dioxide or greenhouse gases made in order to compensate for or to offset an emission made elsewhere....

    s, the additionality is the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions that is in addition to what would have resulted in the absence of the carbon offset funding.
  • Albedo
    Albedo
    Albedo , or reflection coefficient, is the diffuse reflectivity or reflecting power of a surface. It is defined as the ratio of reflected radiation from the surface to incident radiation upon it...

    - An index of the "reflectiveness" - a way of quantifying how much radiation is reflected back, as opposed to that absorbed. Low albedo ~0 absorb most of the radiation and high ~1 reflect it.
  • Anoxic event
    Anoxic event
    Oceanic anoxic events or anoxic events occur when the Earth's oceans become completely depleted of oxygen below the surface levels. Although anoxic events have not happened for millions of years, the geological record shows that they happened many times in the past. Anoxic events may have caused...

    - a period when the Earth's ocean
    Ocean
    An ocean is a major body of saline water, and a principal component of the hydrosphere. Approximately 71% of the Earth's surface is covered by ocean, a continuous body of water that is customarily divided into several principal oceans and smaller seas.More than half of this area is over 3,000...

    s are free of oxygen below the surface layer.
  • Antarctic oscillation
    Antarctic oscillation
    The Antarctic oscillation is a low-frequency mode of atmospheric variability of the southern hemisphere...

    (AAO) - a low-frequency mode of atmospheric variability of the southern hemisphere.
  • Anthropogenic - literally, man-made.
  • Anthropogenic climate change - climate change with the presumption of human influence, usually warming.
  • Anthropogenic global warming (AGW) – global warming with the presumption of human influence.
  • Anti-greenhouse effect
    Anti-Greenhouse Effect
    The anti-greenhouse effect is a neologism used to describe two different effects that describe a cooling effect an atmosphere has on the ambient temperature of the planet. Unlike the greenhouse effect, which is common, an anti-greenhouse effect is only known to exist in one situation in our Solar...

    - the cooling effect an atmosphere has on the ambient temperature of the planet.
  • Arctic amplification - The effect of sea ice melting replace high albedo ice with low albedo sea that absorb the radiation from the sun get warmer and melt more ice.
  • Arctic oscillation
    Arctic oscillation
    The Arctic oscillation or Northern Annular Mode/Northern Hemisphere Annular Mode is an index of the dominant pattern of non-seasonal sea-level pressure variations north of 20N latitude, and it is characterized by pressure anomalies of one sign in the Arctic with the opposite anomalies centered...

    (AO) - the dominant pattern of non-seasonal sea-level pressure (SLP) variations north of 20 degrees N
    20th parallel north
    The 20th parallel north is a circle of latitude that is 20 degrees north of the Earth's equatorial plane. It crosses Africa, Asia, the Indian Ocean, the Pacific Ocean, North America, the Caribbean and the Atlantic Ocean....

    , and it is characterized by SLP anomalies of one sign in the Arctic and anomalies of opposite sign centered about 37
    37th parallel north
    The 37th parallel north is a circle of latitude that is 37 degrees north of the Earth's equatorial plane. It crosses Europe, the Mediterranean Sea, Africa, Asia, the Pacific Ocean, North America, and the Atlantic Ocean....

    -45 degrees N. See also NAO
    North Atlantic oscillation
    The North Atlantic oscillation is a climatic phenomenon in the North Atlantic Ocean of fluctuations in the difference of atmospheric pressure at sea level between the Icelandic low and the Azores high. Through east-west oscillation motions of the Icelandic low and the Azores high, it controls the...

    .
  • Arctic shrinkage
    Arctic shrinkage
    Ongoing changes in the climate of the Arctic include rising temperatures, loss of sea ice, and melting of the Greenland ice sheet. Projections of sea ice loss suggest that the Arctic ocean will likely be free of summer sea ice sometime between 2060 and 2080, while another estimate puts this date at...

    - the marked decrease in Arctic sea ice and the observed melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet in recent years.
  • Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation
    Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation
    The Atlantic multidecadal oscillation is a mode of variability occurring in the North Atlantic Ocean and which has its principal expression in the sea surface temperature field...

    (AMO) - a hypothesised mode of natural variability occurring in the North Atlantic Ocean and which has its principle expression in the sea surface temperature
    Sea surface temperature
    Sea surface temperature is the water temperature close to the oceans surface. The exact meaning of surface varies according to the measurement method used, but it is between and below the sea surface. Air masses in the Earth's atmosphere are highly modified by sea surface temperatures within a...

     (SST) field.
  • Atmospheric sciences
    Atmospheric sciences
    Atmospheric sciences is an umbrella term for the study of the atmosphere, its processes, the effects other systems have on the atmosphere, and the effects of the atmosphere on these other systems. Meteorology includes atmospheric chemistry and atmospheric physics with a major focus on weather...

    - an umbrella term for the study of the atmosphere, its processes, the effects other systems have on the atmosphere, and the effects of the atmosphere on these other systems.
  • Atmospheric window
    Atmospheric window
    The infrared atmospheric window is the overall dynamic property of the earth's atmosphere, taken as a whole at each place and occasion of interest, that lets some infrared radiation from the cloud tops and land-sea surface pass directly to space without intermediate absorption and re-emission, and...

    - refers to those parts of the electromagnetic spectrum that are, with the Earth's atmosphere in its natural state, not absorbed at all.
  • Attribution of recent climate change
    Attribution of recent climate change
    Attribution of recent climate change is the effort to scientifically ascertain mechanisms responsible for recent changes observed in the Earth's climate...

    - the study of the causes of climate change.

C

  • Carbon cycle
    Carbon cycle
    The carbon cycle is the biogeochemical cycle by which carbon is exchanged among the biosphere, pedosphere, geosphere, hydrosphere, and atmosphere of the Earth...

    - the biogeochemical cycle by which carbon is exchanged between the biosphere, geosphere, hydrosphere, and atmosphere of the Earth.
  • Carbon diet
    Carbon Diet
    A carbon diet refers to reducing the impact on climate change by reducing greenhouse gas production.Individuals and businesses produce carbon dioxide from daily activities such as driving, heating, and the consumption of products and services...

    - the act of reducing the output of to reduce impact on the environment.
  • Carbon footprint
    Carbon footprint
    A carbon footprint has historically been defined as "the total set of greenhouse gas emissions caused by an organization, event, product or person.". However, calculating a carbon footprint which conforms to this definition is often impracticable due to the large amount of data required, which is...

    - the total set of greenhouse gas emissions caused by an organization, event or product.
  • Carbon offset
    Carbon offset
    A carbon offset is a reduction in emissions of carbon dioxide or greenhouse gases made in order to compensate for or to offset an emission made elsewhere....

    - a mechanism for individuals and businesses to neutralize rather than actually reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, by purchasing the right to claim someone else's reductions as their own.
  • Carbon sequestration - proposals for removing from the atmosphere, or for preventing from fossil fuel combustion from reaching the atmosphere.
  • Carbon sink - a natural or artificial reservoir that accumulates and stores some carbon
    Carbon
    Carbon is the chemical element with symbol C and atomic number 6. As a member of group 14 on the periodic table, it is nonmetallic and tetravalent—making four electrons available to form covalent chemical bonds...

    -containing chemical compound for an indefinite period
  • Carbon tax
    Carbon tax
    A carbon tax is an environmental tax levied on the carbon content of fuels. It is a form of carbon pricing. Carbon is present in every hydrocarbon fuel and is released as carbon dioxide when they are burnt. In contrast, non-combustion energy sources—wind, sunlight, hydropower, and nuclear—do not...

    - a tax on energy sources which emit carbon dioxide.
  • Clathrate gun hypothesis
    Clathrate gun hypothesis
    The clathrate gun hypothesis is the popular name given to the hypothesis that rises in sea temperatures can trigger the sudden release of methane from methane clathrate compounds buried in seabeds and permafrost which, because the methane itself is a powerful greenhouse gas, leads to further...

    - the hypothesis that melting methane clathrates could trigger runaway or very severe global warming.
  • Climate
    Climate
    Climate encompasses the statistics of temperature, humidity, atmospheric pressure, wind, rainfall, atmospheric particle count and other meteorological elemental measurements in a given region over long periods...

    - the average and variations of weather in a region over long periods of time.
  • Climate change
    Climate change
    Climate change is a significant and lasting change in the statistical distribution of weather patterns over periods ranging from decades to millions of years. It may be a change in average weather conditions or the distribution of events around that average...

    - changes of climate in general, usually with no presumption of human influence. Note, however, that there is one important exception to this: the UNFCCC defines "climate change" as anthropogenic.
  • Climate change feedback
    Climate change feedback
    Climate change feedback is important in the understanding of global warming because feedback processes may amplify or diminish the effect of each climate forcing, and so play an important part in determining the overall climate sensitivity...

    - a natural phenomenon that may increase or decrease the warming that eventually results from a change in radiative forcing
    Radiative forcing
    In climate science, radiative forcing is generally defined as the change in net irradiance between different layers of the atmosphere. Typically, radiative forcing is quantified at the tropopause in units of watts per square meter. A positive forcing tends to warm the system, while a negative...

    .
  • Climate commitment - how much future warming is "committed", even if greenhouse gas
    Greenhouse gas
    A greenhouse gas is a gas in an atmosphere that absorbs and emits radiation within the thermal infrared range. This process is the fundamental cause of the greenhouse effect. The primary greenhouse gases in the Earth's atmosphere are water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and ozone...

     levels do not rise, due to thermal inertia, mainly of the oceans.
  • Climate ethics
    Climate ethics
    Climate Ethics is a new and growing area of research that focuses on the ethical dimensions of climate change, and concepts such as climate justice....

    - an area of research that focuses on the ethical dimensions of climate change.
  • Climate forcing - an energy imbalance imposed on the climate system either externally or by human activities.
  • Climate Justice
    Climate justice
    Climate Justice is generally used as a term for viewing climate change as an ethical issue and considering how its causes and effects relate to concepts of justice, particularly social justice and environmental justice. For example examining issues such as equality, human rights and historical...

    - term used for viewing climate change as ethical issue, and considering how it's causes and effects relate to concepts of justice
  • Climate legislation
    Climate legislation
    Climate legislation is legislation dealing with the laws and regulations of greenhouse gas emissions. Many different pieces of climate legislation have been introduced and are being considered by legislatures around the world....

    - legislation dealing with regulation of greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Climate refugee
    Climate refugee
    Environmental migrant refers to the people who are purportedly forced to migrate from or flee their home region due to sudden or long-term changes to their local environment, which is held to include increased droughts, desertification, sea level rise, and disruption of seasonal weather patterns...

    - a displaced person caused by climate change induced environmental disasters.
  • Climate sensitivity
    Climate sensitivity
    Climate sensitivity is a measure of how responsive the temperature of the climate system is to a change in the radiative forcing. It is usually expressed as the temperature change associated with a doubling of the concentration of carbon dioxide in Earth's atmosphere.The equilibrium climate...

    - how responsive the temperature of the climate system is to a change in radiative forcing
    Radiative forcing
    In climate science, radiative forcing is generally defined as the change in net irradiance between different layers of the atmosphere. Typically, radiative forcing is quantified at the tropopause in units of watts per square meter. A positive forcing tends to warm the system, while a negative...

    .
  • Climate variability - climate change, with no presumption of cause.
  • Climatology
    Climatology
    Climatology is the study of climate, scientifically defined as weather conditions averaged over a period of time, and is a branch of the atmospheric sciences...

    (Climate Science) - the study of climate, scientifically defined as weather conditions averaged over a period of time.

D

  • Desertification
    Desertification
    Desertification is the degradation of land in drylands. Caused by a variety of factors, such as climate change and human activities, desertification is one of the most significant global environmental problems.-Definitions:...

    - the degradation of land in arid and dry sub-humid areas, resulting primarily from natural activities and influenced by climatic variations
  • Detection and attribution - see attribution of recent climate change
    Attribution of recent climate change
    Attribution of recent climate change is the effort to scientifically ascertain mechanisms responsible for recent changes observed in the Earth's climate...


E

  • Eco-efficiency
    Eco-efficiency
    The term eco-efficiency was coined by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development in its 1992 publication "Changing Course". It is based on the concept of creating more goods and services while using fewer resources and creating less waste and pollution.The 1992 Earth Summit endorsed...

    - creating more goods and services while using fewer resources and creating less waste and pollution.
  • Earth's atmosphere
    Earth's atmosphere
    The atmosphere of Earth is a layer of gases surrounding the planet Earth that is retained by Earth's gravity. The atmosphere protects life on Earth by absorbing ultraviolet solar radiation, warming the surface through heat retention , and reducing temperature extremes between day and night...

    - a layer of gases surrounding the planet Earth and retained by the Earth's gravity.
  • Earthshine - sunlight reflected from Earth and illuminating the dark side of the Moon.
  • Ecotax
    Ecotax
    Ecotax refers to taxes intended to promote ecologically sustainable activities via economic incentives. Such a policy can complement or avert the need for regulatory approaches. Often, an ecotax policy proposal may attempt to maintain overall tax revenue by proportionately reducing other taxes...

    - fiscal policy that introduces taxes intended to promote ecologically sustainable activities via economic incentives.
  • El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) - a set of specific interacting parts of a single global system of coupled ocean-atmosphere climate fluctuations that come about as a consequence of oceanic and atmospheric circulation.
  • Emission intensity
    Emission intensity
    An emission intensity is the average emission rate of a given pollutant from a given source relative to the intensity of a specific activity; for example grams of carbon dioxide released per megajoule of energy produced, or the ratio of greenhouse gas emissions produced to GDP...

    - the average emission rate of a given pollutant
    Pollutant
    A pollutant is a waste material that pollutes air, water or soil, and is the cause of pollution.Three factors determine the severity of a pollutant: its chemical nature, its concentration and its persistence. Some pollutants are biodegradable and therefore will not persist in the environment in the...

     from a given source relative to the intensity of a specific activity; for example gram
    Gram
    The gram is a metric system unit of mass....

    s of carbon dioxide
    Carbon dioxide
    Carbon dioxide is a naturally occurring chemical compound composed of two oxygen atoms covalently bonded to a single carbon atom...

     released per megajoule of energy produced, or the ratio of greenhouse gas
    Greenhouse gas
    A greenhouse gas is a gas in an atmosphere that absorbs and emits radiation within the thermal infrared range. This process is the fundamental cause of the greenhouse effect. The primary greenhouse gases in the Earth's atmosphere are water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and ozone...

     emissions produced to GDP.
  • Emission standards - requirements that set specific limits to the amount of pollutants that can be released into the environment
  • Enteric fermentation
    Enteric fermentation
    Enteric fermentation is a digestive process by which carbohydrates are broken down by microorganisms into simple molecules for absorption into the bloodstream of an animal.It is one of the factors in increased methane emissions....

    - fermentation that takes place in the digestive systems of ruminant animals.
  • Environmental crime
    Environmental crime
    Environmental crime can be broadly defined as illegal acts, which directly harmthe environment. International bodies such as the G8, Interpol, EU, UN Environment Programme and the UN Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute have recognised the following environmental crimes:* Illegal...

    - crime against environmental legislation that is liable for prosecution.

F

  • Feedbacks - either an amplification (positive feedback) or a reduction (negative feedback) of the rate of global warming caused by its effects
    Effects of global warming
    This article is about the effects of global warming and climate change. The effects, or impacts, of climate change may be physical, ecological, social or economic. Evidence of observed climate change includes the instrumental temperature record, rising sea levels, and decreased snow cover in the...

    .
  • Fossil fuel
    Fossil fuel
    Fossil fuels are fuels formed by natural processes such as anaerobic decomposition of buried dead organisms. The age of the organisms and their resulting fossil fuels is typically millions of years, and sometimes exceeds 650 million years...

    - fossil source fuels, that is, hydrocarbons found within the top layer of the earth’s crust.
  • Freon - DuPont's trade name for its odorless, colorless, nonflammable, and noncorrosive chlorofluorocarbon and hydrochlorofluorocarbon refrigerants, which are used in air conditioning and refrigeration systems.

G

  • Glacial earthquake
    Glacial earthquake
    Glacial earthquakes are earthquakes as large as magnitude 5.1 that occur in glaciated areas where the glacier moves faster than one kilometer per year....

    -large scale tremblors that occur in glaciated areas where the glacier moves faster than one kilometer per year.
  • Global cooling
    Global cooling
    Global cooling was a conjecture during the 1970s of imminent cooling of the Earth's surface and atmosphere along with a posited commencement of glaciation...

    - conjecture during the 1970s of imminent cooling of the Earth's surface and atmosphere along with a posited commencement of glaciation.
  • Global climate model
    Global climate model
    A General Circulation Model is a mathematical model of the general circulation of a planetary atmosphere or ocean and based on the Navier–Stokes equations on a rotating sphere with thermodynamic terms for various energy sources . These equations are the basis for complex computer programs commonly...

    , also General Circulation Model or GCM - a computer model of the world's climate system, including the atmosphere and oceans.
  • Global dimming
    Global dimming
    Global dimming is the gradual reduction in the amount of global direct irradiance at the Earth's surface that was observed for several decades after the start of systematic measurements in the 1950s. The effect varies by location, but worldwide it has been estimated to be of the order of a 4%...

    - the observed decrease in surface insolation, that may have recently reversed.
  • Global warming
    Global warming
    Global warming refers to the rising average temperature of Earth's atmosphere and oceans and its projected continuation. In the last 100 years, Earth's average surface temperature increased by about with about two thirds of the increase occurring over just the last three decades...

    (GW) - usually: the warming trend over the past century or so; also: any period in which the temperature of the Earth's atmosphere increases; also the theory of such changes.
  • Global warming controversy
    Global warming controversy
    Global warming controversy refers to a variety of disputes, significantly more pronounced in the popular media than in the scientific literature, regarding the nature, causes, and consequences of global warming...

    - socio-political issues surrounding the theory of global warming.
  • Global warming period - any period in which the temperature of the Earth's atmosphere increases.
  • Global warming potential
    Global warming potential
    Global-warming potential is a relative measure of how much heat a greenhouse gas traps in the atmosphere. It compares the amount of heat trapped by a certain mass of the gas in question to the amount of heat trapped by a similar mass of carbon dioxide. A GWP is calculated over a specific time...

    - a measure of how much a given mass of greenhouse gas is estimated to contribute to global warming.
  • Greenhouse effect
    Greenhouse effect
    The greenhouse effect is a process by which thermal radiation from a planetary surface is absorbed by atmospheric greenhouse gases, and is re-radiated in all directions. Since part of this re-radiation is back towards the surface, energy is transferred to the surface and the lower atmosphere...

    - both natural and anthropogenic
  • Greenhouse gas
    Greenhouse gas
    A greenhouse gas is a gas in an atmosphere that absorbs and emits radiation within the thermal infrared range. This process is the fundamental cause of the greenhouse effect. The primary greenhouse gases in the Earth's atmosphere are water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and ozone...

    - gasses that cause the greenhouse effect.
  • Greenhouse gas inventory
    Greenhouse gas inventory
    Greenhouse gas inventories are a type of emission inventory that are developed for a variety of reasons. Scientists use inventories of natural and anthropogenic emissions as tools when developing atmospheric models. Policy makers use inventories to develop strategies and policies for emissions...

    - a type of emission inventory
    Emission inventory
    An emission inventory is an accounting of the amount of pollutants discharged into the atmosphere. An emission inventory usually contains the total emissions for one or more specific greenhouse gases or air pollutants, originating from all source categories in a certain geographical area and within...

     that includes greenhouse gas emissions from source categories as well as removal by carbon sinks.
  • Gulf Stream
    Gulf Stream
    The Gulf Stream, together with its northern extension towards Europe, the North Atlantic Drift, is a powerful, warm, and swift Atlantic ocean current that originates at the tip of Florida, and follows the eastern coastlines of the United States and Newfoundland before crossing the Atlantic Ocean...

    - a powerful, warm, and swift Atlantic ocean current that originates in the Gulf of Mexico, exits through the Strait of Florida, and follows the eastern coastlines of the United States and Newfoundland before crossing the Atlantic Ocean.

H

  • Heiligendamm Process
    Heiligendamm Process
    The Heiligendamm process is an initiative that will institutionalize high-level dialogue between the G8 and the five most important emerging economies, known as the O5 : China, Mexico, India, Brazil and South Africa...

    - an initiative that will institutionalize high level dialogue between the G8
    G8
    The Group of Eight is a forum, created by France in 1975, for the governments of seven major economies: Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States. In 1997, the group added Russia, thus becoming the G8...

     countries and the five most important emerging economies, known as the O5 (Outreach 5) composed of China, Mexico, India, Brazil and South Africa; and the establishment of a common G5 + G8 platform at the OECD.
  • Historical temperature record - see temperature record
    Temperature record
    The temperature record shows the fluctuations of the temperature of the atmosphere and the oceans through various spans of time. The most detailed information exists since 1850, when methodical thermometer-based records began. There are numerous estimates of temperatures since the end of the...

    .
  • Hockey stick controversy
    Hockey stick controversy
    The hockey stick controversy refers to debates over the technical correctness and implications for global warming of graphs showing reconstructed estimates of the temperature record of the past 1000 years...

    - a dispute over the reconstructed estimates of Northern Hemisphere mean temperature changes over the past millennium, frequently referred to as the MBH98 reconstruction.
  • Holocene
    Holocene
    The Holocene is a geological epoch which began at the end of the Pleistocene and continues to the present. The Holocene is part of the Quaternary period. Its name comes from the Greek words and , meaning "entirely recent"...

    - a geological period, which began approximately 11,550 calendar years BP
    Before Present
    Before Present years is a time scale used in archaeology, geology, and other scientific disciplines to specify when events in the past occurred. Because the "present" time changes, standard practice is to use AD 1950 as the origin of the age scale, reflecting the fact that radiocarbon...

     (about 9600 BC) and continued to the Anthropocene
    Anthropocene
    The Anthropocene is a recent and informal geologic chronological term that serves to mark the evidence and extent of human activities that have had a significant global impact on the Earth's ecosystems...

    .
  • Holocene Climatic Optimum
    Holocene climatic optimum
    The Holocene Climate Optimum was a warm period during roughly the interval 9,000 to 5,000 years B.P.. This event has also been known by many other names, including: Hypsithermal, Altithermal, Climatic Optimum, Holocene Optimum, Holocene Thermal Maximum, and Holocene Megathermal.This warm period...

    - a warm period during roughly the interval 9,000 to 5,000 years B.P.
    Before Present
    Before Present years is a time scale used in archaeology, geology, and other scientific disciplines to specify when events in the past occurred. Because the "present" time changes, standard practice is to use AD 1950 as the origin of the age scale, reflecting the fact that radiocarbon...


I

  • Ice age
    Ice age
    An ice age or, more precisely, glacial age, is a generic geological period of long-term reduction in the temperature of the Earth's surface and atmosphere, resulting in the presence or expansion of continental ice sheets, polar ice sheets and alpine glaciers...

    - a period of long-term reduction in the temperature of Earth's climate, resulting in an expansion of the continental ice sheets, polar ice sheets and alpine glaciers.
  • Ice core
    Ice core
    An ice core is a core sample that is typically removed from an ice sheet, most commonly from the polar ice caps of Antarctica, Greenland or from high mountain glaciers elsewhere. As the ice forms from the incremental build up of annual layers of snow, lower layers are older than upper, and an ice...

    - a core sample
    Core sample
    A core sample is a cylindrical section of a naturally occurring substance. Most core samples are obtained by drilling with special drills into the substance, for example sediment or rock, with a hollow steel tube called a core drill. The hole made for the core sample is called the "core hole". A...

     from the accumulation of snow and ice over many years that have re-crystallized and have trapped air bubbles from previous time periods.
  • Insolation
    Insolation
    Insolation is a measure of solar radiation energy received on a given surface area in a given time. It is commonly expressed as average irradiance in watts per square meter or kilowatt-hours per square meter per day...

    - amount of solar radiation reaching the surface of the Earth.
  • Irradiance
    Irradiance
    Irradiance is the power of electromagnetic radiation per unit area incident on a surface. Radiant emittance or radiant exitance is the power per unit area radiated by a surface. The SI units for all of these quantities are watts per square meter , while the cgs units are ergs per square centimeter...

    - amount of electromagnetic radiation reaching a surface, measured in watts per square meter.
  • Instrumental temperature record
    Instrumental temperature record
    The instrumental temperature record shows fluctuations of the temperature of the global land surface and oceans. This data is collected from several thousand meteorological stations, Antarctic research stations and satellite observations of sea-surface temperature. Currently, the longest-running...

    - shows the fluctuations of the temperature of the atmosphere and the oceans as measured by temperature sensors. The longest-running quasi-global record starts in 1850.
  • Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation (IPO) - a cycle of 15–30 years between warm or cool waters in the north and south Pacific.

K

  • Keeling Curve
    Keeling curve
    The Keeling Curve is a graph which plots the ongoing change in concentration of carbon dioxide in Earth's atmosphere since 1958. It is based on continuous measurements taken at the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii under the supervision of Charles David Keeling. Keeling's measurements showed the...

    - a graph
    Chart
    A chart is a graphical representation of data, in which "the data is represented by symbols, such as bars in a bar chart, lines in a line chart, or slices in a pie chart"...

     showing the variation in concentration of atmospheric
    Earth's atmosphere
    The atmosphere of Earth is a layer of gases surrounding the planet Earth that is retained by Earth's gravity. The atmosphere protects life on Earth by absorbing ultraviolet solar radiation, warming the surface through heat retention , and reducing temperature extremes between day and night...

     carbon dioxide
    Carbon dioxide
    Carbon dioxide is a naturally occurring chemical compound composed of two oxygen atoms covalently bonded to a single carbon atom...

     since 1958.
  • Kyoto Protocol
    Kyoto Protocol
    The Kyoto Protocol is a protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change , aimed at fighting global warming...

    - modification to UNFCCC
    United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
    The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change is an international environmental treaty produced at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development , informally known as the Earth Summit, held in Rio de Janeiro from June 3 to 14, 1992...

    . See also Post–Kyoto Protocol negotiations on greenhouse gas emissions.

L

  • Little Ice Age
    Little Ice Age
    The Little Ice Age was a period of cooling that occurred after the Medieval Warm Period . While not a true ice age, the term was introduced into the scientific literature by François E. Matthes in 1939...

    - a period of cooling occurring after a warmer era known as the Medieval climate optimum.

M

  • Magnetosphere
    Magnetosphere
    A magnetosphere is formed when a stream of charged particles, such as the solar wind, interacts with and is deflected by the intrinsic magnetic field of a planet or similar body. Earth is surrounded by a magnetosphere, as are the other planets with intrinsic magnetic fields: Mercury, Jupiter,...

    - the region around an astronomical object in which phenomena are dominated or organized by its magnetic field.
  • Maunder Minimum
    Maunder Minimum
    The Maunder Minimum is the name used for the period roughly spanning 1645 to 1715 when sunspots became exceedingly rare, as noted by solar observers of the time....

    - the name given to the period roughly from 1645 to 1715, when sunspots became exceedingly rare, as noted by solar observers of the time.
  • Mauna Loa
    Mauna Loa
    Mauna Loa is one of five volcanoes that form the Island of Hawaii in the U.S. state of Hawaii in the Pacific Ocean, and the largest on Earth in terms of volume and area covered. It is an active shield volcano, with a volume estimated at approximately , although its peak is about lower than that...

    - home to the longest instrumental CO2 record.
  • Medieval climate optimum - warm period from about the 10th century to about the 14th century.
  • Meteorology
    Meteorology
    Meteorology is the interdisciplinary scientific study of the atmosphere. Studies in the field stretch back millennia, though significant progress in meteorology did not occur until the 18th century. The 19th century saw breakthroughs occur after observing networks developed across several countries...

    - the interdisciplinary scientific study of the atmosphere that focuses on weather processes and forecasting.
  • Methane
    Methane
    Methane is a chemical compound with the chemical formula . It is the simplest alkane, the principal component of natural gas, and probably the most abundant organic compound on earth. The relative abundance of methane makes it an attractive fuel...

    - a greenhouse gas
    Greenhouse gas
    A greenhouse gas is a gas in an atmosphere that absorbs and emits radiation within the thermal infrared range. This process is the fundamental cause of the greenhouse effect. The primary greenhouse gases in the Earth's atmosphere are water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and ozone...

     released by enteric fermentation
    Enteric fermentation
    Enteric fermentation is a digestive process by which carbohydrates are broken down by microorganisms into simple molecules for absorption into the bloodstream of an animal.It is one of the factors in increased methane emissions....

     in livestock
    Livestock
    Livestock refers to one or more domesticated animals raised in an agricultural setting to produce commodities such as food, fiber and labor. The term "livestock" as used in this article does not include poultry or farmed fish; however the inclusion of these, especially poultry, within the meaning...

    , rice
    Rice
    Rice is the seed of the monocot plants Oryza sativa or Oryza glaberrima . As a cereal grain, it is the most important staple food for a large part of the world's human population, especially in East Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia, the Middle East, and the West Indies...

     production, and fossil fuel extraction.
  • Mitigation of global warming
    Mitigation of global warming
    Climate change mitigation is action to decrease the intensity of radiative forcing in order to reduce the potential effects of global warming. Mitigation is distinguished from adaptation to global warming, which involves acting to tolerate the effects of global warming...

    - involves taking actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to enhance sinks aimed at reducing the extent of global warming
  • Mode of variability - a pattern of climate change, usually oscillatory, with specific regional effects

N

  • Nitrous oxide
    Nitrous oxide
    Nitrous oxide, commonly known as laughing gas or sweet air, is a chemical compound with the formula . It is an oxide of nitrogen. At room temperature, it is a colorless non-flammable gas, with a slightly sweet odor and taste. It is used in surgery and dentistry for its anesthetic and analgesic...

    (N2O) - a potent greenhouse gas produced primarily in agriculture, particularly by the livestock sector.
  • Nonradiative forcing - a climate forcing that creates an energy imbalance that does not immediately involve radiation.
  • North Atlantic Deep Water
    North Atlantic Deep Water
    North Atlantic Deep Water is a water mass that forms in the North Atlantic Ocean. It is largely formed in the Labrador Sea and in the Greenland Sea by the sinking of highly saline, dense overflow water from the Greenland Sea...

    - one of the water masses of the ocean.
  • North Atlantic oscillation
    North Atlantic oscillation
    The North Atlantic oscillation is a climatic phenomenon in the North Atlantic Ocean of fluctuations in the difference of atmospheric pressure at sea level between the Icelandic low and the Azores high. Through east-west oscillation motions of the Icelandic low and the Azores high, it controls the...

    - an atmospheric climate mode.

O

  • Ocean planet
    Ocean planet
    An ocean planet is a hypothetical type of planet whose surface is completely covered with an ocean of water.Planetary objects that form in the outer solar system begin as a comet-like mixture of roughly half water and half rock by mass...

    - the opposite concept of Snowball Earth
    Snowball Earth
    The Snowball Earth hypothesis posits that the Earth's surface became entirely or nearly entirely frozen at least once, some time earlier than 650 Ma . Proponents of the hypothesis argue that it best explains sedimentary deposits generally regarded as of glacial origin at tropical...

    .
  • Ozone depletion
    Ozone depletion
    Ozone depletion describes two distinct but related phenomena observed since the late 1970s: a steady decline of about 4% per decade in the total volume of ozone in Earth's stratosphere , and a much larger springtime decrease in stratospheric ozone over Earth's polar regions. The latter phenomenon...

    - not strongly connected to climate change

P

  • Pacific decadal oscillation
    Pacific decadal oscillation
    The Pacific Decadal Oscillation is a pattern of Pacific climate variability that shifts phases on at least inter-decadal time scale, usually about 20 to 30 years. The PDO is detected as warm or cool surface waters in the Pacific Ocean, north of 20° N...

    (PDO) - a 23-year pattern of warm or cool water in the north Pacific.
  • Paleocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM) - a sudden warming event that fundamentally altered geological and biological aspects of the planet.
  • Paleoclimatology
    Paleoclimatology
    Paleoclimatology is the study of changes in climate taken on the scale of the entire history of Earth. It uses a variety of proxy methods from the Earth and life sciences to obtain data previously preserved within rocks, sediments, ice sheets, tree rings, corals, shells and microfossils; it then...

    - the study of climate change taken on the scale of the entire history of Earth.
  • Polar amplification
    Polar amplification
    Polar amplification is the observation that "Climate models generally predict amplified warming in polar regions" due to climate feedbacks.Although the most simple climate models predict warming at both poles, the Antarctic has not warmed as much as the Arctic, and many modern climate models...

    - greater temperature increases in the Arctic than in the earth as a whole) is a result of the collective effect of feedbacks and other processes." It does not apply to the Antarctic
    Antarctic
    The Antarctic is the region around the Earth's South Pole, opposite the Arctic region around the North Pole. The Antarctic comprises the continent of Antarctica and the ice shelves, waters and island territories in the Southern Ocean situated south of the Antarctic Convergence...

    , because the Southern Ocean
    Southern Ocean
    The Southern Ocean comprises the southernmost waters of the World Ocean, generally taken to be south of 60°S latitude and encircling Antarctica. It is usually regarded as the fourth-largest of the five principal oceanic divisions...

     acts as a heat sink.
  • Polar city
    Polar city
    A polar city is a proposed sustainable polar retreat designed to house human beings in the future, in the event that global warming causes the central and middle regions of the Earth to become uninhabitable for a long period of time. Although they have not been built yet, some futurists have been...

    - a proposed human refuge located in northern regions of the Earth, and in Tasmania, New Zealand and the Antarctica, where people might have to live in order to survive major global warming "events" in the far distant future, also dubbed Lovelock Retreats.
  • Proxy
    Proxy (climate)
    In the study of past climates is known as paleoclimatology, climate proxies are preserved physical characteristics of the past that stand in for direct measurements , to enable scientists to reconstruct the climatic conditions that prevailed during much of the Earth's history...

    - a variable that can be related to one of interest (e.g. tree rings can be proxies for temperature variations).

R

  • Radiative forcing
    Radiative forcing
    In climate science, radiative forcing is generally defined as the change in net irradiance between different layers of the atmosphere. Typically, radiative forcing is quantified at the tropopause in units of watts per square meter. A positive forcing tends to warm the system, while a negative...

    - is (loosely) defined as the change in net irradiance at the tropopause
  • Removal unit - a tradable carbon credit
    Carbon credit
    A carbon credit is a generic term for any tradable certificate or permit representing the right to emit one tonne of carbon dioxide or the mass of another greenhouse gas with a carbon dioxide equivalent equivalent to one tonne of carbon dioxide....

     or 'Kyoto unit' representing an allowance to emit one metric tonne of greenhouse gases absorbed by a removal or Carbon sink activity in an Annex I country
  • Runaway greenhouse effect
    Runaway greenhouse effect
    A runaway greenhouse effect is not a clearly defined term, but is understood to mean an event analogous to that which is believed to have happened in the early history of Venus, where positive feedback increased the strength of its greenhouse effect until its oceans boiled away...

    - somewhat ill-defined term, associated with the idea of large irreversible temperature rises

S

  • Slash and burn
    Slash and burn
    Slash-and-burn is an agricultural technique which involves cutting and burning of forests or woodlands to create fields. It is subsistence agriculture that typically uses little technology or other tools. It is typically part of shifting cultivation agriculture, and of transhumance livestock...

    - form of deforestation
    Deforestation
    Deforestation is the removal of a forest or stand of trees where the land is thereafter converted to a nonforest use. Examples of deforestation include conversion of forestland to farms, ranches, or urban use....

     used to clear fields for agricultural
    Agriculture
    Agriculture is the cultivation of animals, plants, fungi and other life forms for food, fiber, and other products used to sustain life. Agriculture was the key implement in the rise of sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domesticated species created food surpluses that nurtured the...

     use.
  • Solar variation
    Solar variation
    Solar variation is the change in the amount of radiation emitted by the Sun and in its spectral distribution over years to millennia. These variations have periodic components, the main one being the approximately 11-year solar cycle . The changes also have aperiodic fluctuations...

    - changes in the amount of radiant energy emitted by the Sun.
  • Sunspot
    Sunspot
    Sunspots are temporary phenomena on the photosphere of the Sun that appear visibly as dark spots compared to surrounding regions. They are caused by intense magnetic activity, which inhibits convection by an effect comparable to the eddy current brake, forming areas of reduced surface temperature....

    - a region on the Sun's surface (photosphere) that is marked by a lower temperature than its surroundings and has intense magnetic activity, which inhibits convection, forming areas of low surface temperature. Sunspot activity is subject to research on climate change.

T

  • Thermohaline circulation
    Thermohaline circulation
    The term thermohaline circulation refers to a part of the large-scale ocean circulation that is driven by global density gradients created by surface heat and freshwater fluxes....

    - the global density-driven circulation of the oceans.
  • TEX-86
    TEX-86
    TEX86 is a paleothermometer based on the composition of membrane lipids of the marine picoplankton Crenarchaeota.Wuchter et al. found that the number of cyclopentane rings in Crenarchaeota membrane lipids changes linearly with temperature in order to regulate membrane fluidity...

    - a paleothermometer
    Paleothermometer
    A paleothermometer is a methodology for determining past temperatures using a proxy found in a natural record such as a sediment, ice core, tree rings or TEX86.=...

     based on the composition of membrane lipids of the marine picoplankton Crenarchaeota.
  • Thermocline
    Thermocline
    A thermocline is a thin but distinct layer in a large body of fluid , in which temperature changes more rapidly with depth than it does in the layers above or below...

    - (sometimes metalimnion) is a layer within a body of water or air where the temperature changes rapidly with depth.
  • Tipping point (climatology)
    Tipping point (climatology)
    A climate tipping point is a point when global climate changes from one stable state to another stable state, in a similar manner to a wine glass tipping over. After the tipping point has been passed, a transition to a new state occurs...

    - the point at which change due to human activity brings about sufficient new processes in nature to make any human reversal of the change impossible.
  • *The Real Global Warming Disaster
    The Real Global Warming Disaster
    The Real Global Warming Disaster is a 2009 book by English journalist and author Christopher Booker written from a standpoint of environmental scepticism which aims to show how scientists and politicians came to believe in anthropogenic global warming.In the book, Booker...

    - a 2009 book by Christopher Booker
    Christopher Booker
    Christopher John Penrice Booker is an English journalist and author. In 1961, he was one of the founders of the magazine Private Eye, and has contributed to it for over four decades. He has been a columnist for the Sunday Telegraph since 1990...

     that examines skeptically the subject of man made global warming
    Attribution of recent climate change
    Attribution of recent climate change is the effort to scientifically ascertain mechanisms responsible for recent changes observed in the Earth's climate...

    .

U

  • Urban heat island
    Urban heat island
    An urban heat island is a metropolitan area which is significantly warmer than its surrounding rural areas. The phenomenon was first investigated and described by Luke Howard in the 1810s, although he was not the one to name the phenomenon. The temperature difference usually is larger at night...

    - a metropolitan area which is significantly warmer than its surroundings.

See also


  • Climate change acronyms
    Climate change acronyms
    The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change have implemented the use of tens of acronyms in documents relating to climate change policy.- C :...

  • Glossary of environmental science
    Glossary of environmental science
    This is a glossary of environmental science.Environmental science is the study of interactions among physical, chemical, and biological components of the environment...

  • List of climate change topics
  • Scientific opinion on climate change
    Scientific opinion on climate change
    The predominant scientific opinion on climate change is that the Earth is in an ongoing phase of global warming primarily caused by an enhanced greenhouse effect due to the anthropogenic release of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases...

  • Severe weather terminology (Canada)
    Severe weather terminology (Canada)
    This article describes Severe weather Terminology used by the Environment Canada's Meteorological Service of Canada. This article primarily describes various weather warnings, and their criteria. Related weather scales and general weather terms are also addressed in this article...

  • Severe weather terminology (United States)
    Severe weather terminology (United States)
    This article describes the United States National Weather Service severe weather terminology. The NWS defines precise meanings for nearly all its weather terms. This article describes NWS terminology and related NWS weather scales...

  • Timeline of environmental history

External links