Glossary

aerosol(s) A collection of airborne solid or liquid particles with a typical size between 0.01 and 10 ^m that reside in the atmosphere from periods of hours to days or months. They may be natural or anthropogenic in origin. They influence climate directly through absorbing or scattering radiation or indirectly by acting as cloud condensation nuclei afforestation Planting of new forests on lands that historically have not contained forests

Agenda 21 A document accepted by the participating nations at UNCED on a wide range of environmental and development issues for the twenty-first century albedo The fraction of light reflected by a surface, often expressed as a percentage. Snow-covered surfaces have a high albedo level; vegetation-covered surfaces have a low albedo, because of the light absorbed for photosynthesis anthropic principle A principle which relates the existence of the Universe to the existence of humans who can observe it anthropogenic effects Effects which result from human activities such as the burning of fossil fuels or deforestation

AOGCM Atmosphere-ocean coupled general circulation model atmosphere The envelope of gases surrounding the Earth or other planets atmospheric pressure The pressure of atmospheric gases on the surface of the planet. High atmospheric pressure generally leads to stable weather conditions, whereas low atmospheric pressure leads to storms such as cyclones atom The smallest unit of an element that can take part in a chemical reaction. Composed of a nucleus which contains protons and neutrons and is surrounded by electrons atomic mass The sum of the numbers of protons and neutrons in the nucleus of an atom biodiversity A measure of the number of different biological species found in a particular area biological pump The process whereby carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is dissolved in sea water where it is used for photosynthesis by phytoplankton which are eaten by zooplankton. The remains of these microscopic organisms sink to the ocean bed, thus removing the carbon from the carbon cycle for hundreds, thousands or millions of years biomass The total weight of living material in a given area biome A distinctive ecological system, characterised primarily by the nature of its vegetation biosphere The region on land, in the oceans and in the atmosphere inhabited by living organisms business-as-usual The scenario for future world patterns of energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions which assumes that there will be no major changes in attitudes and priorities

C3, C4 plants Groups of plants which take up carbon dioxide in different ways in photosynthesis and are hence affected to a different extent by increased atmospheric carbon dioxide. Wheat, rice and soya bean are C3 plants; maize, sugarcane and millet are C4 plants carbon cycle The exchange of carbon in various chemical forms between the atmosphere, the land and the oceans carbon dioxide One of the major greenhouse gases. Human-generated carbon dioxide is caused mainly by the burning of fossil fuels and deforestation carbon dioxide The process whereby plants grow more rapidly fertilisation effect under an atmosphere of increased carbon dioxide concentration. It affects C3 plants more than C4 plants

Celsius Temperature scale, sometimes known as the centigrade scale. Its fixed points are the freezing point of water (0 °C) and the boiling point of water (100 °C)

CFCs Chlorofluorocarbons; synthetic compounds used extensively for refrigeration and aerosol sprays until it was realised that they destroy ozone (they are also very powerful greenhouse gases) and have a very long lifetime once in the atmosphere. The Montreal Protocol agreement of 1987 is resulting in the scaling down of CFC production and use in industrialised countries chaos A mathematical theory describing systems that are very sensitive to the way they are originally set up; small discrepancies in the initial conditions will lead to completely different outcomes when the system has been in operation for a while. For example, the motion of a pendulum when its point of suspension undergoes forced oscillation will form a particular pattern as it swings. Started from a slightly different position, it can form a completely different pattern, which could not have been predicted by studying the first one. The weather is a partly chaotic system, which means that even with perfectly accurate forecasting techniques, there will always be a limit to the length of time ahead that a useful forecast can be made

CHP Combined Heat and Power; provided when heat produced by a power station is utilised for distinct heating instead of being wasted

CIS Commonwealth of Independent States (former USSR)

climate sensitivity The global average temperature rise under doubled carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere climate The average weather in a particular region

CO2e or carbon dioxide equivalent concentration The concentration of carbon dioxide that would cause the same radiative forcing as a given mixture of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases compound A substance formed from two or more elements chemically combined in fixed proportions condensation The process of changing state from gas to liquid convection The transfer of heat within a fluid generated by a temperature difference coppicing Cropping of wood by judicious pruning so that the trees are not cut down entirely and can regrow cryosphere The component of the climate system consisting of all snow, ice and permafrost on and beneath the surface of the Earth and ocean

Daisyworld A model of biological feedback mechanisms developed by James

Lovelock (see also Gaia hypothesis) DC Developing country: also Third World country deforestation Cutting down forests; one of the causes of the enhanced greenhouse effect, not only when the wood is burned or decomposes, releasing carbon dioxide, but also because the trees previously took carbon dioxide from the atmosphere in the process of photosynthesis deuterium Heavy isotope of hydrogen drylands Areas of the world where precipitation is low and where rainfall often consists of small, erratic, short, high-intensity storms ecosystem A distinct system of interdependent plants and animals, together with their physical environment

El Niño A pattern of ocean surface temperature in the Pacific off the coast of South America, which has a large influence on world climate electron Negatively charged component of the atom element Any substance that cannot be separated by chemical means into two or more simpler substances environmental refugees People forced to leave their homes because of environmental factors such as drought, floods or sea level rise

EU European Union evaporation The process of changing state from liquid to gas FAO The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization feedbacks Factors which tend to increase the rate of a process (positive feedbacks) or decrease it (negative feedbacks), and are themselves affected in such a way as to continue the feedback process. One example of a positive feedback is snow falling on the Earth's surface, which gives a high albedo level. The high level of reflected rather than absorbed solar radiation will make the Earth's surface colder than it would otherwise have been. This will encourage more snow to fall, and so the process continues fossil fuels Fuels such as coal, oil and gas made by decomposition of ancient animal and plant remains which give off carbon dioxide when burned

FSU Countries of the former Soviet Union

Gaia hypothesis The idea, developed by James Lovelock, that the biosphere is an entity capable of keeping the planet healthy by controlling the physical and chemical environment geoengineering Artificial modification of the environment to counteract global warming geothermal energy Energy obtained by the transfer of heat to the surface of the Earth from layers deep down in the Earth's crust global warming The idea that increased greenhouse gases cause the Earth's temperature to rise globally (see greenhouse effect)

Green Revolution Development of new strains of many crops in the 1960s which increased food production dramatically greenhouse effect The cause of global warming. Incoming solar radiation is transmitted by the atmosphere to the Earth's surface, which it warms. The energy is retransmitted as thermal radiation, but some of it is absorbed by molecules of greenhouse gases instead of being retransmitted out to space, thus warming the atmosphere. The name comes from the ability of greenhouse glass to transmit incoming solar radiation but retain some of the outgoing thermal radiation to warm the interior of the greenhouse. The 'natural' greenhouse effect is due to the greenhouse gases present for natural reasons, and is also observed for the neighbouring planets in the solar system. The 'enhanced' greenhouse effect is the added effect caused by the greenhouse gases present in the atmosphere due to human activities, such as the burning of fossil fuels and deforestation greenhouse gas emissions The release of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, causing global warming greenhouse gases Molecules in the Earth's atmosphere such as carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4) and CFCs which warm the atmosphere because they absorb some of the thermal radiation emitted from the Earth's surface (see greenhouse effect)

GtC Gigatonnes of carbon (C) (1 gigatonne = 109 tonnes). 1 GtC = 3.7 Gt carbon dioxide

GWP Global warming potential: the ratio of the enhanced greenhouse effect of any gas compared with that of carbon dioxide heat capacity The amount of heat input required to change the temperature of a substance by 1 °C. Water has a high heat capacity so it takes a large amount of heat input to give it a small rise in temperature hectopascal (hPa) Unit of atmospheric pressure equal to millibar. Typical pressure at the surface is 1000 hPa hydrological (water) cycle The exchange of water between the atmosphere, the land and the oceans hydropower The use of water power to generate electricity

IEA International Energy Agency, a body that acts as energy advisor to 27 countries belonging to the OECD. In particular, it addresses the 3Es of energy policy, energy security, economic development and environmental protection.

IPCC Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change - the world scientific body assessing global warming isotopes Different forms of an element with different atomic masses; an element is defined by the number of protons its nucleus contains, but the number of neutrons may vary, giving different isotopes. For example, the nucleus of a carbon atom contains six protons. The most common isotope of carbon is 12C, with six neutrons making up an atomic mass of 12. One of the other isotopes is 14C, with eight neutrons, giving an atomic mass of 14. Carbon-containing compounds such as carbon dioxide will contain a mixture of 12C and 14C isotopes. See also deuterium, tritium latent heat The heat absorbed when a substance changes from liquid to gas (evaporation), for example when water evaporates from the sea surface using the Sun's energy. It is given out when a substance changes from gas to liquid (condensation), for example when clouds are formed in the atmosphere

Milankovitch forcing The imposition of regularity on climate change triggered by regular changes in distribution of solar radiation (see Milankovitch theory)

Milankovitch theory The idea that major ice ages of the past may be linked with regular variations in the Earth's orbit around the Sun, leading to varying distribution of incoming solar radiation millibar (mb) Unit of atmospheric pressure equal to hectopascal. Typical pressure at the surface is 1000 mb

MINK Region of the United States comprising the states of Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska and Kansas, used for a detailed climate study by the US Department of Energy mole fraction (or mixing ratio) The ratio of the number of moles of a constituent in a given volume to the total number of moles of all constituents in that volume. It differs from volume mixing ratio (expressed for instance in ppmv, etc.) by the corrections for non-ideality of gases, which is significant relative to measurement precision for many greenhouse gases molecule Two or more atoms of one or more elements chemically combined in fixed proportions. For example, atoms of the elements carbon (C) and oxygen (O) are chemically bonded in the proportion one to two to make molecules of the compound carbon dioxide (CO2). Molecules can also be formed of a single element, for example ozone (O3) monsoon Particular seasonal weather patterns in sub-tropical regions which are connected with particular periods of heavy rainfall neutron A component of most atomic nuclei without electric charge, of approximately the same mass as the proton OECD Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development; a consortium of 30 countries (including the members of the European Union, Australia, Canada, Japan and the USA) that share commitment to democratic government and market economy optical depth The fraction of a particular radiation incident on the top of the atmosphere that reaches a given level in the atmosphere is given by exp(-T) where T is the optical depth ozone hole A region of the atmosphere over Antarctica where, during spring in the southern hemisphere, about half the atmospheric ozone disappears palaeoclimatology The reconstruction of ancient climates by such means as ice-core measurements. These use the ratios of different 2sotopes of oxygen in different samples taken from a deep ice 'core' to determine the temperature in the atmosphere when the sample condensed as snow in the clouds. The deeper the origin of the sample, the longer ago the snow became ice (compressed under the weight of more snowfall) parameterisation In climate models, this term refers to the technique of representing processes in terms of an algorithm (a process of step by step calculation) and appropriate quantities (or parameters) passive solar design The design of buildings to maximise use of solar radiation. A

wall designed as a passive solar energy collector is called a solar wall photosynthesis The series of chemical reactions by which plants take in the Sun's energy, carbon dioxide and water vapour to form materials for growth, and give out oxygen. Anaerobic photosynthesis takes place in the absence of oxygen phytoplankton Minute forms of plant life in the oceans ppb parts per billion (thousand million) - measurement of mixing ratio (see mole fraction) or concentration ppm parts per million - measurement of mixing ratio (see mole fraction) or concentration

Precautionary Principle The principle of prevention being better than cure, applied to potential environmental degradation primary energy Energy sources, such as fossil fuels, nuclear or wind power, which are not used directly for energy but transformed into light, useful heat, motor power and so on. For example, a coal-fired power station which generates electricity uses coal as its primary energy proton A positively charged component of the atomic nucleus

PV Photovoltaic: a solar cell often made of silicon which converts solar radiation into electricity radiation budget The breakdown of the radiation which enters and leaves the Earth's atmosphere. The quantity of solar radiation entering the atmosphere from space on average is balanced by the thermal radiation leaving the Earth's surface and the atmosphere radiative forcing The change in average net radiation at the top of the troposphere (the lower atmosphere) which occurs because of a change in the concentration of a greenhouse gas or because of some other change in the overall climate system. Cloud radiative forcing is the change in the net radiation at the top of the troposphere due to the presence of the cloud reforestation Planting of forests on lands that have previously contained forests but that have been converted to some other use renewable energy Energy sources which are not depleted by use, for example hydropower, PV solar cells, wind power and coppicing respiration The series of chemical reactions by which plants and animals break down stored foods with the use of oxygen to give energy, carbon dioxide and water vapour sequestration Removal and storage, for example, carbon dioxide taken from the atmosphere into plants via photosynthesis, or the storage of carbon dioxide in old oil or gas wells sink Any process, activity or mechanism that removes a greenhouse gas, aerosol or precursor of a greenhouse gas or aerosol from the atmosphere solar radiation Energy from the Sun sonde A device sent into the atmosphere for instance by balloon to obtain information such as temperature and atmospheric pressure, and which sends back information by radio stewardship The attitude that human beings should see the Earth as a garden to be cultivated rather than a treasury to be raided. (See also sustainable development)

stratosphere The region of the atmosphere between about 10 and 50 km altitude where the temperature increases with height and where the ozone layer is situated sustainable development Development which meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs thermal radiation Radiation emitted by all bodies, in amounts depending on their temperature. Hot bodies emit more radiation than cold ones thermodynamics The First Law of thermodynamics expresses that in any physical or chemical process energy is conserved (i.e. it is neither created nor destroyed). The Second Law of thermodynamics states that it is not possible to construct a device which only takes heat energy from a reservoir and turns it into other forms of energy or which only delivers the heat energy to another reservoir at a different temperature. The Law further provides a formula for the maximum efficiency of a heat engine which takes heat from a cooler body and delivers it to a hotter one thermohaline Large-scale density-driven circulation in the circulation (THC) ocean caused by differences in temperature and salinity transpiration The transfer of water from plants to the atmosphere tritium Radioactive isotope of hydrogen, used to trace the spread of radioactivity in the ocean after atomic bomb tests, and hence to map ocean currents tropical cyclone A storm or wind system rotating around a central area of low atmospheric pressure and occurring in tropical regions. They can be of great strength and are also called hurricanes and typhoons. Tornadoes are much smaller storms of similar violence troposphere The region of the lower atmosphere up to a height of about 10 km where the temperature falls with height and where convection is the dominant process for transfer of heat in the vertical

UNCED United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, held at Rio de Janeiro in June 1992, after which the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change was signed by 160 participating countries

UNEP United Nations Environmental Programme - one of the bodies that set up theIPCC

UNFCCC United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change with 192 member countries was agreed at the UNCED in 1992

UV Ultraviolet radiation watt Unit of power

WEC World Energy Council - an international body with a broad membership of both energy users and the energy industry wind farm Grouping of wind turbines for generating electric power

WMO World Meteorological Organization - one of the bodies that set up the IPCC

Younger Dryas event Cold climatic event that occurred for a period of about 1500 years, interrupting the warming of the Earth after the last ice age (so called because it was marked by the spread of an Arctic flower, Dryas octopetala). It was discovered by a study of palaeoclimatic data zooplankton Minute forms of animal life in the oceans

Renewable Energy Eco Friendly

Renewable Energy Eco Friendly

Renewable energy is energy that is generated from sunlight, rain, tides, geothermal heat and wind. These sources are naturally and constantly replenished, which is why they are deemed as renewable.

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