Climate Change : Glossary

There are 65 documents in this section.

  • Ozone hole

    26 September 2001

    A popular name given to a phenomenon discovered in 1987, when scientists measured unexpectedly low ozone concentrations in the stratosphere above the South Pole during the Antarctic spring. It is now generally accepted that the loss of stratospheric ozone is caused by chemical reactions initiated by chlorofluorocarbons.

  • Pollution

    26 September 2001

    An undesirable contaminate (gas, liquid, noise, solid) which has been released into, and is now a part of, the environment.

  • Smog

    26 September 2001

    Originally a combination of smoke and fog, now used to describe other mixtures of air pollutants, especially ozone and other compounds formed when strong sunlight acts on a mixture of nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds from motor vehicle exhaust.

  • Solar thermal energy

    26 September 2001

    Energy produced by using the sun's rays to heat a gas or liquid that then performs useful work, such as powering an electrical generator. Electricity from solar thermal power plants is now nearly competitive in cost with electricity from conventinal fossil-fuel power plants.

  • Climate models

    8 August 2001

    Elaborate computer programs that simulate the interplay of the sun's energy with the Earth's land surface, oceans, and atmosphere. By changing equations in the program that represent factors such as the mix of gases in the atmosphere or the snow and ice on the Earth's surface, scientists can investigate how the Earth's climate (rainfall and temperature patterns) might change over time in response to human activities.

  • Ecology

    16 March 2001

    Originally defined by Ernst Haeckel in 1866, ecology is the study of the relationships that develop among living organisms and between these organisms and the environment.

  • Ice cores

    13 March 2001

    Columns of ice, usually up to 100 metres long, removed from ice sheets or glaciers and analysed to provide evidence of past environmental conditions.

  • Conservation (nature)

    9 March 2001

    Protection against irreversible destruction and other undesirable changes, including the management of human use of organisms or ecosystems to ensure such use is sustainable.

  • Agenda 21

    21 February 2001

    A document accepted by participating nations at UNCED on a wide range of environmental and development issues for the 21st century.

  • Anthrogenic effects

    21 February 2001

    Effects which result from human activities such as the burning of fossil fuels or deforestation.