Climate Change : Glossary

There are 65 documents in this section.

  • Atmosphere

    21 February 2001

    The envelope of gases surrounding the Earth and other planets. Many of these gases are involved in chemical cycles such as the nitrogen and carbon cycles that sustain life on Earth and shape the planet's habitability. Nitrogen, oxygen, and water vapour make up more than 99% of the atmosphere, while so-called trace gases including carbon dioxide, methane and other "greenhouse" gases constitute the remainder.

  • Atmospheric pressure

    21 February 2001

    The pressure of atmospheric gases on the surface of the planet. High atomspheric pressure generally leads to stable weather conditions, whereas low atmospheric pressure leads to storms such as cyclones.

  • Business-as-usual

    21 February 2001

    The scenario for future world patterns or energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions which assumes that there will be no major changes in attitudes and priorities.

  • Carbon cycle

    21 February 2001

    The exchange of carbon in various forms between the atmosphere, the land and the oceans.

  • Carbon sink

    21 February 2001

    Repository for carbon dioxide (CO2) removed from the atmosphere. Oceans appear to be major sinks for storage of atmospheric

  • Celsius

    21 February 2001

    The Temperature scale, sometimes known as centigrade scale. Its fixed points are the freezing point of water (0o and the boiling point of water (100oC).

  • Climate

    21 February 2001

    Climate the average weather in a particular region.

  • Climate sensitivity

    21 February 2001

    The global average temperature rise under doubled carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere.

  • Coral bleaching

    21 February 2001

    Occurs when coral organisms (polyps) die or migrate away from a coral reef to the extent that it loses colour. Mass-bleaching events have been associated with small increases in sea temperature.

  • Deforestation

    21 February 2001

    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 trees previously took carbon dioxide from the atmosphere in the process of photosynthesis.