Climate Change Glossary
Word Definitions Related to
Climate Change and Global Warming
Climate varies continually on all time scales. Detection of climate change is the process of demonstrating that climate has changed in some defined statistical sense, without providing a reason for that change. Attribution of causes of climate change is the process of establishing the most likely causes for the detected change with some defined level of confidence.
Detection of climate change
The process of demonstrating that climate has changed in some defined statistical sense, without providing a reason for that change.
Diurnal temperature range
The difference between the maximum and minimum temperature during a day.
Dobson Unit (DU)
A unit to measure the total amount of ozone in a vertical column above the Earth’s surface. The number of Dobson Units is the thickness in units of 10-5 m, that the ozone column would occupy if compressed into a layer of uniform density at a pressure of 1013 hPa, and a temperature of 0°C. One DU corresponds to a column of ozone containing 2.69 x1020 molecules per square meter. A typical value for the amount of ozone in a column of the Earth’s atmosphere, although very variable, is 300 DU.
Climate scenarios contain various driving forces of climate change, including population growth and socio-economic and technological development. These drivers encompass various future scenarios that might influence greenhouse gas sources and sinks, such as the energy system and land use change.
Drought ['draut]. A period of abnormally dry weather long enough to cause serious shortages of water for agriculture and other needs in the affected area.
Dangerous climate change
A level of climate change that will have severe impacts on societies, economies and the natural world. WWF defines dangerous climate change as rise in average global surface temperatures of 2ºC or more (above pre-industrial revolution average surface temperatures).
Those practices or processes that result in the conversion of forested lands for non-forest uses. This is often cited as one of the major causes of the enhanced greenhouse effect for two reasons: 1) the burning or decomposition of the wood releases carbon dioxide; and 2) trees that once removed carbon dioxide from the atmosphere in the process of photosynthesis are no longer present.
Land degradation in arid, semi-arid, and dry sub-humid areas resulting from various factors, including climatic variations and human activities. Further, the UNCCD (The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification) defines land degradation as a reduction or loss, in arid, semi-arid, and dry sub-humid areas, of the biological or economic productivity and complexity of rain-fed cropland, irrigated cropland, or range, pasture, forest, and woodlands resulting from land uses or from a process or combination of processes, including processes arising from human activities and habitation patterns, such as: (i) soil erosion caused by wind and/or water; (ii) deterioration of the physical, chemical and biological or economic properties of soil; and (iii) long-term loss of natural vegetation. Conversion of forest to non-forest.
Detection and attribution
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