Climate Change Glossary
Word Definitions Related to
Climate Change and Global Warming
A process that alters the energy balance of the climate system, i.e. changes the relative balance between incoming solar radiation and outgoing infrared radiation from Earth. Such mechanisms include changes in solar irradiance, volcanic eruptions, and enhancement of the natural greenhouse effect by emissions of greenhouse gases. See radiation, infrared radiation, radiative forcing.
A vegetation type dominated by trees. Many definitions of the term forest are in use throughout the world, reflecting wide differences in bio-geophysical conditions, social structure, and economics. For a discussion of the term forest and related terms such as afforestation, reforestation, and deforestation
The science and art of cultivating, maintaining, and developing forests.
Fossil CO2 (carbon dioxide) emissions
Emissions of CO2 resulting from the combustion of fuels from fossil carbon deposits such as oil, gas and coal.
fuel of biological (plant and animal) origin and largely comprised of carbon and hydrogen. Coal, gas and oil are all fossil fuels.
See Fossil fuel
Framework Convention on Climate Change
See: United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
ºF means and should be read as De·grees Fahr·en·heit [di-'grEs 'far-&n-"hIt]. Units for measuring temperature. Fahrenheit units represent a thermometric scale on which under standard atmospheric pressure the boiling point of water is at 212 degrees above the zero of the scale, the freezing point is at 32 degrees above zero, and the zero point approximates the temperature produced by mixing equal quantities by weight of snow and common salt.
Bright patches on the Sun. The area covered by faculae is greater during periods of high solar activity.
See: Climate feedback.
Factors which increase or amplify (positive feedback) or decrease (negative feedback) the rate of a process. An example of positive climatic feedback is the ice-albedo feedback. See climate feedback.
Carbon-fluorine compounds that often contain other elements such as hydrogen, chlorine, or bromine. Common fluorocarbons include chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), and perfluorocarbons (PFCs). See chlorofluorocarbons, hydrochlorofluorocarbons, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons, ozone depleting substance.
To avoid the problem of coupled atmosphere-ocean general circulation models drifting into some unrealistic climate state, adjustment terms can be applied to the atmosphere-ocean fluxes of heat and moisture (and sometimes the surface stresses resulting from the effect of the wind on the ocean surface) before these fluxes are imposed on the model ocean and atmosphere. Because these adjustments are precomputed and therefore independent of the coupled model integration, they are uncorrelated to the anomalies which develop during the integration. In Chapter 8 of this Report it is concluded that present models have a reduced need for flux adjustment.
or radiative forcing, is a measure of how internal or external factors affect climate. Internal forcing is part of the natural chaos of the climate system, for example ENSO. External forcing may be natural (e.g. volcanic eruptions or solar fluctuations) or anthropogenic (e.g. increasing greenhouse gases or aerosols). External forcing can change the Earth's energy balance, and hence its climate patterns.
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