Climate glosary

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  • Publicado : 1 de noviembre de 2011
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Glossary

A
1. Adaptation: Taking actions to avoid, benefit from, or deal with current and future climate change. Adaptation can take place in advance (by planning before an impact occurs) or in response to changes that are already occurring.

2. Aerosol: A collection of tiny solid or liquid particles in the atmosphere that can come from natural sources (such as wildfires, dust storms,and volcanoes) or people’s activities (such as burning fossil fuels). Some aerosols make the atmosphere warmer because they absorb energy. Others have a cooling effect because they reflect sunlight back to space. Aerosols also influence cloud formation.

3. Allergen: A substance, such as pollen, mold, and dust mites, that causes allergies.

4. Asthma: A disease that affects a person’slungs and can make it difficult to breathe. Many factors can trigger an asthma attack. For some people, these triggers may include air pollution, allergens, heavy exercise, or certain weather conditions.

5. Atmosphere: A mixture of nitrogen, oxygen, carbon dioxide, and other gases that surrounds the Earth. The atmosphere is critical to supporting life on Earth.

6. Atom: The basicbuilding block of all the matter in the universe. Every element (for example, carbon or oxygen) represents a unique type of atom. Atoms combine together to make molecules such as carbon dioxide.

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7. Barometer: An instrument that measures the air pressure of the atmosphere. Differences in air pressure are responsible for wind and weather patterns, and low pressure is generally associated withstorms.

8. Biodiesel: A type of biofuel typically made from soybean, canola, or other vegetable oils; animal fats; or recycled grease. Biodiesel can be blended with regular diesel fuel and used in most diesel engines. Some engines can also be modified to run on pure biodiesel.

9. Biofuel: A type of fuel produced from plants or other forms of biomass. Examples of biofuels includeethanol, biodiesel, and biogas.

10. Biogas: A type of biofuel that contains methane from landfills, animal waste, sewage, or other decomposing waste materials. Biogas can be burned to produce heat or electricity.

11. Biomass: Material that comes from living things, including trees, crops, grasses, and animals and animal waste. Some kinds of biomass, such as wood and biofuels, can be burned toproduce energy.

C

12. Carbon: A chemical element that is essential to all living things. Carbon combines with other elements to form a variety of different compounds. Plants and animals are made up of carbon compounds, and so are certain minerals. Carbon combines with oxygen to make a gas called carbon dioxide.

13. Carbon cycle: The movement and exchange of carbon through livingorganisms, the ocean, the atmosphere, rocks and minerals, and other parts of the Earth. Carbon moves from one place to another through various chemical, physical, geological, and biological processes.

14. Carbon dioxide: A colorless, odorless greenhouse gas. It is produced naturally when dead animals or plants decay, and it is used by plants during photosynthesis. People are adding carbondioxide into the atmosphere, mostly by burning fossil fuels such as coal, oil, and natural gas. This extra carbon dioxide is the main cause of climate change.

15. Carbon dioxide equivalent: A unit of measurement that can be used to compare the emissions of various greenhouse gases based on how long they stay in the atmosphere and how much heat they can trap. For example, over a period of 100years, 1 pound of methane will trap as much heat as 25 pounds of carbon dioxide. Thus, 1 pound of methane is equal to 25 pounds of carbon dioxide equivalents.

16. Carbon footprint: The total amount of greenhouse gases that are emitted into the atmosphere each year by a person, family, building, organization, or company. A person’s carbon footprint includes greenhouse gas emissions from fuel...
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