Chapter 18 - Global Climate Change Flashcards Preview

AP Environmental Science Vocabulary > Chapter 18 - Global Climate Change > Flashcards

Flashcards in Chapter 18 - Global Climate Change Deck (24):

global climate change

systematic change in aspects of Earth's climate, such as temperature, precipitation, and storm intensity, generally refers today to the global warming trend in global temperatures and the many associated with climate change


global warming

an increase in Earth's average surface temperature the term is most frequently used in reference to the pronounced global warming trend of recent years and decades. global warming is one aspect of global climate change and in turn drivers other components of climate change


greenhouse gases

a gas that absorbs infrared radiation released by Earth's surface and then warms the surface and troposphere by emitting energy, thus giving rise to the greenhouse effect. greenhouse gases include CO2, water vapor, O3, N2O, halocarbons, and methane (CH4)


greenhouse effect

the warming of Earth's surface and atmosphere (especially troposphere), caused by the energy emitted by greenhouse gases


radiative farling

the amount of change in thermal energy that a factor (such as greenhouse gas or an aerosol) cause in influencing Earth's temperature. positive forcing warms Earth's surface, where as negative forcing cools it



climate in the geological past


proxy indicator

a surface of indirect evidence that serves as a proxy, or substitute, for direct measurement that sheds light on past climate. examples include data from ice cores, sediment cores, tree rings, packrat middens, and coral reefs


climate model

a computer program that combines what is known about weather patterns, atmospheric circulation, atmospheric-ocean interactions, and feedback mechanisms, in order to simulate climate processes


radiative focing

the amount of change in thermal energy that a factor (such as a greenhouse gas or an aerosol) causes in inlfuencing Earth's temperature. positive forcing warms Earth's surface whereas negative forcing cools Earth's surface


intergovernmental panel on climate change (IPCC)

an international panel of climate scientists and government officials estavlidhed in 1988 by the UN Environmental program and the world meteorological organization. the IPCC's mission is to assess and sythesize scientific research on global climate change and to offer guidence to the world's policy makers, primarily through periodic published reports


Milankovitch cycle

one of three types of variations on Earth's rotation and orbit around the sun that result in slight changes in the relative amount of solar radiation reaching Earth's surface at different latitudes. as the cycles proceed, they change the way solar radiation is distributed over Earth's surface and contribute to changes in atmospheric heating and circulation that have triggered glaciations and other climate changes


ocean acidification

the process by which today's oceans are becoming more acidic as a result of increased CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere. ocean acidification occurs as ocean water absorbs (O2 from the air and forms carbonic acid. this impairs the ability of corals and other organisms to build exoskeletons of calcium carbonate, imperiling coral reefs and the many organisms that depend on them



the pursuit of strategies to lessen the severity of climate change, notability by reducing emissions of greenhouse gases



the pursuit of strategies to protect ourselves from the impact of climate change


carbon capture

technologies or approaches that remove CO2 from power plant or other emissions, in an effort to mitigate global climate change. we are still a long way from developing adequate technology and secure storage space to accomplish this also called carbon storage



a permit trading system


U.N. framework convention on climate change

an international treaty signed in 1992 outlining a plan to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. gave rise to the Kyoto protocol


Kyoto protocol

an international agreement drafted in 1997 that called for reducing, by 2012, 6 greenhouse gases to levels lower than their levels in 1990. it has been extended to 2020 until a replacement treaty can be reached



a program of carbon taxes in which proceeds from the taxes are paid to consumers as a tax refund or "dividend". this strategy seeks to prevent consumers from losing money if polluters pass their costs along to them


carbon tax

a fee changed to entities that pollute by emitting CO2. a carbon tax gives polluters a financial incentive to reduce pollution and is thus foreseen as a way to address global climate change


carbon offsets

a voluntary payment to another entity intended to enable that entity to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that one is unable or unwilling to reduce oneself. the payment thus offsets one's own emissions.



the state in which an individual, business, or institution emits no net carbon to the atmosphere. this may be achieved by reducing carbon emissions and or employing carbon offsets to offset emissions



any of a suite of proposed efforts to cool Earth's climate by removing CO2 from the atmosphere or reflecting sunlight away from Earth's surface. such ideas are controversial and are not nearly ready to implement


carbon footprint

the cumulative amount of carbon, or CO2, that a person or institution emits and is indirectly responsible for emitting, into the atmosphere, contributing to global climate change