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Comprehensive climate glossary

Filed under: — rasmus @ 9 August 2008

Glossary cartoon from Marc Roberts Recently we received a request for setting up a glossary-only search mechanism, or perhaps one web page with a long list of glossary entries with hot links to full explanations. The glossary that we already have is a good start, but we are all busy and it’s hard to find the time for extending this.

But there are also a number of external web pages which provide climate-related glossaries, such as the NOAA (they also have a seperate page for paleo-stuff), the Bureau of Meteorology (Australia, and there is even one by the Australian EPA), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA, the U.S.), and the Western Regional Climate Center (WRCC, the U.S.). Wikipedia also has a glossary for climatological terms.

For those who seek the explanation for more bureaucratic terms, both the EU and the UNFCCC provide glossaries that may be useful.

Furthermore, there are some nice resources available, such as the Encyclopedia of Earth.

11 Responses to “Comprehensive climate glossary”

  1. 1
    David says:

    Shouldn’t that be the environmental protection agency ? Or is it a joke that I’m not getting ?

    [Response: yes – sorry about that – now fixed. – gavin]

  2. 2
    Dave Rado says:

    Why not turn your existing glossary page into a wiki so that those who do have more time can extend it using the other references you linked to?


  3. 3
    John Ransley says:

    Thanks. Link for encyclopedia of earth doesn’t load in either Firefox or IE.

  4. 4
    Ike Solem says:

    Here’s the IPCC glossary for the FAR, as well:

    Here is an interesting report on the links between tropical temperatures and increased likelihood of extreme precipitation events:

    There do seem to be a higher than normal number of floods these past few years (Britain, China, United States), but can we attribute that to global warming, or not?

    The report, “Atmospheric Warming and the Amplification of Precipitation Extremes,” previewed in Science Express this Thursday, August 7, and published in an upcoming issue of Science, found that both observations and models indicated an increase in heavy rainstorms in response to a warmer climate. However, the observed amplification of rainfall extremes was found to be substantially larger in the observations than what is predicted by current models.

  5. 5

    And there’s all that climate-speak and slang — which I don’t suggest putting in a regular climate change glossary, but might be fun in a “Dictionary of Climate-Speak.”

    I got this link from the Journalistic Whiplash post, re Thomas Friedman’s editorial on “Climate-Speak”:

    “Climate weirding” would be one such term. And to make a distinction among climate denialists, skeptics, and contrarians, I’d suggest:

    CLIMATE DENIALIST: a person who probably knows anthropogenic climate change is happening, but claims it is not, for various motives, such as financial or political considerations. They might change their claims if there is some financial or political advantage in doing so.

    CLIMATE CONTRARIAN: a person who refuses to accept that anthropogenic climate change is happening, most likely because of psychological conditions, such as inflexibility, a desire to be different, or fear of political or economic repercussions if people try to mitigate anthropogenic global warming. They probably will not change their mind, no matter how much evidence is provied.

    CLIMATE SKEPTIC: a person who has not yet been convinced anthropogenic global warming is happening, but is open to being convinced if presented with the evidence. There are very few legitimate climate skeptics left.

  6. 6
    Robert Friedman says:

    It would be great to have an easily accessible and organized web-page as a reference for helping fight global warming misinformation which is spewed out by energy lobbyists, conservative politicians, talk show hosts, and “think?”-tanks.

  7. 7
    rkiser says:

    I just love the idea of outside, other information. The only problem I see is using Wikipedia as some sort of knowledge source. This site derives it’s content from users. On the face of this, it looks good except that if you have a strong bias and something appears to “your” disliking, you can change an entry. This has become an opinion site and not the known truth site. Can we just go back to real papers, real greenhouse concentrations and the papers that support the conclusions.

  8. 8
    Pia Treichel says:

    FYI: that’s the Victorian EPA – in Australia, these powers are looked after by the states, not the federal government.

  9. 9
    Vincent van der Goes says:

    “CLIMATE SKEPTIC: a person who has not yet been convinced anthropogenic global warming is happening, but is open to being convinced if presented with the evidence. There are very few legitimate climate skeptics left.”

    If you mean among climate scientists, perhaps. But in wider circles, there are legions of ‘legitimate skeptics’, by your definition.

    Climate is an abstract, complicated science. Most ‘skeptic’ people sincerely believe in their own ideas. Even people with an academic degree can easily can get confused by some of the arguments raised by skeptics. So let’s please not accuse anyone of ill will too soon. The only way to convince anyone is to keep discussing facts.

  10. 10
    cgpandey says:

    Its so good that some one like you are doing so much for environment and nature. it will be great if we have user friendly pages of glossary search

  11. 11
    James Staples says:

    I haven’t had time to read all of the Postings regarding this entry – let alone the Research piece that you mentioned Jim Hansen having submitted (though I did just download it, and will do so – as I like to be a thoroughly up-to-date ‘Lay-Scientist’); but I didn’t seem to notice anyone having made mention of the possibility that – due to the influx of heavier Fresh Water from the melting Greenland Ice Sheets sinking right down to the Abysal Plain – the ‘Atlantic Conveyor’ could be shut down.
    As I understand it: this would not only plunge Europe into an Ice Age – which may have been what caused the LIG – it would also warm the Southern Ocean considerably, and thus lead to even more dramatic melting of the Antarctic Ice Sheets.
    This “One-Two Punch’ would seem to me to be the worst possible ‘worst case scenario’ – would you not agree?
    Please let me know what – if anything – you Good Folks have been thinking about, or finding out about, this possibility.
    Thank You – I’ll keep Signing those Greenpeace and We Campaign Petitions, and raising as much of an On Line stink as I can for the “Drill, Drill, Drill” Morons.
    Maybe we could convince them to ‘Drill, Drill, Drill,’ for a Nice New Geothermal Plant, eh?