cdiac.ornl.gov

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Definitions (304)

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climatic optimum


The period in history from about 5000 to about 2500 B.C. during which surface air temperatures were warmer than at present in nearly all regions of the world. In the Arctic region, the temperature rose many degrees, and in temperate regions, the increase was 1.0 degrees - 1.7 degrees C. In this period, glaciers and ice sheets receded greatly, and t [..]
Source: cdiac.ornl.gov

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geostrophic flow


A type of movement where the Coriolis force balances exactly the horizontal pressure force.
Source: cdiac.ornl.gov

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longwave radiation


The radiation emitted in the spectral wavelength greater than 4 micrometers corresponding to the radiation emitted from the Earth and atmosphere. It is sometimes referred to as terrestrial radiation or infrared radiation, although somewhat imprecisely. M
Source: cdiac.ornl.gov

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planetary albedo


The fraction (approximately 30%) of incident solar radiation that is reflected by the earth-atmosphere system and returned to space, mostly by backscatter from clouds in the atmosphere.
Source: cdiac.ornl.gov

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radiation balance


The difference between the absorbed solar radiation and the net infrared radiation. Experimental data show that radiation from the earth's natural surfaces is rather close to the radiation from a black body at the corresponding temperature; the ratio of the observed values of radiation to black body radiation is generally 0.90 - 1.0.
Source: cdiac.ornl.gov

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terrestrial radiation


The total infrared radiation emitted by the Earth and its atmosphere in the temperature range of approximately 200-300K. Because the Earth is nearly a perfect radiator, the radiation from its surface varies as the fourth power of the surface's absolute temperature. Terrestrial radiation provides a major part of the potential energy changes nec [..]
Source: cdiac.ornl.gov

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trace gas


A minor constituent of the atmosphere. The most important trace gases contributing to the greenhouse effect are water vapor, carbon dioxide, ozone, methane, ammonia, nitric acid, nitrous oxide, ethylene, sulfur dioxide, nitric oxide, dichlorofluoromethane or Freon 12, trichlorofluoromethane or Freon 11, methyl chloride, carbon monoxide, and carbon [..]
Source: cdiac.ornl.gov

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ablation


All processes, which include melting, evaporation (sublimation), wind erosion, and calving (breaking off of ice masses), that remove snow or ice from a glacier or snowfield. The term also refers to the amount of snow or ice removed by these processes.
Source: cdiac.ornl.gov

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abscission


Shedding by a plant of its parts, such as leaves, flowers, fruits, or seeds. The process is regulated by the plant hormone abscisic acid.
Source: cdiac.ornl.gov

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absorption coefficient


A measure of the amount of radiant energy, incident normal to a planar surface, that is absorbed per unit distance or unit mass of a substance.
Source: cdiac.ornl.gov


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