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Definitions (154)

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atmosphere


The gaseous envelope surrounding the Earth. The dry atmosphere consists almost entirely of nitrogen (78.1% volume mixing ratio) and oxygen (20.9% volume mixing ratio), together with a number of trace gases, such as argon (0.93% volume mixing ratio), helium, radiatively active greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide (0.035% volume mixing ratio), and [..]
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trace gas


Any one of the less common gases found in the Earth's atmosphere. Nitrogen, oxygen, and argon make up more than 99 percent of the Earth's atmosphere. Other gases, such as carbon dioxide, water vapor, methane, oxides of nitrogen, ozone, and ammonia, are considered trace gases. Although relatively unimportant in terms of their absolute volu [..]
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water vapor


The most abundant greenhouse gas, it is the water present in the atmosphere in gaseous form. Water vapor is an important part of the natural greenhouse effect. While humans are not significantly increasing its concentration through direct emissions, it contributes to the enhanced greenhouse effect because the warming influence of greenhouse gases l [..]
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abrupt climate change


Sudden (on the order of decades), large changes in some major component of the climate system, with rapid, widespread effects.
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adaptation


Adjustment or preparation of natural or human systems to a new or changing environment which moderates harm or exploits beneficial opportunities.
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adaptive capacity


The ability of a system to adjust to climate change (including climate variability and extremes) to moderate potential damages, to take advantage of opportunities, or to cope with the consequences.
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aerosols


Small particles or liquid droplets in the atmosphere that can absorb or reflect sunlight depending on their composition.
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afforestation


Planting of new forests on lands that historically have not contained forests. [1]
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albedo


The amount of solar radiation reflected from an object or surface, often expressed as a percentage.
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alternative energy


Energy derived from nontraditional sources (e.g., compressed natural gas, solar, hydroelectric, wind). [2]
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