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All IPCC definitions taken from Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis. Working Group I Contribution to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Annex I, Glossary, pp. 941-954. Cambridge University Press.

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2012 SkS Weekly Digest #20

Posted on 21 May 2012 by John Hartz

SkS Highlights

Rob Painting's David Evans: All at Sea about Ocean Warming and Sea Level Rise and Dana's Climate Change Consequences - Often Unexpected received the most attention (as measured by comments posted) by SkS readers during the past week. Rob Honeycutt's Who Are the Most Prominent Advocates of Global Warming? came in third using the "comments posted" metric.

Toon of the Week


Source: Joe Mohr's Cartoon Archive

Quote of the Week

 "Averaging the global land and ocean as a whole, the combined land and ocean surface temperature during April 2012 was 0.65°C (1.17°F) above the 20th century average of 13.7°C (56.7°F), marking the fifth warmest April since records began in 1880 and the 326th consecutive month with a global temperature above the 20th century average. February 1985 was the last month with below-average temperatures, at 0.01°C (0.02°F) below average. This was also the warmest global land and ocean surface temperature anomaly since November 2010, near the onset of first back-to-back La Niñas in 2010."

Source: State of the Climate Global Analysis April 2012, National (US) Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, May, 2012 

Issue of the Week 

Does SkS pay enough attention to ocean acidification? 

Words of the Week

Climate: Climate in a narrow sense is usually defined as the average weather, or more rigorously, as the statistical description in terms of the mean and variability of relevant quantities over a period of time ranging from months to thousands or millions of years. The classical period for averaging these variables is 30 years, as defined by the World Meteorological Organization. The relevant quantities are most often surface variables such as temperature, precipitation and wind. Climate in a wider sense is the state, including a statistical description, of the climate system. In various chapters in this report different averaging periods, such as a period of 20 years, are also used.

Climate system: The climate system is the highly complex system consisting of five major components: the atmosphere, the hydrosphere, the cryosphere, the land surface and the biosphere, and the interactions between them. The climate system evolves in time under the influence of its own internal dynamics and because of external forcings such as volcanic eruptions, solar variations and anthropogenic forcings such as the changing composition of the atmosphere and land-use change.

Climate change: Climate change refers to a change in the state of the climate that can be identified (e.g., by using statistical tests) by changes in the mean and/or the variability of its properties, and that persists for an extended period, typically decades or longer. Climate change may be due to natural internal processes or external forcings, or to persistent anthropogenic changes in the composition of the atmosphere or in land use. Note that the Unite Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), in its Article 1, defines climate change as: ‘a change of climate which is attributed directly or indirectly to human activity that alters the composition of the global atmosphere and which is in addition to natural climate variability observed over comparable time periods’. The UNFCCC thus makes a distinction between climate change attributable to human activities altering the atmospheric composition, and climate variability attributable to natural causes. See also Climate variability; Detection and Attribution.

Source: Annex I (Glossary) to Climate Change 2007: Working Group I: The Physical Science Basis, IPCC Fourth Assessment Report.

The Week in Review

A complete listing of the articles posted on SkS during the past week. 

Coming Soon

A list of articles that are in the SkS pipeline. Most of these articles, but not necessarily all, will be posted during the week. 

  • Hansen and Sato Estimate Climate Sensitivity from Earth's History (Dana)
  • New research from last week 20/2012 (Ari Jokimäki)
  • If you want them to remember, tell a story (Tom Smerling)
  • HadCRUT4: A detailed look (Kevin C)
  • Modeled and Observed Ocean Heat Content - Is There a Discrepancy? (Dana)
  • Pen letter to an anonymous climate scientist(Dumb Scientist)
  • In Search Of: Himalayan Ice Loss (mspelto, Daniel Bailey)

SkS in the News

Ari Jokimäki's New research from last week 19/2012was re-posted on PlanetSave By Zachary Shahan under the title, Climate Science Weekly Research Roundup.

SkS Spotlights

The Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research is a leading institution for climate research based at the University of Bern, Switzerland. It was founded in the summer of 2007 and is named after Hans Oeschger (1927-1998), a pioneer of modern climate research who worked at the University of Bern.

The Oeschger Centre brings together researchers from nine institutes and four faculties and carries out interdisciplinary research that is at the forefront of climate research. Only through the co-operation of the fields of natural, human and social sciences as well as economics and law can we find ways to deal with the various levels of global climate change: regionally embedded and globally linked.

The University of Bern has a tradition in climate research that spans more than 150 years and is the leading house of the National Centre of Competence in Research Climate (NCCR Climate). Approximately 40 professors teach and conduct research in various areas that deal with questions on climate change. Approximately 35 PhD theses on climate change are submitted each year.

The Oeschger Centre does not only conduct research of high international standard, but also trains young scientists. The Graduate School of Climate Sciences offers a specialised, internationally oriented Masters degree in climate sciences. This unique graduate degree is carried out in close co-operation with the ETH Zurich.

On the one hand, the Oeschger Centre examines the long-term development and dynamics of the climate system, as well as the present and future climate. On the other hand, the effects of climate change on important land ecosystems as well as on the economy and society are investigated. In particular, strategies are being developed to adapt to and to mitigate climate change.

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Comments 1 to 4:

  1. Toon of the Week Nice ball, nice sentiments - but a green greenland and Antarctica!
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  2. Have you checked another fingerprint of climate change reported by realclimate here?. That's based on Durack et al. (2012) research about the change in salinity from ARGO data spanning 1950-2000. I don't have access to the full text of Durack et al. (2012), so I'm asking a question to someone who has: how Durack came out to the number of hydrological cycle sensitivity of ~8%/°C. How did he justify the surface salinity is due to change in precipitation and not other factors like the currents? That's an interesting number quantifying the increased intensity of floods and droughts we are facing in the warmer world. Apparently this number is higher than that predicted by ocean-atmospheric circulation climate models. I think SkS should also say their comment on that interesting new research.
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  3. I am not sure this is right place for this but it certainly belongs on SkS.
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  4. re Ocean Acidification See Ted Talk: 'Melissa Garren: The sea we’ve hardly seen' and the anwer to your question is 'probably not'
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