Climate Science Glossary

Term Lookup

Enter a term in the search box to find its definition.


Use the controls in the far right panel to increase or decrease the number of terms automatically displayed (or to completely turn that feature off).

Term Lookup


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.

Home Arguments Software Resources Comments The Consensus Project Translations About Support

Bluesky Facebook LinkedIn Mastodon MeWe

Twitter YouTube RSS Posts RSS Comments Email Subscribe

Climate's changed before
It's the sun
It's not bad
There is no consensus
It's cooling
Models are unreliable
Temp record is unreliable
Animals and plants can adapt
It hasn't warmed since 1998
Antarctica is gaining ice
View All Arguments...

New? Register here
Forgot your password?

Latest Posts


New research, January 21-27, 2019

Posted on 1 February 2019 by Ari Jokimäki

A selection of new climate related research articles is shown below.

Climate change

Temperature, precipitation, wind

Addressing the relocation bias in a long temperature record by means of land cover assessment

Interannual Variability of Summer Surface Air Temperature over Central India: Implications for Monsoon Onset (open access)

Skilful seasonal prediction of Korean winter temperature (open access)

Evaluation of ENACTS?Rwanda; A New Multi?Decade, High?Resolution Rainfall and Temperature Dataset: Climatology

Assessment of temperature and rainfall changes in the Karoun River basin

Volta basin precipitation and temperature climatology: evaluation of CORDEX-Africa regional climate model simulations

Effects of Arctic stratospheric ozone changes on spring precipitation in the northwestern United States (open access)

How well the downscaled CMIP5 models able to reproduce the monsoon precipitation over seven homogeneous zones of India?

Evaluation and Future Projection of Chinese Precipitation Extremes using Large Ensemble High-Resolution Climate Simulations (open access)

Is equatorial Africa getting wetter or drier? Insights from an evaluation of long?term, satellite?based rainfall estimates for western Uganda

Spatial patterns and time distribution of Central European extreme precipitation events between 1961 and 2013

Atmospheric moisture measurements explain increases in tropical rainfall extremes

Analysis of near-surface wind speed change in China during 1958–2015

Extreme events

Drought and famine in India, 1870?2016

Dynamical downscaling the impact of spring Western US land surface temperature on the 2015 flood extremes at the Southern Great Plains: effect of domain choice, dynamic cores and land surface parameterization

Possible causes of the flooding over South China during the 2015/16 winter

Wetland loss impact on long term flood risks in a closed watershed

Incorporating inland flooding into hurricane evacuation decision support modeling

Reexamining the decadal change of tropical cyclogenesis over the South China Sea around the mid?1990s

Physical–Statistical Model for Summer Extreme Temperature Events over South Korea (open access)

Forcings and feedbacks

On the diurnal, weekly, and seasonal cycles and annual trends in atmospheric CO2 at Mount Zugspitze, Germany, during 1981–2016 (open access)

The role of anthropogenic aerosol forcing in inter?decadal variations of summertime upper?tropospheric temperature over East Asia (open access)

Dynamically controlled ozone decline in the tropical mid-stratosphere observed by SCIAMACHY (open access)

An evaluation of Australia as a major source of dust

Diagnosing the impacts of Northern Hemisphere surface albedo biases on simulated climate (open access)


Four decades of Antarctic Ice Sheet mass balance from 1979–2017

Changes in the mountain glaciers of continental Russia during the twentieth to twenty-first centuries

Quantifying the developed and developing worlds' carbon reduction contributions to Northern Hemisphere cryosphere change

Characterizing the behaviour of surge- and non-surge-type glaciers in the Kingata Mountains, eastern Pamir, from 1999 to 2016 (open access)

Monitoring changes in forestry and seasonal snow using surface albedo during 1982–2016 as an indicator (open access)

Sensitivity of active-layer freezing process to snow cover in Arctic Alaska (open access)


Long-term trend detection and spatiotemporal analysis of groundwater levels using GIS techniques in Lower Bhavani River basin, Tamil Nadu, India

Sea-level rise impacts on longitudinal salinity for a low-gradient estuarine system

Radiation, surface temperature and evaporation over wet surfaces

Atmospheric and oceanic circulation

Interdecadal change of the middle?upper tropospheric land?sea thermal contrast in the late 1990s and the associated Northern Hemisphere hydroclimate

Prediction of ocean surface trajectories using satellite derived vs. modeled ocean currents

Indian summer monsoon: Extreme events, historical changes, and role of anthropogenic forcings

The influence of mixing on the stratospheric age of air changes in the 21st century (open access)

Carbon and nitrogen cycles

Interpreting eddy covariance data from heterogeneous Siberian tundra: land-cover-specific methane fluxes and spatial representativeness (open access)

Ecosystem carbon response of an Arctic peatland to simulated permafrost thaw

On the role of climate modes in modulating the air–sea CO2 fluxes in eastern boundary upwelling systems (open access)

Drainage enhances modern soil carbon contribution but reduces old soil carbon contribution to ecosystem respiration in tundra ecosystems

Detection of Fossil and Biogenic Methane at Regional Scales Using Atmospheric Radiocarbon (open access)

Early season N2O emissions under variable water management in rice systems: source-partitioning emissions using isotope ratios along a depth profile (open access)

Large-scale predictions of salt-marsh carbon stock based on simple observations of plant community and soil type (open access)

Global nitrous oxide emissions from pasturelands and rangelands: Magnitude, spatio?temporal patterns and attribution

Have synergies between nitrogen deposition and atmospheric CO2 driven the recent enhancement of the terrestrial carbon sink?

Climate change impacts 


Predicting the impact of climate change on severe wintertime particulate pollution events in Beijing using extreme value theory

Responses of water insecure coastal communities of Tanzania to climate change impacts. Is it incremental or transformative adaptation?

Estimating investments in knowledge and planning activities for adaptation in developing countries: an empirical approach

Modeling spatial climate change landuse adaptation with multi-objective genetic algorithms to improve resilience for rice yield and species richness and to mitigate disaster risk (open access)

Impacts of global warming on confined livestock systems for growing-fattening pigs: simulation of heat stress for 1981 to 2017 in Central Europe (open access)

The impact of extreme weather events on livestock populations: the case of the 2011 drought in Mexico


A new process-based model for predicting autumn phenology: How is leaf senescence controlled by photoperiod and temperature coupling?

The effects of local climate on the correlation between weather and seed production differ in two species with contrasting masting habit

Effects of girdling on stem CO2 efflux and its temperature sensitivity in Chinese fir and sweetgum trees

Redefining temperate forest responses to climate and disturbance in the eastern United States: New insights at the mesoscale

Global patterns of body size evolution in squamate reptiles are not driven by climate

Climate?driven convergent evolution of plumage colour in a cosmopolitan bird

Growing season and radial growth predicted for Fagus sylvatica under climate change

Patterns of modern pollen and plant richness across northern Europe

Climate change mitigation

Climate change communication

Internet Memes, Media Frames, and the Conflicting Logics of Climate Change Discourse

How Aware Are Other Nations of Climate Change? Analyzing Germans’ Second-Order Climate Change Beliefs About Chinese, US American and German People

Public trust in energy suppliers’ communicated motives for investing in wind power

Canadian Weathercasters’ Current and Potential Role as Climate Change Communicators

Climate Policy

Whither the forest transition? Climate change, policy responses, and redistributed forests in the twenty-first century

Tax incentives to modernize the energy efficiency of the housing in Spain

Energy production

The bright side of PV production in snow-covered mountains

Projected climate change impacts on Indiana’s Energy demand and supply

Emission savings

Quantifying barriers to decarbonization of the Russian economy: real options analysis of investment risks in low-carbon technologies

Simulating growth-based harvest adaptive to future climate change (open access)

Assessing the carbon and climate benefit of restoring degraded agricultural peat soils to managed wetlands

Heterogeneity of grassland soil respiration: Antagonistic effects of grazing and nitrogen addition


Assessing the terrestrial capacity for Negative Emission Technologies in Ireland

CO2 leakage can cause loss of benthic biodiversity in submarine sands (open access)

Other papers


Flooding of the Caspian Sea at the intensification of Northern Hemisphere Glaciations

Vegetation and climate during the penultimate interglacial of the northeastern Russian Arctic: the Lake El'gygytgyn pollen record

Heinrich events show two-stage climate response in transient glacial simulations (open access)

Variations of the global annual mean surface temperature during the past 2000 years: results from the CESM1

Other environmental issues 

The short-term effects of air pollutants on hospitalizations for respiratory disease in Hefei, China

0 0

Printable Version  |  Link to this page


Comments 1 to 7:

  1. Regarding your "forcings and feedaback" section, with polar air cooling down large areas of the USA there is a huge net gain in radiation heat transfer to cold surfaces. The cold surfaces are radiating far less and, if the strength of solar energy is the same, then the overall radiation gain by these cold surfaces can be 50% higher (say they gain 200 W/m^2 at 20 deg C, then they could be gaining 300W/m^2 at 0 deg C). Earth would lose its highest percentage of heat via the 8 to 14 micron atmospheric window with surface temperatures of 79 deg C. At 0 deg C we are losing the battle when it comes to overall radiation heat transfer (huge overall gain).

    0 0
  2. "At 0 deg C we are losing the battle when it comes to overall radiation heat transfer (huge overall gain)."

    I don't see this. Only a few places are experiencing unusually cold temperatures right now. On the whole the earth is warming and winters are becoming milder so there would be no enhanced global level heat gain from solar energy. Or maybe I have missinterpreted the comment. Don't claim any expertise in it.

    I think you get enhanced solar heat gain more from decreased albedo as the arctic melts, glaciers retreat, more water vapour absorbing solar energy directly, etc and this is a big part of the projected warming.

    0 0
  3. As this is your first post, Skeptical Science respectfully reminds you to please follow our comments policy. Thank You!

    0 0
  4. I may be off base on my logic – please respond. Let me throw another law in to the works: Beer- Lambert (Absorption of light in a substance is a product of the distance, concentration, and absorption coefficient). Using published CO2 absorption coefficient of 20.2 m^2/mole (at 15um) the distance at which 99%+ of this wave length is absorbed at 400ppm CO2 is 16m. If the concentration is doubled (800ppm) the 99% distance lessens to about 8m. Since the energy (temperature in a fixed volume) is proportional to the light absorbed the air below 8m would be hotter in the 800ppm air. But this effect would only last as long as the air did not mix. But it is a gas and it will mix. Since the energy absorbed is the same at 400ppm or 800ppm the temperature of the mixed gas will be the same. The temperature (energy) comes from the radiation not the gas. The other 2 wave lengths of CO2 have slightly different coefficients but will result in the same mixed effect.
    For any gas in the atmosphere there is a concentration at a specific wave length where all the light is absorbed before it escapes from the atmosphere. Gases with concentration above this escape concentration will not absorb more light (energy) if their concentration is increased (saturated gas). Gases with concentration below this escape concentration will absorb more light (up to the saturated concentration). CO2 and water are examples of saturated gases. Methane and SO2 most likely are unsaturated. Therefore CO2 and water cannot be any part of the observed gw. They are just good greenhouse gases that absorb all their wave length of light in the lower atmosphere. Only a change in the light they can absorb will cause a temperature change. Albedo can make the light they can absorb change.
    A simple look at albedo’s contribution to gw: Using IPCC’s correlation of global temperature rise of 0.5’C/watt/m^2. The entire temperature rise from 1870 to present is 0.8’C, the IPCC says this is equivalent to 1.6 watt/m^2. Using solar radiation reaching the earth of 960 watt/m^2. Doing a simple proportion shows that only a 0.17% change in total earths albedo since 1870 would be needed to account for all the temperature change (about 0.7% if just land mass albedo). On an annual bases we would need a detection method that could see 0.005%/year change in albedo. What’s the possibility that man has added enough roads, roof tops, parking lots, and burned enough rain forests to account for a 0.7% change since 1870? Statistical correlation show about a 2’C higher temperature in urban measurements since 1900. Albedo is a powerful variable in climate change. It is what causes all our weather, evaporates water and moves almost all weather systems for west to east.

    0 0
  5. blaisct @4

    With respect your understanding of the principles isn't correct. Therefore whether the logic is right or wrong is irrelevant.

    The Beer Lambert Law is the linear relationship between absorbance and concentration of an "absorbing species". Not all gases absorb equally. Gases like oxygen molecule only absorb UV and break down in the very upper atmosphere above 80kms, and lower down its CO2 which absorbs long wave  energy, and this is causing global warming near the surface which is what is relevant to us.

    Shortwave radiation from the sun heats surface features. It explains some warming over the early part of last century, but not enough to set in motion some feedback effect causing hugely reduced albedo.

    Regarding human caused changes in albedo since 1900. This doesn't explain global warming either. Urbanisation reduces albedo, but less than 1% of the world is urbanised. Deforestation increases albedo! So things essentially cancel out. Refer article below for a fuller review of the albedo issues:

    Therefore greenhouse warming is the prime cause of global warming since the 1980's, and this in turn leads to reduced albedo in terms of reduced ice cover, and so some warming from SWR.

    You say: "Albedo is a powerful variable in climate change. It is what causes all our weather, evaporates water and moves almost all weather systems for west to east."

    I don't think so. I have only done some university geography, so not a climate scientist, but I was taught weather was caused by redistribution of heat from equator to poles etcetera, water evaporated if it was above zero degrees so is just basically due to the sun or greenhouse changes, and the flow of weather systems west to east was the coriolis effect and pressue differences. I guess the textbooks are all wrong and you are right (sarc). Or was your comment deliberate satire?

    0 0
  6. blaisct @4,
    You present a strange argument.
    I think your molecular cross-section of CO2 is far too low for 15 microns, your photon path-length too long, and it is not so simple as this because of line boradening at higher pressures.
    That aside, the photon path length will indeed halve with a doubling of CO2 concentration (and ignoring that temperature is not fully defined by radiative effects), there will be a temperature gradient mechanism (warming the upper atmosphere) due to CO2 at the lower warmer atmosphere being able to shoot more photons (transmit more energy) up than the cooler higher atmospher cane shoot back down. But thus mechanism will be balanced by convection to maintain the lapse rate. Mixing is very minor (as is convection) in the atmosphere outside major storms.
    The energy absorbed will rise with a doubling of CO2 as will the ability to shoot away photons. The temperature will rise as the population of photon-not-shot-away will be higher, adding energy to the air about and this balanced by increasing photon shooting in all directions - the extra absorption of photons under double CO2 has then to be balanced by increased temperature to allow these extra photons to be shot away.
    The "other 2 wavelengths of CO2" (presumably wave-bands) are not major IR absorbers within today's atmosphere.
    The ability to shoot photons into space is dependent on the concentration in the atmosphere-above allowing gaps to exist. Any increase in CO2 concentrations will close these gaps so increase absorption, increasing the height at which photons can escape. This height-rise means lower temperatures at which photons are shot into space (this while the point of escape is still within the troposphere) and so being cooler, less photons will be shot into space at that wavelength, reducing this global energy flux. This is the major mechanism of CO2 warming across the 15 micron waveband. The higher the concentrations of CO2, the shorter the photon path length and the denser the absorbing events and the higher the escape altitude.
    Given you seem to them proceed assuming "CO2 and water cannot be any part of the observed gw" which is simply wrong, I don't think it woud be helpful to point out any further mistaken logic.

    0 0
  7. nigelj@5, a bit OT, but just coming out of another record breaking January here in eastern Australia, it seems to be largely driven by a lack of cloud cover over the tropical north of the continent. Clouds are obviously a component of global albedo, but regardless of whether global albedo is increasing or decreasing it's possble that there are long term trends with regional specificity.      

    0 0

You need to be logged in to post a comment. Login via the left margin or if you're new, register here.

The Consensus Project Website


(free to republish)

© Copyright 2024 John Cook
Home | Translations | About Us | Privacy | Contact Us