Comprehensive overview of essential terms and phrases related to climate science and climate change, designed for individuals newly engaging with this critical subject.

Adaptation involves adjusting to actual or expected climate and its effects, in order to mitigate harm or exploit beneficial opportunities. For instance, building sea walls for rising sea levels.

Anthropogenic refers to effects or materials that are derived from human activities, as opposed to those occurring in natural environments without human influences. The term is often used to describe pollutants and greenhouse gases from industrial sources.

Biofuel is a type of energy derived from biological materials, such as plants or animal waste. Unlike fossil fuels, biofuels are considered renewable and can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions when burned for energy.

Biome is a large community of plants and animals that occupies a distinct region defined by its climate and vegetation. Examples include forests, deserts, and tundras, each supporting different types of life adapted to their environments.

Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) is a technology designed to capture and store carbon dioxide emissions from sources like power plants, preventing CO2 from entering the atmosphere and contributing to global warming.

Climate Model is a complex computer simulation that uses mathematical formulas to understand and predict climate behavior over time. These models are essential for forecasting future climate change scenarios based on different greenhouse gas emission pathways.

Desalination is the process of removing salt from seawater to produce fresh water. This technology is increasingly important in regions facing freshwater scarcity, although it is energy-intensive and has environmental impacts.

Decarbonization refers to the process of reducing carbon dioxide emissions through the use of low-carbon power sources, increasing energy efficiency, or capturing and storing carbon. It is a critical strategy in combating climate change.

Eco-friendly describes practices or products that are not harmful to the environment. This can include everything from biodegradable products to renewable energy sources, aiming to minimize environmental impact.

Entropy in the context of climate science, often relates to the measure of disorder or randomness in a system. Higher entropy states are typically associated with more dispersed energy, and understanding entropy is crucial in studying Earth’s energy balance and the efficiency of energy transformations in the climate system.

El Niño is a climate phenomenon characterized by the periodic warming of sea surface temperatures in the central and eastern Pacific Ocean. El Niño events can lead to significant weather variations, affecting precipitation and temperature patterns worldwide.

Feedback Loop in climate science refers to processes that can either amplify (positive feedback) or dampen (negative feedback) the effects of climate change. For example, melting ice reduces albedo, leading to more absorption of sunlight and further warming.

Fen is a type of wetland ecosystem characterized by peaty soil, dominated by grasses, rushes, reeds, and in some cases, shrubs and trees. Fens are important carbon sinks, trapping carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

Glacier Retreat is the process where glaciers lose mass and shrink in response to warming temperatures. This phenomenon is a visible and measurable indicator of climate change.

Green Economy refers to an economic system that aims at reducing environmental risks and ecological scarcities, and that aims for sustainable development without degrading the environment.

Habitat Fragmentation is the process by which large and contiguous habitats are divided into smaller, isolated fragments by human activities, affecting biodiversity and ecosystem function.

Heatwave is a prolonged period of excessively hot weather, which may be accompanied by high humidity. Climate change is increasing the frequency, intensity, and duration of heatwaves.

Indigenous Knowledge refers to the understanding, skills, and philosophies developed by societies with long histories of interaction with their natural surroundings. For climate change adaptation and mitigation, incorporating indigenous knowledge can offer sustainable and efficient solutions.

Invasive Species are non-native plants, animals, or microbes that spread rapidly in new environments, often causing harm to the environment, human health, or economy. Climate change can exacerbate the spread and impact of invasive species.

Jet Fuel from Bio-based Materials is an alternative to conventional, fossil-derived jet fuel. Made from renewable resources, it can significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions from aviation.

Joule is a unit of energy in the International System of Units. It is used to quantify the amount of energy transferred in processes, including those related to climate change, such as energy absorbed by the Earth's system.

Keystone Species is a species on which other species in an ecosystem largely depend, such that if it were removed the ecosystem would change drastically.

Kilowatt-hour (kWh) is a measure of energy equivalent to one kilowatt (1 kW) of power expended for one hour of time. It is commonly used to measure electrical energy consumption for households and businesses.

Landfill Gas to Energy is a process where methane gas emitted from decomposing waste in landfills is captured to generate electricity, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and harnessing renewable energy.

Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is a technique to assess environmental impacts associated with all the stages of a product's life from raw material extraction through

materials processing, manufacture, distribution, use, repair and maintenance, and disposal or recycling.

Mitigation Banking is a system where lands are preserved, enhanced, restored, or created to compensate for future conversions of ecosystems into developed land.

Microclimate refers to the climate of a small, specific place within an area as contrasted with the climate of the entire area. Microclimates can be influenced by lakes, slopes, vegetation, and urban areas.

Nanotechnology in Climate Solutions involves the use of nanoscale materials and processes to improve the efficiency of energy sources, reduce pollution, and enhance carbon sequestration techniques.

Natural Capital refers to the world's stocks of natural assets, including geology, soil, air, water, and all living things. It is from this natural capital that humans derive a wide range of services, often not recognized as being critical to our survival.

Ocean Currents are continuous, directed movements of seawater generated by forces acting upon the water, including wind, the Coriolis effect, breaking waves, cabbeling, and temperature and salinity differences. They play a crucial role in regulating the Earth’s climate.

Ozone Layer is a layer in the Earth's stratosphere containing a high concentration of ozone (O3), which absorbs most of the ultraviolet radiation reaching the Earth from the Sun, protecting living organisms from UV radiation's harmful effects.

Permafrost Thawing refers to the warming and subsequent melting of permafrost - ground, including rock or soil, that has been frozen for more than two consecutive years. Thawing permafrost can release methane, a potent greenhouse gas, exacerbating climate change.

Phytoplankton Blooms are rapid increases in the population of phytoplankton in water bodies, often related to increased temperatures or nutrient levels. While they are a key part of oceanic food chains, large blooms can disrupt ecosystems and deplete oxygen in water bodies.

Quaternary Sector refers to the knowledge-based part of the economy, which typically includes services such as information technology, information-generation and -sharing, media, and research and development. It plays a significant role in advancing climate change solutions through innovation.

Quantum Dots in solar cells are nanoscale semiconductor particles that have optical and electronic properties that differ from larger particles due to quantum mechanics. They can be used to create highly efficient solar cells, contributing to renewable energy solutions.

Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) represent proof that 1 megawatt-hour (MWh) of electricity was generated from an eligible renewable energy resource and was fed into the shared system of power lines which transport energy. RECs support the production of renewable energy and help to reduce the carbon footprint.

Resilience is the capacity of a system, community, or society potentially exposed to hazards to adapt by resisting or changing in order to reach and maintain an acceptable level of functioning and structure. This is determined by the degree to which the social system is capable of organizing itself to increase its capacity for learning from past disasters for better future protection and to improve risk reduction measures.

Sustainability involves meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs, especially with regard to the use and conservation of natural resources.

Sustainable Development is the organizing principle for meeting human development goals while simultaneously sustaining the ability of natural systems to provide the natural resources and ecosystem services upon which the economy and society depend.

Tipping Points in the climate system are thresholds that, when exceeded, can lead to significant and irreversible changes in the state of the system, such as the melting of the Greenland ice sheet or the dieback of the Amazon rainforest.

Transpiration is the process by which moisture is carried through plants from roots to small pores on the underside of leaves, where it changes to vapor and is released to the atmosphere. Transpiration plays a key role in the hydrological cycle and in cooling plants.

Urban Planning for Climate Adaptation involves designing cities and communities with the foresight to manage the impacts of climate change, including sea-level rise, more intense and frequent extreme weather events, and increased temperatures.

Ultraviolet Radiation (UV) is a form of electromagnetic radiation with a wavelength from 10 nm to 400 nm, shorter than that of visible light but longer than X-rays. UV radiation from the sun plays an important role in the Earth's climate system and affects human health.

Vegetation Management in the context of climate change involves the strategic control, protection, and restoration of vegetation to mitigate climate change effects, enhance carbon sequestration, and reduce vulnerability to wildfires, pests, and diseases.

Voluntary Emission Reductions (VERs) are reductions in greenhouse gas emissions made voluntarily by individuals or companies that are not mandated by law. VERs can be sold or traded in the carbon market.

Water Cycle is the process by which water circulates between the Earth

's oceans, atmosphere, and land, involving precipitation as rain and snow, drainage in streams and rivers, and return to the atmosphere by evaporation and transpiration.

Wetland Restoration involves the process of returning degraded or drained wetland ecosystems back to their natural state. Restoration activities improve water quality, increase wildlife habitat, and enhance carbon sequestration.

Xeric Landscaping involves designing landscapes to reduce or eliminate the need for irrigation. It incorporates drought-resistant plants and water-efficient practices, which is increasingly important in regions affected by water scarcity and climate change.

Xylophagous Organisms are organisms that feed on wood. In the context of climate change, the role of xylophagous insects and fungi can affect forest carbon storage by decomposing dead wood and potentially accelerating CO2 release.

Youth Activism in Climate Change involves young people participating in movements or actions aimed at combatting climate change and promoting environmental sustainability. Youth activists have been increasingly visible in global discussions on climate action.

Yield Gap refers to the difference between the potential yield of a plot of land and the actual yield achieved by farmers. Reducing the yield gap through sustainable practices can increase food security without additional land clearing and associated greenhouse gas emissions.

Zero Net Energy Buildings are buildings with a net energy consumption of zero over a specified period. They typically use renewable energy sources to produce as much energy as they consume, reducing their carbon footprint.

Zoonotic Diseases are diseases that can be transmitted from animals to humans. Climate change can influence the spread of zoonotic diseases by affecting the habitats of animals and the pathogens they carry.