Climate Terms

Anthropogenic Change: Human-induced change to planet Earth.

Carbon Dioxide: Carbon dioxide (CO2) is one of the most common greenhouse gases that contributes to warming the climate and the concentration of this gas has been increasing steadily due to human (anthropogenic) activities.

Carbon Dioxide Removal: Carbon dioxide removal (CDR) methods refers to a number of technologies which reduce the levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Among such technologies are bio-energy with carbon capture and storage, biochar, direct air capture, ocean fertilization and enhanced weathering.

Doomers: People who believe that Near Term Human Extinction (NTHE) is going to happen in the not-very-distant future.

Feedback Loops: In climate change, a feedback loop is the equivalent of a vicious or virtuous circle – something that accelerates or decelerates a warming trend. A positive feedback accelerates a temperature rise, whereas a negative feedback decelerates it. Scientists are aware of a number of positive feedbacks loops in the climate system. One example is melting ice. Because ice is light-colored and reflective, a large proportion of the sunlight that hits it is bounced back to space, which limits the amount of warming it causes. But as the world gets hotter, ice melts, revealing the darker-colored land or water below. The result is that more of the sun’s energy is absorbed, leading to more warming, which in turn leads to more ice melting – and so on. Various other feedbacks – related to emissions from soils and permafrost, for example, and changes to ocean evaporation – are known. (Source: www.theguardian.com/environment/2011/jan/05/climate-change-feedback-loops)

Geoengineering: Also known as climate engineering or climate intervention, is the deliberate and large-scale intervention in the Earth’s climatic system with the aim of limiting adverse climate change. Climate engineering is an umbrella term for two types of measures: Carbon dioxide removal and solar radiation management. Carbon dioxide removal addresses the cause of climate change by removing one of the greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide) from the atmosphere. Solar radiation management attempts to offset effects of greenhouse gases by causing the Earth to absorb less solar radiation.

Global Dimming: Global dimming is the gradual reduction in the amount of sunlight hitting Earth’s surface caused by an increase in particulates such as pollution in the atmosphere due to human activities. One conundrum with reducing emissions is that global dimming would be reduced as a result and this would increase the global temperature by at least one-degree Celsius and there would be no time lag in the warming. Here is an excellent BBC documentary which explains global dimming very well: https://www.dailymotion.com/video/xudm8n

Methane Clathrates: Methane clathrate, also known commonly as methane hydrate, is a form of water ice that contains a large amount of methane within its crystal structure. Large deposits of methane clathrate have been found under sediments on the ocean floors of the Earth. The sudden release of large amounts of natural gas from methane clathrate deposits in runaway climate change could be a cause of past, future, and present climate changes. The release of this trapped methane is a potential major outcome of a rise in temperature. See Jennifer Hynes’ video “The Arctic Methane Monster’s Rapid Rise” here for more information: youtu.be/a9PshoYtoxo

Moistening of the Upper Troposphere: Water vapor in the upper troposphere (the layer of the atmosphere closest to the surface and rises to a height of between 5 to 20 km above Earth’s surface) strongly regulates the strength of water-vapor feedback. An increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gases is the main cause of increased moistening in the upper troposphere. These rising levels of water vapor in the troposphere will increasingly play an important role in climate change projections.

Population Overshoot: In population dynamics and population ecology, overshoot occurs when a population temporarily exceeds the long term carrying capacity of its environment. The consequence of overshoot is called a collapse, a crash or a die-off in which there is a decline in population density. The entire sequence or trajectory undergone by the population and its environment is often termed ‘overshoot-and-collapse’.

Preppers: People who believe that they can escape environmental collapse if they prepare well enough through various means such as living off-grid, growing their own food, building building bunkers, etc,

Rain Bomb: Microbursts like these affect an area of no more than 2.5 miles across and they occur when a cooled, heavier column of air sinks rapidly in the middle of a thunderstorm. As the air hits the ground, it spreads out with great force often generating winds of over 150mph. In the case of a wet microburst, it also brings crashing rain, often described as a rain bomb. You can see an example of a rain bomb here: youtu.be/a_G2KRzha7o

Solar Radiation Management (SRM): Solar Radiation Management is one type of climate engineering that has been suggested as a potential solution to global warming. Types of SRM include atmospheric (stratospheric aerosols, marine cloud brightening, ocean sulfur cycle enhancement), terrestrial (cool roof, reflective sheeting, ocean changes, farming, forestry, and land proposals, forestry, grassland management, high-albedo crop varieties) and space-based (space mirrors, moon dust, dispersive solutions).

Water Vapor: Water vapor (the gaseous phase of water floating in the atmosphere) accounts for the largest percentage of the greenhouse effect. The more heat there is in the atmosphere, the more water goes into the atmosphere creating a very potent feedback loop.

Wet Bulb Temperature: Living organisms can survive only within a certain temperature range. When the ambient temperature is excessive, humans and many animals cool themselves below ambient by evaporative cooling of sweat (or other aqueous liquid; saliva in dogs, for example); this helps to prevent potentially fatal hyperthermia due to heat stress. The effectiveness of evaporative cooling depends upon humidity; wet-bulb temperature, or more complex calculated quantities such as Wet Bulb Globe Temperature (WBGT) which also takes account of solar radiation, give a useful indication of the degree of heat stress. A sustained wet-bulb temperature exceeding 35 °C (95 °F) is likely to be fatal even to fit and healthy people, unclothed in the shade next to a fan; at this temperature our bodies switch from shedding heat to the environment, to gaining heat from it. Thus 35 °C is the threshold beyond which the body is no longer able to adequately cool itself. An example of the threshold at which the human body is no longer able to cool itself and begins to overheat is a humidity level of 50% and a high heat of 46 °C (115 °F), as this would indicate a wet-bulb temperature of 35 °C (95 °F), which scientists like Dr. James Hansen warned would be exceeded if a human-forced warming of the world was not halted.’