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Abrupt Climate Change: A change in climate over a widespread area that takes place so rapidly and unexpectedly that human and natural systems have difficulty adapting. Although not considered a high probability, an abrupt climate change occurs on the scale of decades, rather than centuries, and persists for years.  Global warming has been suggested as a plausible trigger for abrupt climate change.

Atmosphere:  The gaseous envelope or layers surrounding the earth’s surface.  It contains roughly 78% nitrogen, 21% oxygen and 1% argon, with trace amounts of other gases including the significant greenhouse gases of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide.  The atmosphere absorbs solar radiation and serves to moderate surface temperature and recycles water and other chemicals.

Biodiversity: The variety of organisms found within a specified geographic region

Carbon Dioxide (CO2): CO2 is a colorless, odorless, non-poisonous gas that is a normal part of the ambient air.  Human activities such as fossil fuel combustion, deforestation, and the burning of wood and paper products have increased atmospheric concentrations of CO2 by approximately 30 percent since the industrial revolution.

Climate: The long-term averages and statistics of atmospheric and surface variables including temperature, precipitation, wind, storm patterns, humidity, sea surface temperature and the concentration and thickness of sea ice.   Climate is not the same as weather which is a short-term phenomenon.

Climate change: Refers to changes in longer-term trends in the average climate, such as changes in average temperatures, precipitation, wind, storm patterns, humidity, sea surface temperature and the concentration and thickness of sea ice.  Climate change refers to any change in climate over time, whether due to natural variability or as a direct or indirect result of human activity. 

Climate Variability:  Refers to changes in atmospheric and surface patterns, such as precipitation and temperatures in the weather and climate. 

Deforestation:  the removal and destruction of native forests and woodlands.  Among other things, deforestation increases harmful soil erosion, adversely affects natural stream and rivers, and damages biodiversity.  Deforestation is considered one of the major causes of global warming as living trees would usually remove CO2 from the atmosphere during the process of photosynthesis.  It is estimated that one-fifth (1/5) of all global emissions result from deforestation and changed land use.

Ecosystem: A community of organisms and its physical environment.

Emissions:  The release of substances (e.g., greenhouse gases) into the atmosphere.

Enhanced Greenhouse Effect:  The increase in the natural greenhouse effect which results from changes in atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases due to emissions from human activities. 

Global Warming: The progressive gradual rise of the Earth's average surface temperature thought to be caused in part by increased concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

Global Warming Potential:  A system of multipliers which have been devised to enable warming effects of different gases to be compared. 

Greenhouse Effect: The insulating effect of atmospheric greenhouse gases (e.g., water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, etc.) that keeps the Earth's temperature about 60°F warmer than it would be otherwise.

Greenhouse Gas:  Any gas that contributes to the "greenhouse effect."  There are six major greenhouse gases recognized by the Kyoto Protocol, but the three major greenhouse gases considered most pertinent to global warming are carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide  

junk mail:  
unsolicited commercial mail (1950-55).

Kyoto Protocol: An international agreement adopted in 1997 in Kyoto, Japan, which establishes binding emission targets for developed countries that would reduce their emissions.  The Kyoto Protocol has been signed by 141 industrialized and developed nations including those in Europe.   The Bush Administration has steadfastly refused to sign the Kyoto Protocol despite the fact that the United States which has a relatively small percentage (4%) of the worldwide population yet produces over 25% of all harmful greenhouse gases on earth.

Landfills:  are engineered areas where solid waste is placed into the land.   

Methane (CH4):   CH4 is a colorless, flammable gas produced by natural processes, but there are also substantial emissions from human activities such as landfills, livestock and livestock wastes, natural gas and petroleum systems, coal mines, rice fields, and wastewater treatment.  CH4 has a warming effect approximately 23 times that of CO2.  Municipal solid waste landfills are the largest source of human-related methane emissions in the United States.

Municipal Solid Waste:  is commonly known as common trash or garbage and includes such everyday items such as paper, product packaging, lawn clippings, bottles, and appliances.

Nitrous Oxide (N2O):   N2O is a colorless, non-flammable potent greenhouse gas produced by natural processes also, but there are also substantial causal emissions from human activities such as deforestation, agriculture, trash burning and fossil fuel combustion.  Nitrous oxide has a very high global warming potential. 

Source: Any process or activity that results in the net release of greenhouse gases, aerosols, or precursors of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

Stratosphere:  The region of the Earth's atmosphere 10-50 km above the surface of the planet. 

Thermal expansion: Expansion of a substance as a result of the addition of heat.  In the context of climate change, thermal expansion of the world's oceans in response to global warming is considered the predominant driver of current and future sea-level rise.

Tipping point:  In the context of climate change, the time threshold when global warming would continue to occur even if greenhouse gas emissions were completely halted immediately worldwide.  

Troposphere:  The region of the earth’s atmosphere 8-15 km above the planet’s surface.

Water Vapor (H2O):  Water vapor is the primary gas responsible for the greenhouse effect.  It is believed that increases in temperature caused by anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases will increase the amount of water vapor in the atmosphere, resulting in additional warming.

Weather: Describes the short-term (i.e., hourly, daily, weekly) state of the atmosphere and surface conditions.  Weather is not the same as climate which is a long-term phenomenon.


The following sources have been consulted as references for this site:

Webster’s New Universal Unabridged Dictionary, United States Postal Service, United States Constitution, United Stated Code, Code of Federal Regulations, Code of Federal Regulations, United States Supreme Court, Cornell University Law School Legal Information Institute, FindLaw,  United States Dep’t of the Treasury, Federal Trade Commission, United States General Accounting Office,Bureau,  www.idtheftcenter.org, Vermont Dep’t of Banking, Insurance, Securities & Health Care Administration, www.epic.org. www.privacyrights.org, www.privacy.ca.org, www.consumer.gov, www.post.com, www.spamlaws.com, https://www.donotcall.gov/default.aspx, Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, American Postal Workers’ Union,Winterberry Group, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Pew Center on Global Climate Change, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), National Academy of Sciences (NAS), United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), National Oceanic & Atmospheric Organization (NOAA) National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC),  World Metrological Organization (WMO), United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Kyoto Protocol, United States Postal Service (USPS),Environmental Roadmapping Initiative, National Resource Defense Council (NRDC), Union of Concerned Scientists, Sierra Club, Environmental Action, World Wildlife Fund, EnviroLink, Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace International, Conservatree, National Geographic, British Broadcasting corporation (BBC), New York Times, Washington Post, Bloomberg News and Commentary, Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS), Global Justice Ecology Project, US Catholic Bishops, Climate Change:  An Evangelical Call to Action, Williams, Adam, “Global Warming and the Pulp and Paper Industry,” Smith, D., “Chipping Forests & Jobs: A Report on the Economic and Environmental Impacts of the Chip Mills in the Southeast,” Dogwood Alliance and Native Forest Network,  Houghton, R.A., “Effects of Land Use Change, Surface Temperature and CO2 concentration on terrestrial stores of Carbon,” IPCC/WHRC Workshop, Clean Water Action Council,. Reach for Unblemished Foundation, National Toxics Inventory, National Emissions Trends, Energy Information Association, United States Department of Energy, Direct Marketing Association, ADVO, Ohio Office of Compliance Assistance and Pollution Prevention, Postal Watch http://www.newdream.org/junkmail/index.php, www.motherearthnews.com, www.cpsr.org www.doubleclick.com, www.stopthejunkmail.com, www.stopjunk.com, www.junkbusters.com,    

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