Climate Change: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability IPCC report 2014 Working Group II


Glossary over Climate Change: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability


Originating from the activity of humans. (Source: GreenFacts )


Biodiversity is a contraction of biological diversity. Biodiversity reflects the number, variety and variability of living organisms.

It includes diversity within species (genetic diversity), between species (species diversity), and between ecosystems (ecosystem diversity). (Source: GreenFacts)


Carbon dioxide (CO2)

A colorless, odorless, non-combustible gas, present in low concentrations in the air we breathe (about three hundredths of one percent by volume).

Carbon dioxide is produced when any substance containing carbon is burned. It is also a product of breathing and fermentation. Plants absorb carbon dioxide through photosynthesis. (Source: The Pacific Forest Trust Glossary )


Climate change

The long-term fluctuations in temperature, precipitation, wind, and all other aspects of the Earth's climate.

It is also defined by the United Nations Convention on Climate Change as “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” (Source: CoRIS glossary  )

Dental erosion

Dental erosion is the loss of enamel and dentine from the tooth as a result of direct acid attack.

It is caused by excessive exposure to acid substances – such as those present in fruit juices and fizzy drinks – that are different from those produced by bacteria involved in the process of dental caries (decay).

Dental erosion is irreversible.

The most common teeth affected by dental erosion are the upper front teeth, although all teeth can be affected. Teeth that have been eroded look glassy, can appear short, and have uneven tips that are easily chipped away. (Source: GreenFacts, based on The Dental Centre Dental Erosion  )

Ecosystem services

The benefits people obtain from ecosystems.

These include provisioning services such as food and water; regulating services such as flood and disease control; cultural services such as spiritual, recreational, and cultural benefits; and supporting services such as nutrient cycling that maintain the conditions for life on Earth. (Source: MA  Summary )



The complex system of plant, animal, fungal, and microorganism communities and their associated non-living environment interacting as an ecological unit.

Ecosystems have no fixed boundaries; instead their parameters are set to the scientific, management, or policy question being examined. Depending upon the purpose of analysis, a single lake, a watershed, or an entire region could be considered an ecosystem. (Source: US EPA Glossary of Climate Change Terms   )


A particular kind of fishing activity, e.g., a trawl fishery or a particular species targeted, e.g., a cod fishery or salmon fishery. (Source: MA  Glossary )


The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) defines “forest” as a portion of land bigger than half a hectare (5 000m2) with trees higher than 5 meters and a tree canopy cover of more than 10 %, or with trees that will be able to meet these criteria.

It does not include land that is predominantly under agricultural or urban land use.



Water that is not salty, for instance water found in lakes, streams, and rivers, but not the ocean. Also used to refer to things living in or related to freshwater (e.g., "freshwater fish"). (Source: GreenFacts)



The process of regulating human behavior in accordance with shared objectives. The term includes both governmental and nongovernmental mechanisms. (Source: MA Glossary  )

Human health

A state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.

The health of a whole community or population is reflected in measurements of disease incidence and prevalence, age-specific death rates, and life expectancy. (Source: MA Glossary  )

Inland waters

Inland waters are permanent water bodies inland from the coastal zone and areas whose properties and use are dominated by the permanent, seasonal, or intermittent occurrence of flooded conditions.

Inland waters include rivers, lakes, floodplains, reservoirs, wetlands, and inland saline systems. (Source: MA Synthesis Report )

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has been established by WMO and UNEP to assess scientific, technical and socio- economic information relevant for the understanding of climate change, its potential impacts and options for adaptation and mitigation.

IPCC publications are prepared by three Working Groups (WG I, II and III) composed of hundreds of scientists from many countries. (Source: IPCC website  )

Land use

The human use of a piece of land for a certain purpose (such as irrigated agriculture or recreation). Influenced by, but not synonymous with, land cover. (Source: MA  Glossary )


Methane is a colorless, flammable, nontoxic gas with the chemical formula CH4.

This gas is formed naturally by the decomposition of organic matter. Wetlands, livestock and energy are the main sources of methane emissions to the atmosphere, where it acts as a greenhouse gas.

Methane is also a major component of natural gas. It is mainly extracted from geological deposits for fuel and industrial uses (Source: GreenFacts )


A disease or the incidence of a disease within a population. (Source: GreenFacts)


Death. Usually the cause (a specific disease, a condition, or an injury) is stated. (Source: ATSDR Glossary of Terms   )


A group or number of people living within a specified area or sharing similar characteristics (such as occupation or age). (Source: ATSDR Glossary of Terms  )



The pronounced deprivation of well-being.

Income poverty refers to a particular formulation expressed solely in terms of per capita or household income. (Source: Millennium Ecosystem Assessment  Glossary )


Refers to the amount of disturbance or stress that an ecosystem can absorb and still remain capable of returning to its pre- disturbance state. (Source: GreenFacts, based on Millennium Ecosystem Assessment  Glossary )



A characteristic or state whereby the needs of the present and local population can be met without compromising the ability of future generations or populations in other locations to meet their needs.


The Joint Group of Experts on the Scientific Aspects of Marine Environmental Protection

The Joint Group of Experts on the Scientific Aspects of Marine Environmental Protection (GESAMP) is an advisory body, established in 1969, that advises the United Nations (UN) system on the scientific aspects of marine environmental protection.

At present GESAMP is jointly sponsored by nine UN organizations with responsibilities relating to the marine environment, and they utilize GESAMP as a mechanism for coordination and collaboration among them. GESAMP functions are to conduct and support marine environmental assessments, to undertake in-depth studies, analyses, and reviews of specific topics, and to identify emerging issues regarding the state of the marine environment. GESAMP itself today consists of 16 experts, drawn from a wide range of relevant disciplines, who act in an independent and individual capacity. Studies and assessments are usually carried out by dedicated working groups, most of whose members are not sitting members of GESAMP but part of the broader GESAMP network.


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Threshold (in an ecosystem)

The level of magnitude of a system process at which sudden or rapid change occurs. (Source: Glossary of terms  )



A type of ecosystem dominated by lichens, mosses, grasses, and woody plants.

Tundra is found at high latitudes (arctic tundra) and high altitudes (alpine tundra).

Arctic tundra is underlain by permafrost and is usually [water] saturated. (Source: ACIA  Glossary )


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