Impacts of a 4°C global warming


Glossary over Impacts of a 4°C global warming


The mass of air surrounding the Earth.

The atmosphere consists of nitrogen (78%), oxygen (21%), and traces of other gases such as argon, helium, carbon dioxide, and ozone.

The atmosphere plays an important role in the protection of life on Earth; it absorbs ultraviolet solar radiation and reduces temperature extremes between day and night. (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  )


A delta is a low, watery land formed at the mouth of a river.

It is formed from the silt, sand and small rocks that flow downstream in the river and are deposited in the delta.

A delta is often (but not always) shaped like a triangle. (Source: NY Geography Glossary  )



Dengue is an infectious disease caused by a virus (genus Flavivirus). It is transmitted by mosquitoes in tropical and subtropical regions. It is characterized by high fever, severe headaches, and pain in muscles and joints.

(Source: GreenFacts )


Dryland systems

Dryland systems are ecosystems characterised by a lack of water. They include cultivated lands, scrublands, shrublands, grasslands, savannas, semi-deserts and true deserts.

The lack of water constrains the production of crops, forage, wood, and other ecosystem services.

Four dryland subtypes are widely recognized: dry sub-humid, semiarid, arid, and hyperarid, showing an increasing level of aridity or moisture deficit. (Source: GreenFacts based on Millennium Ecosystem Assessment  Glossary )


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 widespread outbreak of a disease, or a large number of cases of a disease in a single community or relatively small area. (Source: CoRIS Glossary  )


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 )

Frequency (in the context of sound)

Frequency is the measurement of the number of times that a repeated event occurs per unit of time.

The frequency of wave-like patterns including sound, electromagnetic waves (such as radio or light), electrical signals, or other waves, expresses the number of cycles of the repetitive waveform per second.

In SI units, the result is measured in Hertz (Hz), named after the German physicist, Heinrich Rudolf Hertz. 1 Hz means one cycle (or wave) per second.

Frequency has an inverse relationship to the concept of wavelength (the distance between two peaks) such that the frequency is equal to the velocity divided by the wavelength. (Source: GreenFacts)



The increasing integration of economies and societies around the world, particularly through trade and financial flows, and the transfer of culture and technology. (Source: MA  Glossary )

Greenhouse gas

Greenhouse gases are those gaseous constituents of the atmosphere, both natural and anthropogenic, that absorb and emit radiation at specific wavelengths within the spectrum of infrared radiation emitted by the Earth’s surface, the atmosphere and clouds.

This property causes the greenhouse effect.

Water vapour (H2O), carbon dioxide (CO2), nitrous oxide (N2O), methane (CH4), and ozone (O3) are the primary greenhouse gases in the Earth’s atmosphere. Moreover there are a number of entirely human-made greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, such as the halocarbons and other chlorine and bromine containing substances, dealt with under the Montreal Protocol. Beside CO2, N2O and CH4, the Kyoto Protocol deals with the greenhouse gases sulphur hexafluoride (SF6), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) and perfluorocarbons (PFCs). (Source: IPCC Glossary  )

Ice cap, ice sheet, polar ice cap

An ice cap is a dome-shaped mass of glacier ice that spreads out in all directions; usually larger than an icefield but less than 50 000 km2.

An ice sheet is a dome-shaped mass of glacier ice that covers surrounding terrain and is greater than 50 000 km2, such as the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets.

A polar ice cap, also called polar ice sheet, is a high-latitude region of land or water covered in ice-



A state of bad nourishment.

Malnutrition refers both to undernutrition and overnutrition, as well as to conditions arising from dietary imbalances leading to diet-related noncommunicable diseases. (Source: Millennium Ecosystem Assessment  Glossary )


A general name for several species of halophyte (plant that grows in soils that have a high content of various salts) belonging to different families of plants (including trees, shrubs, a palm tree and a ground fern) occurring in intertidal zones of tropical and subtropical sheltered coastlines and exceeding one half meter in height.

The term is applied to both the individual and the ecosystem, the latter of which is termed mangal. (Source: CoRIS glossary  )


Risk management

The process, distinct from risk assessment, of weighing policy alternatives in consultation with interested parties, considering risk assessment and other legitimate factors, and, if need be, selecting appropriate prevention and control measure. (Source: Official Journal of the European Communities 2002 L 31   )

Storm surge

Storm surge is a rise in coastal water level caused by a regional low pressure area and water pushed toward coastal shores by prolonged wind forces.

A storm surge can significantly raise the mean water level if combined with astronomical high tides. This rise in water level can cause severe flooding on coastal areas, particularly along shallow slopes along the shoreline. (Source: British Columbia Flood Hazard Definitions   )


Threshold (in an ecosystem)

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



Method to improve a person’s immunity to a particular infectious disease. It involves the administration (oral intake or injection) of a vaccine, which is a weakened, dead or inactivated form of the pathogen responsible for the infection. This stimulates the immune system which produces antibodies (Source: GreenFacts)

Water stress

Water stress occurs when the demand for water exceeds the available amount during a certain period or when poor quality restricts its use.

Water stress causes deterioration of fresh water resources in terms of quantity (aquifer over-exploitation, dry rivers, etc.) and quality (eutrophication, organic matter pollution, saline intrusion, etc.) (Source: UNEP Freshwater in Europe Glossary  )

World Bank

The World Bank is a vital source of financial and technical assistance to developing countries around the world. With the aim to reduce global poverty and improve living standards, the World Bank provides low-interest loans, interest-free credit and grants to developing countries for education, health, infrastructure, communications and many other purposes. (Source: World Bank website  )

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