a modification of an organism or its parts that makes it more fit for existence. An adaptation is passed from generation to generation.
layers of gases surrounding a planet or other celestial body.
force per unit area exerted by the mass of the atmosphere as gravity pulls it to Earth.
series of processes in which carbon (C) atoms circulate through Earth's land, ocean, atmosphere, and interior.
greenhouse gas produced by animals during respiration and used by plants during photosynthesis. Carbon dioxide is also the byproduct of burning fossil fuels.
carbon compound (such as carbon dioxide) released into the atmosphere, often through human activity such as the burning of fossil fuels such as coal or gas.
area or ecosystem that absorbs more carbon dioxide than it releases.
process, area, or ecosystem that releases more carbon dioxide than it absorbs.
all weather conditions for a given location over a period of time.
gradual changes in all the interconnected weather elements on our planet.
person forced to leave his or her home and community because of climate change.
amount of sky covered with clouds.
number of things of one kind in a given area.
period of greatly reduced precipitation.
person who has been forced to flee his home and community due to changes in the environment, such as drought.
rare and severe events in the Earth's atmosphere, such as heat waves or powerful cyclones.
coal, oil, or natural gas. Fossil fuels formed from the remains of ancient plants and animals.
increase in the average temperature of the Earth's air and oceans.
gas in the atmosphere, such as carbon dioxide, methane, water vapor, and ozone, that absorbs solar heat reflected by the surface of the Earth, warming the atmosphere.
energy that causes a rise in temperature.
amount of water vapor in the air.
tropical storm with wind speeds of at least 119 kilometers (74 miles) per hour. Hurricanes are the same thing as typhoons, but usually located in the Atlantic Ocean region.
graph illustrating the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) in Earth’s atmosphere as measured at the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii.
mathematical value between the two extremes of a set of numbers. Also called the average.
situated in the middle.
process of becoming or making something milder and less severe.
decrease in the ocean's pH levels, caused primarily by increased carbon dioxide. Ocean acidification threatens corals and shellfish.
system in which water moves between the cold depths and warm surface in oceans throughout the world. Also called thermohaline circulation.
measure of a substance's acid or basic composition. Distilled water is neutral, a 7 on the pH scale. Acids are below 7, and bases are above.
to guarantee or promise.
all forms in which water falls to Earth from the atmosphere.
difference between the smallest and largest value in a set of numbers.
large, concentrated supply or reserve.
base level for measuring elevations. Sea level is determined by measurements taken over a 19-year cycle.
increase in the average reach of the ocean. The current sea level rise is 1.8 millimeters (.07 inch) per year.
slant, either upward or downward, from a straight or flat path.
visible radiation from the sun.
degree of hotness or coldness measured by a thermometer with a numerical scale.
ocean conveyor belt system in which water moves between the cold depths and warm surface in oceans throughout the world.
a violently rotating column of air that forms at the bottom of a cloud and touches the ground.
state of the atmosphere, including temperature, atmospheric pressure, wind, humidity, precipitation, and cloudiness.
uncontrolled fire that happens in a rural or sparsely populated area.
movement of air (from a high pressure zone to a low pressure zone) caused by the uneven heating of the Earth by the sun.