Climate Classroom


In our mission to speak science to power, we often use terms that we assume everyone will understand. However, this assumption can lead to miscommunications or readers to not fully understand our content. This glossary explains new terms and provides context to phrases we use often.


Abatement Technologies: Abatement technologies refer to methods and technologies used to reduce or eliminate harmful emissions from industrial processes, power generation, transportation, and other activities that contribute to environmental pollution. 

Africa Adaptation Acceleration Program (AAAP): The AAAP is an initiative led by the African Development Bank, the Global Center on Adaptation, and the African Union Commission. It is aimed at accelerating climate change adaptation across Africa by mobilizing resources and promoting partnerships. 

Anthropogenic carbon emissions: Anthropogenic carbon emissions are those, e.g. carbon dioxide (CO2) that are released into the atmosphere as a result of human activities, such as burning fossil fuels (coal, oil, and gas), deforestation, and industrial processes. 

Arctic Boreal Region: The Arctic Boreal region is a vast area of forests and tundra that covers much of Canada, Alaska, and Siberia. 

Atlantification: A process that is reshaping the physical and chemical conditions of the Arctic Ocean, as a result of global warming. It is the transformation of the Arctic Ocean from colder, fresher, and ice-capped to warmer, saltier, and increasingly ice-free. 

Atmospheric Rivers: An atmospheric river is a narrow band of moisture in the atmosphere that can transport large amounts of water vapour over long distances. 


Boreal Forests: Boreal forests, also known as taiga, are vast forests found in cold regions of the northern hemisphere, including Canada, Alaska, Scandinavia, and Russia. 

Carbon Budget: A carbon budget is an estimate of the maximum amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) that can be emitted into the atmosphere while still keeping global temperatures from rising above a certain threshold. 

Carbon Capture: Carbon capture refers to the process of capturing carbon dioxide (CO2) from industrial processes or power generation activities, before it is released into the atmosphere. 

Carbon Dioxide Sink: A carbon dioxide sink is a natural or human-made process that absorbs and stores carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere. 

Carbon Pricing: Carbon pricing is a market-based tool that puts a price on carbon emissions. 

Circular Material Flows (also known as a Circular Economy): Circular material flows refer to a concept of designing production and consumption systems in a way that minimizes waste and maximizes resource efficiency. 

Cyclone: A cyclone is a weather phenomenon characterized by a system of low pressure at the centre of a rotating storm. 

Demand-Side Adaptations: Demand-side adaptations refer to actions or strategies aimed at reducing the demand for goods or services that contribute to climate change. 

Drought: Drought is a prolonged period of abnormally dry weather, which can lead to a shortage of water resources for human, animal, and plant populations. It can last for days or many years. 

Extreme Weather Events: Extreme weather events are severe, unusual or unseasonal weather phenomena that occur outside of the range of normal weather patterns. 

Geospatial Solutions: Geospatial solutions refer to technologies and techniques that allow for the collection, analysis, and visualization of spatial data. 

Green Transition: The green transition means a shift towards economically sustainable growth, away from an economy that is reliant on fossil fuels and overconsumption of natural resources. A sustainable economy relies on low-carbon solutions that promote the circular economy and biodiversity. 

Greenhouse Gases: Greenhouse gases are gases in the Earth’s atmosphere that trap heat from the sun, warming the planet’s surface. 

Hydrological Cycle: The hydrological cycle, also known as the water cycle, is the process by which water continuously moves through the Earth’s atmosphere, surface, and subsurface. 

IPCC: The Intergovernmental Pannel on Climate Change (IPCC) is an international organisation established by the United Nations to provide scientific information and advice on climate change. 

Just Transition: A Just Transition means greening the economy in a way that is as fair and inclusive as possible to everyone concerned, creating decent work opportunities and leaving no one behind. 

Nature-Based Climate Solutions: Nature-based climate solutions refer to actions that use natural processes to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and/or remove carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere. 

Net Zero: Net zero is a term used to describe a state where the amount of greenhouse gases that are emitted into the atmosphere is equal to the amount that is removed. 

Peat: Peat is a type of soil that forms over thousands of years from the accumulation of organic matter, such as dead plant material, in wetland areas. 

Permafrost: Permafrost is a layer of permanently frozen soil or sediment that is found in Arctic and sub-Arctic regions of the world. It consists of soil, gravel, and sand that has been frozen for at least two consecutive years and can extend from a few meters to over a kilometre deep. 

Polar Vortex: The polar vortex is a low-pressure system of cold air that circulates around the North or South Pole.  

Positive Feedback Loop: A positive feedback loop is a process in which a change in one area leads to more changes that amplify the original change. This creates a cycle of increasingly larger changes that continue until something intervenes to stop the cycle. 

Regional Transboundary Collaboration: Regional transboundary collaboration refers to cooperation and coordination between neighbouring regions or countries on issues that affect both areas. 

Solar Radiation: Solar radiation refers to the energy that comes from the sun in the form of electromagnetic waves.  

Supply-Side Options: In the context of climate change, supply-side options can refer to measures that reduce greenhouse gas emissions by increasing the availability of low-carbon or renewable energy sources or by improving the efficiency of production processes. 

Task Force for Climate-Related Financial Disclosures: The Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) is a group established by the Financial Stability Board, an international organization that monitors and makes recommendations about the global financial system. 

Technology Transfer: Technology transfer refers to the process of sharing or transferring knowledge, skills, and technology from one organization, country, or individual to another for the purpose of promoting economic and social development. 

The Risk Multiplier Effect: Risk multiplier refers to a factor that can amplify or exacerbate the impact of a risk or hazard. 

Tropospheric Jet Stream: The tropospheric jet stream is a fast-flowing, narrow band of air in the Earth’s atmosphere that moves from west to east. It is located in the troposphere, the layer of the atmosphere closest to the Earth’s surface, at an altitude of about 10 kilometers or 6 miles. 

UK Met Office: The UK Met Office is the national weather service for the United Kingdom. It provides weather forecasts and warnings to the public, as well as to various industries and organizations such as aviation, shipping, and emergency services. 

WBCSD: The World Business Council for Sustainable Development is a global organization that brings together companies and industry associations committed to advancing sustainable development through economic growth, environmental protection, and social progress. 

World Meteorological Organisation (WMO): The World Meteorological Organization is an international organization established by the United Nations to promote cooperation among countries in the areas of meteorology, hydrology, and related sciences.