Global Warming Effects Around the World

Global Warming Glossary *


Ocean acidification - A decrease in the pH of sea water due to the uptake of human-induced carbon dioxide.

Oil sands and oil shale - Unconsolidated porous sands, sandstone rock and shales containing bituminous material that can be mined and converted to a liquid fuel.

Outlet glacier - A glacier issuing from an ice sheet or ice cap from through a mountain pass or valley.

Ozone (O3) - Ozone, the triatomic form of oxygen (O3), is a gaseous atmospheric constituent. In the troposphere, it is created both naturally and by photochemical reactions involving gases resulting from human activities (smog). Tropospheric ozone acts as a heat-trapping gas (greenhouse gas). In the stratosphere, it is created by the interaction between solar ultraviolet radiation and molecular oxygen (O2). Stratospheric ozone plays a dominant role in the stratospheric radiative balance. Its concentration is highest in the ozone layer.

Ozone layer - The stratosphere contains a layer in which the concentration of ozone is greatest, the so-called ozone layer. The layer extends from about 12 to 40 kilometers (~7.5 to 25 miles) above the Earth's surface. The ozone concentration reaches a maximum between about 20 and 25 kilometers (~12.4 to 15.5 miles). This layer is being depleted by human emissions of chlorine and bromine compounds. Every year, during the Southern Hemisphere spring, a very strong depletion of the ozone layer takes place over the Antarctic region, caused by human-induced chlorine and bromine compounds in combination with the specific meteorological conditions of that region. This phenomenon is called the ozone hole. See Montreal Protocol.


Glossaries of the contributions of Working Groups I, II and III to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report 2007.

Nakićenović, N., J. Alcamo, G. Davis, B. de Vries, J. Fenhann, S. Gaffin, K. Gregory, A. Grübler, T.Y. Jung, T. Kram, E.L. La Rovere, L. Michaelis, S. Mori, T. Morita, W. Pepper, H. Pitcher, L. Price, K. Raihi, A. Roehrl, H.-H. Rogner, A. Sankovski, M. Schlesinger, P. Shukla, S. Smith, R. Swart, S. van Rooijen, N. Victor and Z. Dadi, 2000: Emissions Scenarios: A Special Report of Working Group III of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, and New York, 599 pp.

* Definitions adapted from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report 2007 and the Dictionary of Geological Terms Third Edition. 1984. Bates and Jackson (Eds).