Global Warming Effects Around the World

Global Warming Glossary *


Uncertainty - An expression of the degree to which a value (e.g., the future state of the climate system) is unknown. Uncertainty can result from lack of information or from disagreement about what is known or even knowable. It may have many types of sources, from quantifiable errors in the data to ambiguously defined concepts or terminology, or uncertain projections of human behavior. Uncertainty can therefore be represented by quantitative measures (e.g., a range of values calculated by various models) or by qualitative statements (e.g., reflecting the judgment of a team of experts).

Undernutrition - The temporary or chronic state resulting from intake of lower than recommended daily dietary energy and/or protein requirements, through either insufficient food intake, poor absorption, and/or poor biological use of nutrients consumed.

Ungulate - A hoofed, typically herbivorous, quadruped mammal (including ruminants, swine, camel, hippopotamus, horse, rhinoceros and elephant).

United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) - The Convention was adopted on 9 May 1992 in New York and signed at the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro by more than 150 countries and the European Community. Its ultimate objective is the "stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system." It contains commitments for all Parties. Under the Convention, Parties included in Annex I (all OECD countries and countries with economies in transition) aim to return heat-trapping gas (greenhouse gas) emissions not controlled by the Montreal Protocol to 1990 levels by the year 2000. The convention entered in force in March 1994.

Uptake - The addition of a substance of concern to a reservoir. The uptake of carbon containing substances, in particular carbon dioxide, is often called (carbon) sequestration.

Upwelling region - A region of an ocean where cold, typically nutrient-rich waters from the bottom of the ocean surface.

Urban heat island - The relative warmth of a city compared with surrounding rural areas, associated with changes in runoff, the concrete jungle effects on heat retention, changes in surface albedo, changes in pollution and aerosols, and so on.

Urbanization - The conversion of land from a natural state or managed natural state (such as agriculture) to cities; a process driven by net rural-to-urban migration through which an increasing percentage of the population in any nation or region come to live in settlements that are defined as 'urban centers'.


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).