Climate Glossary  (press Ctrl-F to search for a word)

(Also available in alphabetical order.)

WUWT (the top-rated science blog site on the Web, created by climatologist Anthony Watts).
Watts, Anthony
A leading "skeptical" climatologist, owner of the WUWT blog, and originator of the project.
RC (the leading Climate Movement activist blog, with about 1/10 the readership of WUWT).
Global Warming (a/k/a Climate Change). (Sometimes sloppily used as a synonym for AGW or CAGW.)
Anthropogenic Global Warming (GW caused by people).
Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW). The True Faith of Climate Movement activists.
United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (the leading Climate Movement institution). They've produced five major "Assessment Reports" on Climate Changed, dubbed FAR through AR5. Unfortunately, they have credibility problems.
IPCC 5th Assessment Report (2013-2014). It was preceded by AR4. The AR5 WGI ("physical science basis") web site is
IPCC 4th Assessment Report (2007). It was preceded by the TAR & followed by AR5.
IPCC Third Assessment Report (2001). It was preceded by the SAR & followed by AR4.
IPCC Second Assessment Report (1995-1996) [also WG I, II, III & errata]. It was preceded by the FAR & followed by the TAR.
IPCC First Assessment Report (1990). It was followed by the SAR in 1996.
Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change, producer of the “Climate Change Reconsidered” reports.
Astronomy Picture Of the Day (a/k/a APOTD).
Notoriously-leftist Public Radio.
NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, in New York City (oddly enough, handlers of U.S. surface temperature records). For several years GISS blocked the archiving of averaged USHCN temperature data, but I've compiled a collection of all known versions.
NASA Jet Propulsion Lab, in Pasadena, CA.
Permanent Service for Mean Sea Level.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
NOAA National Climatic Data Center.
NOAA Climate Monitoring and Diagnostics Laboratory, now part of the ESRL.
NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory.
National Snow and Ice Data Center.
NCDC United States Historical Climatology Network - keepers of historical U.S. surface station climate records. See also and USCRN
NCDC's U.S. Climate Reference Network seeks to solve the data quality problems of the USHCN. It is composed entirely of high-quality, well-sited, measurement instruments. Unfortunately, the records are short. The first USCRN stations were installed in 2002.
A volunteer project led by climatologist Anthony Watts to analyze, station-by-station, the entire USHCN station network.
Stevenson screen
A "Stevenson screen" or "Cotton Region Shelter" is a louvered instrument enclosure for meteorological instruments, such as thermometers.
Six's registering thermometer
A type of min-max thermometer, invented by James Six in 1780, and very widely used for over 200 years (often within Stevenson screens) to measure daily minimum and maximum temperatures.
“Climate Sensitivity” is a measure of the (in)stability of the Earth's temperatures, most commonly defined as the globally averaged temperature increase to be expected from a doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide (e.g., an increase from 300 ppmv to 600 ppmv). (See also TCR and ECS.) If all of the 20th century's warming is attributed to CO2, it would imply a TCR sensitivity of (1.84 ± 0.11)°C. To the extent that the 20th century's warming was natural, or due to other anthropogenic forcings, such as methane, the TCR sensitivity is lower. Climate sensitivity estimates in the scientific literature vary wildly, but have generally been declining
Transient Climate Response, a measure of climate sensitivity.
Either "Equilibrium Climate Sensitivity" (EqCS) or "Effective Climate Sensitivity" (EfCS), two similar measures of climate sensitivity. I've seen the ECS-to-TCR ratio variously estimated as from 1.4:1 to 1.65:1.
Ocean Heat Content.
Hansen, James
A controversial elder leader of the Climate Movement, retired April 3, 2013 as director of the NYC office of NASA GISS.
El Niño / La Niña - Southern Oscillation, a semi-oscillatory pattern to Southern and equatorial Pacific ocean temperatures, with a period of about 3-5 years, and global weather effects.
Pacific Decadal Oscillation (a longer-duration oscillatory pattern to Pacific weather, especially in the Northern Pacific, with a period of about 15-30 years).
Atlantic Multi-decadal Oscillation (a very long-duration oscillatory pattern to North Atlantic weather, with an estimated period of about 70 years).
Time of OBServation (variations of which can bias temperature measurements, which is the excuse for some of the striking "adjustments" to old temperature records, which made the past colder and the present warmer, bolstering the apparent case for GW).
General Circulation Model, a large, complex computer program which attempts to simulate ("model") the Earth's climate.
Mean Sea-Level.
Local Mean Sea-Level (MSL measured at a specific place), also sometimes called RSL (Relative Sea-Level).
Global Mean Sea-Level (any of many varieties of average MSL).
Sea-Level Rise.
Eustatic SLR
Global Sea-Level Rise = GMSL Rise.
"Due to changes in loading of the crust of the earth" (especially due to melting ice sheets circa 10,000 years ago).
Sinking of the land, e.g., due to extraction of groundwater, oil, or natural gas.
Wild-Ass Guess; see also "proxy."
Post-Glacial Rebound, isostatic movement of the earth's crust due to the last major deglaciation (circa 10,000 years ago); it causes falling sea-levels in Scandinavia, around Hudson Bay, and elsewhere.
Glacial Isostatic Adjustment, a (rough!) calculated adjustment to SLR to account for PGR.
Peltier, Wm Richard
The University of Toronto professor who calculates GIA from computer models.
Peltier's most commonly-used model-derived GIA data set; also, the "earth model" used for it.
Peltier's alternative model-derived GIA data set; also, the "earth model" used for it.
The "ice model" used by Peltier to calculate his GIA data sets.
Tide station
A device for measuring coastal sea-level; also called a tide gauge.
Global Sea-Level Observing System (a set of hundreds of tide-stations, some of which have been operating for over 200 years).
Daly, John
A leading Australian climate skeptic, now deceased.
Jones, Phil
An English leader of the Climate Movement, who infamously called the untimely death of John Daly "cheering news."
A "data dump" by a still-anonymous whistle-blower, of climate-related emails, documents & computer code, which showed that leading Climate Movement scientists had been manipulating & withholding data, hiding evidence, and blackballing skeptics, to promote CAGW. (Phil Jones' email to Michael Mann about the "cheering news" of John Daly's death was one of those released.)
University of East Anglia's Climate Research Unit, source of the Climategate files.
Roman Warm Period, circa 250 B.C. to 400 A.D., when temperatures were probably about as warm as they are now. (See also MWP.)
Medieval Warm Period (a/k/a Medieval Climate Optimum), circa 900 to 1300 A.D., when temperatures were probably about as warm as they are now. (See also RWP.)
Little Ice Age, circa 1400-1800 A.D., when temperatures were much colder than they are now.
Climate data from long ago, before there were good measurements.
“Climate proxies” are indirect methods of attempting to infer paleoclimate data from other things such as tree rings, sediment layers & isotope ratios; see also "WAG."
Total Solar Irradiance, a/k/a total solar radiation.
NASA Earth Radiation Budget satellite missions, measured TSI (among other things).
Active Cavity Radiometer Irradiance Monitor is a NASA satellite instrument which measures Total Solar Irradiance (TSI).
NASA SOlar Radiation & Climate Experiment satellite mission. Measures TSI (among other things).
European SOHO Variability of solar IRradiance and Gravity Oscillations satellite mission. Measures TSI (among other things).
Mann, Michael
A leading U.S. Climate Movement scientist, who, with coauthors Raymond Bradley & Malcolm Hughes, famously created a (since discredited) "hockey-stick" shaped graph of paleo-temperature data from tree-ring proxies, which appeared to erase the MWP & LIA from history.
Muller, Richard
A leading U.S. Climate Movement scientist, who was critical of Michael Mann after the Climategate revelations.
Steve McIntyre and Ross McKitrick, Canadian researchers who famously discredited Michael Mann's "hockey stick" with their 2003 paper.
What Climate Movement true believers call those who disagree with them (a scornful reference to Holocaust deniers).
Sea Surface Temperature.
Aircraft Meteorological Data Relay (see NOAA's FAQ).
Infrared light.
Shortwave Radiation (esp. incoming radiation from the Sun, which is mostly visible and shorter wavelengths).
Outgoing Longwave Radiation (the IR and microwave energy radiated by the Earth).
CO2 or CO2
Carbon dioxide, “the precious air-fertilizer” (SciAm), a colorless, odorless trace gas, formerly called “carbonic-acid gas,” the raw material for plant growth, the bubbles in soda pop, the stuff you exhale.
Carbon pollution
What Climate Movement activists call producing carbon dioxide (by burning things, cement manufacturing, exhaling, etc.) and methane.
CH4 or CH4
Methane, the main component of natural gas and flatulence. When burned, it oxidizes into CO2 and water. If released into the atmosphere, it oxidizes more slowly, with a half-life of about six to eight years.
Greenhouse Gas: any trace gas (such as CO2, CH4 or water vapor) which could help warm the Earth's surface by blocking IR emissions into space. (Note: the term is a misnomer, because that's not how greenhouses work.)