SeaLevel.info

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Climate Glossary

(Also available ordered for readability.)
 

ACRIM
Active Cavity Radiometer Irradiance Monitor is a NASA satellite instrument which measures Total Solar Irradiance (TSI). 
AGW
Anthropogenic Global Warming (GW caused by people). 
AMDAR
Aircraft Meteorological Data Relay (see NOAA's FAQ). 
AMO
Atlantic Multi-decadal Oscillation (a very long-duration oscillatory pattern to North Atlantic weather, with an estimated period of about 60-70 years). 
APOD
Astronomy Picture Of the Day (a/k/a APOTD). 
AR4
IPCC 4th Assessment Report (2007). It was preceded by the TAR & followed by AR5
AR5
IPCC 5th Assessment Report (2013-2014). It was preceded by AR4. The AR5 WGI ("physical science basis") web site is ClimateChange2013.org
CAGW
Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW). The True Faith of Climate Movement activists. 
Carbon pollution
What Climate Movement activists call producing carbon dioxide (by burning things, cement manufacturing, exhaling, etc.) and methane. 
CERES
NASA's CERES (Clouds and the Earth's Radiant Energy System) satellite missions measure radiation emitted from and reflected by the Earth. 
CH4 or CH4
Methane, a greenhouse gas, 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
Climategate
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.) 
CMDL
NOAA Climate Monitoring and Diagnostics Laboratory, now part of the ESRL
CO2 or CO2
Carbon dioxide, the most important non-condensing greenhouse gas, 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. 
CO2e
“CO2e” or “CO2 equivalent” is an attempt to roughly approximate the combined warming effect of all anthropogenic GHGs, by adding to CO2 concentration a weighted sum of the concentrations of other anthropogenic GHGs. Here's an example of one such weighting formula (which actually understates the correct “weight” of CH4 by about 50%). 
CO-OPS
NOAA Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services. 
CRE
Cloud Radiative Effect (CRE) refers to the varying effects of clouds on incoming/downwelling and outgoing/upwelling radiation to/from the earth's surface. At night clouds have a warming effect, but in daytime clouds shade & cool the surface. The net effect is complex and poorly understood. 
CRU, or UEA CRU
University of East Anglia's Climate Research Unit, source of the Climategate files. 
Daly, John
A leading Australian climate skeptic, now deceased. 
Denier
What Climate Movement true believers call those who disagree with them (a scornful reference to Holocaust deniers). 
ECS
Either "Equilibrium Climate Sensitivity" (EqCS) or "Effective Climate Sensitivity" (EfCS), two similar measures of long-term climate sensitivity. I've seen the ECS-to-TCR ratio variously estimated between 1.4:1 and 1.65:1. AR5 estimates ECS to be between 1.5 & 4.5 °C. Other scientists, like Bates (2015), estimate ECS to be 1.0 °C or less. Over the 21st century, the trend has been toward lower estimates of climate sensitivity. 
ENSO
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. 
ERB
NASA's Earth Radiation Budget satellite mission measured TSI (among other things). 
ESRL
NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory
Eustatic SLR
Global Sea-Level Rise = GMSL Rise. 
FAR
IPCC First Assessment Report (1990). It was followed by the SAR in 1996. 
GCM
General Circulation Model, a large, complex computer program which attempts to simulate ("model") the Earth's climate. 
GHG
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.) 
GIA
Glacial Isostatic Adjustment, a (rough!) calculated adjustment to SLR to account for PGR
GISS
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
GLOSS
Global Sea-Level Observing System (a set of hundreds of tide-stations, some of which have been operating for over 200 years). 
GMSL
Global Mean Sea-Level (any of many varieties of average MSL). 
GW
Global Warming (a/k/a Climate Change). (Sometimes sloppily used as a synonym for AGW or CAGW.) 
Hansen, James
A controversial elder leader of the Climate Movement, retired April 3, 2013 as director of the NYC office of NASA GISS. He and his colleague, Makiko Sato, have a web page about sea level here
ICE-5G
The “ice model” used by Peltier to calculate his GIA data sets. 
IPCC
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.
IR
Infrared light. 
ISCCP
NASA International Satellite Cloud Climatology Project
Isostatic
"Due to changes in loading of the crust of the earth" (especially due to melting ice sheets circa 10,000 years ago). 
Jones, Phil
An English leader of the Climate Movement, who infamously called the untimely death of John Daly "cheering news." 
JPL
NASA Jet Propulsion Lab, in Pasadena, CA. 
LGM
Last Glacial Maximum, circa 24,000-17,000 B.C., when the northern hemisphere ice sheets were at their maximum extent. 
LIA
Little Ice Age, circa 1400-1800 A.D., when temperatures were much colder than they are now. 
LMSL
Local Mean Sea-Level (MSL measured at a specific place), also called RSL (Relative Sea-Level). 
M&M
Steve McIntyre and Ross McKitrick, Canadian researchers who famously discredited Michael Mann's “hockey stick” with their 2003 paper
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. 
Minoan Warm Period
The Bronze Age or Minoan Warm Period, roughly circa 1450 B.C. to 1200 B.C., was a period when temperatures were apparently at least as warm as they are now. (See also RWP & MWP.) 
MOC
Thermohaline Circulation or Meridional Overturning Circulation (MOC) refers to the “Atlantic Conveyor” and related currents which carry warm surface water from the tropics toward the poles (most famously via the Gulf Stream), and currents deep in the ocean which carry cold water back toward the tropics. 
MSL
Mean Sea-Level. 
Muller, Richard
A leading U.S. Climate Movement scientist, who was critical of Michael Mann after the Climategate revelations. 
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.) 
NCDC
NOAA National Climatic Data Center. 
NIPCC
Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change, producer of the “Climate Change Reconsidered” reports.
NOAA
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. 
NPR
Notoriously-leftist Public Radio. 
NSIDC
National Snow and Ice Data Center. 
NWLON
U.S. National Water Level Observation Network
OHC
Ocean Heat Content. 
OLR
Outgoing Longwave Radiation (the far-infrared and microwave energy radiated by the Earth). 
Paleoclimate
Climate data from long ago, before there were good measurements. 
PDO
Pacific Decadal Oscillation (a longer-duration oscillatory pattern to Pacific weather, especially in the Northern Pacific, with a period of about 15-30 years). 
Peltier, Wm Richard
The University of Toronto professor who calculates GIA from computer models. 
PGR
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
Proxies
“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." 
PSMSL
Permanent Service for Mean Sea Level. 
RC
RealClimate.org (the leading Climate Movement activist blog, with about 1/10 the readership of WUWT). 
RCP
“Representative Concentration Pathways” are what the IPCC calls their four climate model scenarios: RCP2.6, RCP4.5, RCP6 & RCP8.5, with the number representing the size of the expected net radiative forcing in year 2100, in W/m2 (2.6 W/m2 to 8.5 W/m2). Those radiative forcing numbers are relative to the year 1750 (during the Little Ice Age), and they assume large net positive (amplifying) feedbacks and resultant high climate sensitivity, for which there is scant evidence. 
RWP
Roman Warm Period, circa 250 B.C. to 400 A.D., when temperatures were probably at least as warm as they are now. (See also MWP & Minoan Warm Period.) 
SAR
IPCC Second Assessment Report (1995-1996) [also WG I, II, III & errata]. It was preceded by the FAR & followed by the TAR
Sensitivity
“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 and CH4, it would imply a TCR sensitivity of 1.84 ±0.11 °C (Barrett) or 1.34 (0.91–2.44) °C (Lewis & Curry 2016). To the extent that the 20th century's warming was natural (or due to unaccounted for anthropogenic forcings), the TCR sensitivity is lower. Climate sensitivity estimates in the scientific literature vary wildly, but have generally been declining, as discussed on the sealevel.info Resources page
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. 
SLR
Sea-Level Rise. 
SOHO/VIRGO
European SOHO Variability of solar IRradiance and Gravity Oscillations satellite mission. It measures TSI (among other things). 
SORCE
NASA SOlar Radiation & Climate Experiment satellite mission. It measures TSI (among other things). 
SST
Sea Surface Temperature. 
Stevenson screen
A "Stevenson screen" or "Cotton Region Shelter" is a louvered instrument enclosure for meteorological instruments, such as thermometers. 
Subsidence
Sinking of the land, e.g., due to extraction of groundwater, oil, or natural gas. 
SurfaceStations.org
A volunteer project led by climatologist Anthony Watts to analyze, station-by-station, the entire USHCN station network. See also UHI
SWR
Shortwave Radiation (esp. incoming radiation from the Sun, which is mostly near-infrared, visible, and shorter wavelengths). 
TAR
IPCC Third Assessment Report (2001). It was preceded by the SAR & followed by AR4
TCR
Transient Climate Response, a measure of climate sensitivity over a relatively short time frame (e.g., 20 years). 
Tide station
A device for measuring coastal sea-level; also called a tide gauge
TOB or TOBS
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). 
TSI
Total Solar Irradiance, a/k/a total solar radiation. See also ERB, ACRIM & SORCE
UHI
Urban Heat Island effect (UHI) is the phenomenon of cities having higher average temperatures than the surrounding countryside. It can distort measured surface temperature trends, because as cities grow they can cause rural temperature gauge locations to become urban locations, resulting in a suprious apparent warming trend. See SurfaceStations.org
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. 
USHCN
NCDC United States Historical Climatology Network - keepers of historical U.S. surface station climate records. See also SurfaceStations.org and USCRN
VM2
Peltier's most commonly-used model-derived GIA data set; also, the "earth model" used for it. 
VM4
Peltier's alternative model-derived GIA data set; also, the "earth model" used for it. 
WAG
Wild-Ass Guess; see also "proxy." 
Watts, Anthony
A leading "skeptical" climatologist, owner of the WUWT blog, and originator of the SurfaceStations.org project. 
WUWT
WattsUpWithThat.com (the top-rated science blog site on the Web, created by climatologist Anthony Watts).