Climate Change in Context by Brenda Wilmoth Lerner and K. Lee Lerner

By Brenda Wilmoth Lerner and K. Lee Lerner

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Fossil fuels include coal, petroleum, and natural gas. Fossil fuels are non-renewable on the timescale of human civilization, because their natural replenishment would take many millions of years. FOSSIL RECORD: The time-ordered mass of fossils (mineralized impressions of living creatures) that is found in the sedimentary rocks of Earth. The fossil record is one of the primary sources of knowledge about evolution and is also used to date rock layers (biostratigraphy). FOSSIL WATER: Groundwater that has been in an underground aquifer for thousands or millions of years.

A minor but very important component of the atmosphere, carbon dioxide traps infrared radiation. Atmospheric CO2 has increased dramatically since the early 1800s. Burning fossil fuels is the leading cause of increased CO2 levels with deforestation the second major cause. CARBON FOOTPRINT: The amount of carbon dioxide (or of any other greenhouse gas, counted in terms of the greenhouse-equivalent amount of CO2) emitted to supply the energy and materials consumed by a person, product, or event. A concert, manufactured object, family, organization, or individual person may all have a carbon footprint.

Does not study biological phenomenon as such, but only their effects on the large-scale physical properties of Earth and its climate and other systems. GEOTHERMAL ENERGY: Energy obtained from Earth’s internal heat, which is maintained by the breakdown of radioactive elements. Geothermal means, literally, Earth-heat. , to heat buildings or industrial processes) or to generate electricity. GEYSER: Hot spring that periodically sprays steam and hot water into the air. A geyser requires a pathway xlv Glossary from the water table in contact with a geothermal heat source.

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