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chlorofluorocarbons

Chemical substance, found mainly in liquid coolants, that damages the earth's protective ozone layer.

Pangaea

The primeval supercontinent, hypothesized by Alfred Wegener, that broke apart and formed the continents and oceans as we know them today.

Photosynthesis

Process by which plants and some other organisms use light energy to convert water and carbon dioxide into oxygen and high-energy carbohydrates such as sugars and starches.

Mass Depletions

Loss of diversity through a failure to produce new species.

Mass Extinctions

Mass destruction of most species.

Pacific Ring Of Fire

Ocean-girdling zone of crustal instability, volcanism, and earthquakes resulting from the tectonic activity along plate boundaries in the region.

Pliestocene

The most recent epoch of the late cenozoic ice age, beginning about 1.8 million years ago and marked by as many as 20 glaciations and interglacations of which the current warm phase.

Glaciation

A period of global cooling during which continental ice sheets and mountain glaciers expand.

Interglaciation

Sustained warming phase between glaciations during an ice age.

Wisonconsinian Glaciation

The most recent glacial period of the Pleistocene, enduring about 100,000 years and giving way, beginning about 18,000 years ago, to the current interglacial, the Holocene.

Holocene

The current interglaciation period, extending from 10,000 years ago to the present on the geologic time scale.

Little Ice Age

A century-long period of cool climate that began in the 1590s. Its ill effects on agriculture in northern Europe were notable.

Environmental Stress

The threat to environmental security by human activity such as atmospheric and groundwater pollution, deforistation, oil spills, and ocean dumping.

Renewable Resources

Natural resources that can be replaced.

Hydrologic Cycle

The natural process by which water is purified and made fresh through evaporation and precipitation. The cycle provides all the fresh water available for biological life.

Aquifers

Subterranean, porous, water-holding rocks that provide millions of wells with steady flows of water.

Atmosphere

The mass of air surrounding the Earth.

Global Warming

An increase in the average temperature of the earth's atmosphere (especially a sustained increase that causes climatic changes)

Acid Rain

Rain containing acids that form in the atmosphere when industrial gas emissions (especially sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides) combine with water.

Oxygen Cycle

Cycle whereby natural processes and human activity consume atmospheric oxygen and produce carbon dioxide and the Earth's forests and other flora, through photosynthesis, consume carbon dioxide and produce oxygen.

Deforestation

The removal of trees.

Soil Erosion

The wearing away of surface soil by water and wind.

Solid Waste

Non-liquid, non-soluable materials ranging from municipal garbage to sewage sludge; agricultural refuse; and mining residues.

Sanitary Landfills

Disposal sites for non-hazardous solid waste that is spread in layers and compacted to the smallest practical volume. The sites are typically designed with floors made of materials to treat seeping liquids and are covered by soil as the wastes are compacted and deposited into the landfill.

Toxic Waste

Hazardous waste causing danger from chemical and infectious organisms.

Radioactive Waste

Hazardous-waste-emitting radiation from nuclear power plants, nuclear weapon factories, and nuclear equipment in hospitals and industry.

Biodiversity

The diversity of plant and animal life in a particular habitat (or in the world as a whole)

Ozone Layer

A layer in the stratosphere (at approximately 20 miles) that contains a concentration of ozone sufficient to block most ultraviolet radiation from the sun.

Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer

The first international convention aimed at addressing the issue of ozone depletion. Held in 1985, the Vienna Convention was the predecessor to the Montreal Protocol.

Montreal Protocol

Meeting in 1987 where a group of nations met in Canada and agreed to take steps to fight against Ozone Depletion-CFC's banned.

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