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The mechanism through which energy (e.g., solar or infrared) is converted into heat and contributes to the overall warming of the Earth's atmosphere and surface.
adaptive radar scanning
Adaptive radar (weather) scanning consists of changing the radar’s scanning strategy in response to changes in the atmosphere.
aerosol-cloud interaction
The interaction of airborne particles (aerosols) with clouds. Scientists study how aerosols affect clouds and how these interactions can impact the Earth's climate.
Small particles or droplets, such as wildfire smoke, volcanic gases, or salty sea spray, that float in the air. They are emitted by both natural events and human activities.
Having to do with water.
ARM data
Continuous field measurements of atmospheric data collected with Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) instruments at fixed and varying locations worldwide.
atmospheric radiative transfer
The science of understanding how electromagnetic radiation emitted by both the Sun and Earth interacts with the gases, clouds and particles making up our atmosphere.
biochemical process
The interaction of organisms with their abiotic (non-living part of an ecosystem) environment and other organisms by chemical means
Economic activity derived from the life sciences, particularly in the areas of biotechnology and biomanufacturing, and includes industries, products, services, and the workforce.
Liquid fuels that are produced from renewable biological sources, including plants and algae. Biofuels offer an alternative to some of the challenges of solar, wind, and other alternative energy sources.
Studies the cycle of key elements like carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus within Earth's systems. It explores how these elements interact and the factors influencing their cycles.
A biological molecule found in blood, other body fluids or tissues that is a sign of a normal or abnormal process, or of a condition or disease.
Material that comes from living things, including trees, crops, grasses, and animals and animal waste. Some kinds of biomass, such as wood and biofuels, can be burned to produce energy.
black carbon
Black carbon is the sooty black material emitted from gas and diesel engines, coal-fired power plants, and other sources that burn fossil fuel. It comprises a significant portion of particulate matter or PM, which is an air pollutant.
Boreal forests (sometimes called "taiga") are a mosaic of forest types — from sunny aspen groves to spruce bogs-intermingled with meadows, marshes, lakes, and rivers — in the northern high latitude regions. This ecosystem is characterized by cold weather, long winters, and permafrost.
carbon cycle
The movement and exchange of carbon through living organisms, the ocean, the atmosphere, rocks and minerals, and other parts of the Earth.
carbonaceous aerosol (CAA)
Carbonaceous aerosols (particles) in the atmosphere scatte and absorb solar radiation. They comprise of both light-absorbing (elemental carbon and brown carbon) and scattering (organic carbon) species. The absorbing fraction is called black carbon and is primarily produced from incomplete combustion.
climate change
A change in the average conditions — such as temperature and rainfall — in a region over a long period of time.
climate extreme
Significant deviations or anomalies from typical weather patterns and conditions, observed over extended periods such as seasons or even longer durations.
climate feedback
Processes that can either amplify or reduce the effects of climate drivers (e.g., solar radiation; greenhouse gas emissions; and aerosols, dust, smoke, and soot). A feedback that increases an initial warming is called a "positive feedback." A feedback that reduces an initial warming and then returns the system to it's original state is a "negative feedback."
Atmospheric aerosols generally have a two modes. The smaller particles are referred to as the fine mode or accumulation mode aerosols. The larger particles comprise the coarse mode. These particles generally have radii between 1.0 and 2.5 microns.
coastal ecosystem
Coastal habitats include estuaries, wetlands and marshes, coral reefs, kelp forests, tidepools, and barrier islands.
compound flooding
When two or more flood drivers (e.g. rainfall, storm surge) occur simultaneously or in close succession. A coastal compound-flood event occurs when floods caused by storm surge and rising tides combine with inland flooding from heavy rainfall.
computational modeling
The use of computers to simulate and study complex systems using mathematics, physics, and computer science.
The rising of warm air and the sinking of cool air. Convection can cause local breezes, winds, and thunderstorms.
The frozen water part of the Earth system. This includes frozen parts of the ocean, such as waters surrounding Antarctica and the Arctic.
deep convective cloud
Deep convective clouds (e.g., cumulonimbus clouds) are associated with severe storms, which can transport ice and supercooled large droplets into the higher levels of the atmosphere, frequently reaching an altitude of 10 km (33,000 feet), and sometimes much higher.
Where rivers discharge a large quantity of sediment directly into the ocean. These deposits commonly assume a triangular shapes and are termed deltas because they resemble the Greek capital letter delta (Δ).
dissolved oxygen
The amount of oxygen that is present in water. Water bodies receive oxygen from the atmosphere, runoff, and from aquatic plants.
earth system model (ESM)
A model that simulates how chemistry, biology, and physical forces work together. These models are similar to, but much more comprehensive than, global climate models.
The interrelationships between living organisms and their environments.
A natural community of plants, animals, and other living organisms and the physical environment in which they live and interact.
ecosystem modeling
A mathematical representation of an ecological system that can range in scale from an individual population, to an ecological community, or even an entire biome.
Energy Exascale Earth System Model (E3SM)
The Energy Exascale Earth System Model (E3SM) project includes Earth System Models, simulations, and predictions to investigate energy-relevant science using code optimized for DOE's advanced supercomputers.
The geological process in which Earth's materials are worn away by weathering processes and transported away by natural forces such as wind or water.
The process by which water moves from the land or ocean surface to the atmosphere (evaporation) and transpiration (evaporation from plants).
The nearly flat portion of a river valley built by sediment deposited during previous floods.
The amount of some type of particle or energy crossing a unit area per unit time.
An interdisciplinary field of science that focuses on the structure, function, evolution, mapping, and editing of genomes.
geochemical reduction/oxidation (redox)
Redox processes require one chemical species that donates electrons and another chemical species that accepts those electrons. As a chemical species donates electrons it is “oxidized,” and as the other species accepts electrons it is “reduced.”
geochemical stabilization
A process which stabilizes the amount, distribution, or structure of chemical elements in air, water, soil, rocks, and minerals.
global climate model (GCM)
A complex mathematical representation of the major climate system components (atmosphere, land surface, ocean, and sea ice), and their interactions.
global storm resolving model (GSRM)
Global storm resolving models (GSRMs), which have ultra-high horizontal resolutions (e.g., 1-5 km) are capable of simulating convective storms directly, for extended time frames (e.g., greater than one month).
Water that occurs below Earth's surface. When rain falls to the ground, a portion percolates (sinks) into the ground and collects in spaces in the underground rocks.
high-performance computing (HPC)
High-performance computing – the most powerful and largest scale computing systems – enables researchers to study systems that would otherwise be impractical, or impossible, to investigate in the real world due to their complexity or the danger they pose
hydro-biogeochemical process
The coupled hydrological, geochemical, and biological processes that control water quality.
The science that deals with water, its properties, circulation, or distribution on Earth's surface, and in the atmosphere through evapotranspiration.
ice-nucleating particles
Tiny specks of material suspended in the air that act as starting points for the formation of ice crystals in clouds.
infrared (IR) spectroscopy
Infrared (IR) spectroscopy deals with the infrared region of the electromagnetic spectrum. IR wavelengths are longer, with a lower frequency than visible light. IR can be used to identify and study chemicals.
Inundation is the flooding of land that is normally dry. It can be caused by a variety of factors, including heavy rain, snowmelt, or a storm surge. Inundations can be a major hazard, causing damage to property and infrastructure, and even loss of life.
machine learning (ML)
Machine Learning (ML) refers to the field and practice of using algorithms that are able to “learn” by extracting patterns from a large body of data.
marginal soil
Soils that are rocky, sandy, or shallow with a limited reservoir of nutrients and water and are unsuited for food crops.
mass spectrometry (MS)
Mass spectrometry (MS) is an analytical technique that separates ionized particles such as atoms, molecules, and clusters and can be used to determine the molecular weight of the particles.
mesoscale convective system (MCS)
A collection of thunderstorms that act as a system. An MCS can spread across an entire state and may appear as a solid line, a broken line, or a cluster of cells that can last more than 12 hours.
metabolic reconstruction
Metabolic reconstruction involves determining the set of reactions required for utilizing nutrients to synthesize and break down basic metabolites and complex compounds.
A collection of genomes from many individuals within an environment and/or sample.
microbial ecology
Studies the relationships of germs across many settings, including the diversity and abundance of germs within microbiomes.
microbial response
Occurs when a microorganism develops a series of strategies to resist environmental stresses.
Microbiology is the study of microorganisms that are usually too small to be visible with the human eye without a microscope. These tiny organisms shape how nutrients move through the environment.
The local climate of a small site or habitat.The climate of a small area such as a cave, house, city or valley that may be different from that in the general region.
The use of microscopes to view samples and objects that cannot be seen with the unaided eye.
Minority Serving Institution (MSI)
A term used to describe colleges and universities that primarily enroll and serve minority populations. These groups can include African Americans, Hispanics, American Indians, Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians, and Asian Americans.
The science of the form and structure of organisms (plants, animals, and other forms of life).
multisector dynamics
Multisector dynamics aims to enhance our knowledge of the intricate interactions, interconnections, and mutually influential paths between human and natural systems.
Classified as a nonmetal, nitrogen is a gas at room temperature. Nitrogen dilutes oxygen and prevents rapid burning at the Earth's surface, and accounts for ~78 percent of Earth's atmosphere.
nutrient cycle
The nutrient cycle describes how nutrients move from the physical environment into living organisms and are recycled back to the physical environment.
A chemical reaction that takes place when a substance comes into contact with oxygen or another oxidizing substance. One example of oxidation is rusting of iron when the iron interacts with oxygen and water. In climate science, oxidation is important because it is one of the processes that leads to the formation of greenhouse gases.
Located within a terrestrial wetland environment where plant material cannot entirely decompose due to the presence of water.
Any ground that remains completely frozen—32°F (0°C) or colder—for at least two years straight. These permanently frozen grounds are commonly found in regions with high mountains and near the North and South Poles.
A petabyte is equal to one quadrillion (one thousand trillion) bytes, 1 million gigabytes, or 1,000 TB.
Supercomputing capable of performing at least 1 FLOPS (floating-point operations per second) or storage systems capable of storing at least 1 petabyte. A petabyte is equal to one quadrillion (one thousand trillion) bytes, or 1,000 TB.
Relating to both physical and chemical properties of any sample or substance and their interactions and reactions.
pyrogenic organic matter (PyOM)
Pyrogenic organic matter (PyOM) is produced by the incomplete combustion of organic matter. PyOM can represent a large portion of total soil organic carbon in fire-affected systems, and where PyOM is added intentionally as a soil amendment.
Python is a programming language that is an interpreted, object-oriented, high-level language used to automate tasks and conduct data analysis.
Data represented numerically, including anything that can be counted, measured, or given a numerical value.
radar meteorology
Weather information based upon the returned burst of energy emited by the radar. Radiowaves strike an object (rain drop, snowflake, hail, bug, etc.) and return a small fraction of energy directly back toward the radar.
radiative flux
The measurement of the amount of radiant energy that is released from the Earth's atmosphere across specific wavelengths ranging from solar to thermal infrared.
A chemical reaction that takes place between an oxidizing substance and a reducing substance. The oxidizing substance loses electrons in the reaction, and the reducing substance gains electrons.
A chemical reaction that takes place when a substance comes into contact with hydrogen or another reducing substance.
remote sensing
The process of detecting and monitoring the physical characteristics of an area by measuring its reflected and emitted radiation at a distance (typically from satellite or aircraft).
The process whereby living organisms consume CO2, convert it to energy, and release it as O2.
river corridor
A river (or stream) corridor includes the width of the channel in which water flows and is typically expanded to account for the extensive influence of the watercourse into the surrounding landscape.
The measure of dissolved salts in water. The rise in sea level due to global warming could result in increased salinity of rivers, bays, and aquifers.
secondary metabolite
Those molecules produced by organisms that are not required for growth per se, but which provide significant advantages to those organisms producing them.
secondary organic aerosol (SOA)
Secondary Organic Aerosols (SOAs) are air pollutants emitted from natural and man-made sources. They are produced through a complex interaction of sunlight, volatile organic compounds from trees, plants, cars or industrial emissions, and other airborne chemicals.
A way of describing groups based on their education, income, or job type. Socioeconomic status is usually described as low, medium, and high.
soil carbon
The measurable amount carbon dioxide stored in soil. It is the primary indicator of soil health, and it impacts the chemical, physical, and biological characteristics of the soil.
soil carbon process
A cycle that moves carbon between plants, animals, and microbes, minerals in the earth, and in the atmosphere.
An instrument attached to a weather balloon that measures and transmits pressure, humidity, temperature, and winds as it ascends.
Stratification refers to layers in rocks, soil, large bodies of water, and the atmosphere.
synchrotron radiation
The electromagnetic radiation emitted when charged particles travel in curved paths.
The process of combining a number of things into a coherent whole to form a theory or system.
The geographical and biological features that are associated with the Earth's solid, rocky surface, residing on or resembling the land or terrain found on our planet.
A type of ecosystem dominated by lichens, mosses, grasses, and woody plants. Generally located at high latitudes (arctic tundra) and high altitudes (alpine tundra).
Concentrations of human populations into discrete areas. This concentration leads to the transformation of land for residential, commercial, industrial and transportation purposes.
volatile organic compound (VOC)
Compounds that have a high vapor pressure and low water solubility. Many VOCs are human-made chemicals that are used and produced in the manufacture of paints, pharmaceuticals, and refrigerants.
An area of land that channels rainfall and snowmelt to creeks, streams, and rivers, and eventually flows to the lowest point in a basin.
An area of land that is periodically saturated with water, which influences the types of plants and animals that can live there. Wetlands include swamps, marshes, bogs, and other similar areas.