Calorie: The amount of heat needed to raise the temperature of 1 gram of pure water by 1oC.
Canopy: The leafy part of a shrub or a tree.
Carbonation: A process of chemical weathering by a weak carbonic acid (water and carbon dioxide) that reacts with many minerals, especially limestone, containing calcium, magnesium, potassium, and sodium transforming them into carbonate.
Carbon monoxide: An odorless, colorless, tasteless combination of carbon and oxygen produced by the incomplete combustion of fossil fuels or other carbon-containing substances, CO.
Calcification: Calcification in a soil takes place when evaporation exceeds precipitation. In this case the material moves upward due to capillary action, bringing calcium-rich compounds upward.
California biome: The topmost layer of natural vegetation in this type of biome is dominated by oak canopy, chaparral, is located at the middle layer and small grasses lie at the bottom layer.
Carbon credit: A way of reducing the impact of greenhouse gases emission. It allows an agent to benefit financially from emission reduction. It represents one tone of carbon dioxide either removed from the atmosphere or saved from being emitted. It is also known as emission permit.
Carnivora: The order of mammals that includes seals, sea lions, walruses, and sea otters.
Carnivore: A secondary consumer that principally eats meat for sustenance. Top carnivores in a food chain is considered a tertiary consumer.
Carrying capacity: The size at which a particular population in a particular environment will stabilize when its supply of resources – including nutrients, energy, and living space – remain constant.
Cell: The basic organizational unit of life on this planet.
Chaparral: Dominant shrub formations of Mediterranean dry summer climates; characterized by (sclerophyllous) scrub and short, stunted, and tough forests; derived from the Sapnish chapparo, specific to California. It has short-leaved evergreen shrubs and small trees.
Chemical weathering: Decomposition and decay of the constituent minerals in rock through chemical alteration of those minerals. Water is essential, with rates keyed to temperature and precipitation values. Processes include hydrolysis, oxidation, carbonation, and solution.
Chemosynthesis: The synthesis of organic compounds from inorganic compounds using energy stored in inorganic substances such as sulfur, ammonia, and hydrogen. Energy is released when these substances are oxidized by certain organisms.
Chemotroph: Organisms that obtain energy by the oxidation of electron-donating molecules in their environment.
Chinook: A warm, dry wind blowing down off the Rocky Mountains of western North America.
Chipko movement: It was a people’s movement to counter deforestation in Garhwal (Uttarakhand).
Chlorofluorocarbon Compounds (CFCs): Large manufactured molecules (polymers) containing chlorine, fluorine, and carbon; inert and processing remarkable heat properties; also known as halogens. After slow transport to the stratosphere ozone layer CFCs react with ultraviolet radiation freeing chlorine atoms that act as a catalyst to produce reactions that destroys ozone.
Chlorophyll: A light-sensitive pigment that resides within the chloroplast bodies of plants in leaf cells, the basis of photosynthesis.
Cirque: A scooped-out, amphitheater-shaped basin at the head of an alpine glacier valley; an erosional landform.
Cirrus: Wispy filaments of ice-crystal clouds that occur above 6000 m; appear in a variety of forms, from feathery hair-like fibers to veils of fused sheets.
Climate: The consistent, long term, behavior of weather over time, including its variability, in contrast to weather, which is the condition of the atmosphere at any given place and time. In other words, all types of weather that occur at a given place over time.
Climatic regions: Area of similar climate, which contain characteristic regional weather and air mass patterns.
Climax: The stable, enduring plant community that is the final result of a succession of communities (sere). The succession begins with the colonization of bare or water that sustains no plant like.
Climatology: A scientific study of climate and climatic patterns and the consistent behavior of weather and weather variability and extremes over time in one place or region; including the effects of climate change on human society and culture.
Closed System: A system that is shut off from the surrounding environment so that it is entirely self contained in terms of energy and materials; Earth is a closed material system (See open system).
Cloud: An aggregation of moisture droplets and icy crystals that are suspended in air and are great enough in volume and density to be visible; basic forms include stratiform, cumuliform, and cirroform.
Coal: A biochemical rock, rich in carbon; including lignite, bituminous, and anthracite forms.
Composite volcano: A volcano formed by a sequence of explosive volcanic eruptions; steep sided, conical in shape; sometimes referred to as a strato-volcano, although composite is the preferred term.
Codensation: The change of state from a gas to a liquid.
Community: IT is a collection of species population, e.g., in a stand of pine- trees, there may be many species of insects, birds, animals, each being a separate breeding unit, yet each being dependent upon others for its own existence.
Components of environment: There are three basic components of environment. These include (i) abiotic (physical or inorganic) components; (ii) biotic (organic components); and (iii) the energy component.
Conduction: The slow molecule-to-molecule transfer of heat through a medium, from warmer to cooler portions.
Consumer: Organisms in an ecosystem that depends on producers (autotrophs), organisms capable of using carbon dioxide as their sole source of carbon) for their source of nutrients.
Continental glacier: A continuous mass of unconfined ice, covering at least 50,000 sq km; most extensive as ice sheets covering Antarctica and Greenland.
Continentality: A qualitative designation applied to regions that lack the temperature-moderating effects of the sea and that exhibit a greater range between minimum and maximum temperatures, both daily and annually.
Contour Line: Isolines on a topographic map that connect all points at the same elevation relative to a reference elevation called vertical datum.
Convection: Vertical transfer of heat from one place to another through the actual physical movement of air; involves a strong vertical motion.
Coordinated Universal Time (UTC): The official reference time in all countries, formerly known as Greenwich Mean Time; now measured by six primary standard atomic clocks whose time calculations are collected in Paris (France), by the Bureau International de l’Heure.
Coral: A simple, cylindrical marine animal with a saclike body that secretes calcium carbonate to form a hard external skeleton; lives symbiotically with nutrient-producing algae.
Core: The deepest inner portion of Earth, representing one-third of its entire mass; differentiated into two zones – a solid iron inner core surrounded by a dense, molten, fluid metallic-iron outer core.
Chorley, R.J. 1969, Water, Earth and Man, ed., London, Methuen.
Coriolis Force: The apparent deflection of moving objects on Earth from a straight path, in relationship to the differential speed of rotation at varying latitudes. Deflection is to the right in the Northern Hemisphere and to the left in the Southern Hemisphere; it produces a maximum effect at the poles and zero effect along the equator.
Crater: A circular surface or pipe; can be at the summit or on the flank of a volcano.
Crust: Earth’s outer shell of crystalline surface rock, ranging from 5 to 60 km in thickness from oceanic crust to mountain ranges.
Cybernatics: It is the science of systems of control in an ecosystem.
Cyclone: A dynamically or thermally caused low-pressure area of converging and ascending air-flow (see wave cyclone and tropical cyclone).
Daylength: Duration of exposure to insolation, varying during the year depending on latitude, an important aspect of seasonality.
Daylight saving time: Time is set ahead one hour in the spring and set back one hour in the fall in the Northern Hemisphere. Time is set a head on the first Sunday in April and setback on the last Sunday in October – only Hawaii, Arizona, portions of Indiana, and Saskatchewan exempt themselves.
Debris avalanche: A mass of falling and tumbling rock, debris, and soil; can be dangerous because of the tremendous velocities achieved by the onrushing materials.
Decomposers: Microorganisms that digest and recycle organic debris and waste in the environment; includes bacteria, fungi, insects, and worms.
Deflation: A process of wind erosion that removes and lifts individual particles, literally blowing away unconsolidated, dry, or non-cohesive sediments.
Deforestation: It refers to the forest loss. Once the degradation of forest becomes serious, the reversal of the process is very difficult. Through the process of deforestation, the forest area is converted into arable land, pastures, or wasteland.
Delta: A depositional plain formed where a river enters a lake or an ocean; named after the triangular shape of the Greek letter delta.
Denudation: A general term that refers to all processes that cause degradation of the landscape: weathering, mass movement, erosion and transport.
Deposition: The process whereby weathered, wasted, and transported sediments are laid down; deposited by air, water, or ice.
Desert Biome: Arid landscape of unique adapted dry climate plants and animals.
Desertification: The spread of desert like conditions in a given location.
Detritus Food Chain: Food chain that starts from dead and decayed organisms, to the mocro-organisms, to the detrivorous or saprovores and these predators form a chain called detritus food-chain.
Detrivores or decomposers: The decomposer organisms are known as detrivores. All energy finally passes to decomposer organisms.
Dew point temperature: The temperature at which a given mass of air becomes saturated, holding all the water it can hold. Any further cooling or addition of water vapour results in active condensation.
Diatom: The Earth’s most abundant, successful, and efficient single-celled phytoplankton. Diatoms possess two interlocking valves made primarily of silica. The valves contribute to biogenous sediments.
Diffuse radiation: The downward component of scattered incoming insolation from clouds and the atmosphere.
Dissolved load: Materials carried in chemical solution in a stream derived from minerals such as limestone and dolomite, or from soluble salts.
Diurnal: Occurring in the daytime or having a daily cycle.
Divergent evolution: Evolutionary radiation of different species from a common ancestor.
Diversity: A principle of ecology: the more diverse the species population (both in number of species and quantity of members in each species), the more risks are spread over the entire community, which e results in greater overall stability.
Doldrums: The zone of rising air near the equator known for sultry air and variable breeze. Also known as the intertropical convergence zone.
Drainage Pattern: A geometric arrangement of streams in a region; determined by slope, differing rock resistance to weathering and erosion, climatic and hydrological variability, and structural controls of the landscape.
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