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The Green Life: Eco-Vocabulary Quiz: Climate Change

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September 26, 2012

Eco-Vocabulary Quiz: Climate Change

Wind TurbineWhen it comes to ecological issues, do you know your windmills from your oil spills? How about your PCB's from your POP's? Take our eco-vocabulary quiz and find out if you're an environmental maven!

Test Your Eco-Vocabulary: Climate Change

1) Permafrost

2) Methane Hydrate

3) Climate Velocity

4) Carbon Intensity

5) Geoengineering


1) Permafrost: Frozen soil that doesn't melt for at least a year, and possibly for thousands of years. In other words: old, icy mud. Permafrost can lie only a foot below the earth's surface, but can be over 490 feet thick! When it finally melts, Permafrost releases CO2 and can destroy structures like roads, buildings, and pipelines.

2) Methane Hydrate: A kind of ice that traps methane (a greenhouse gas more powerful than CO2) molecules. Methane hydrate only exists under cold and pressure, and is naturally found buried under permafrost and beneath the ocean floor. There is twice the amount of carbon stored in methane hydrates as all other fossil fuels combined! If the methane hydrates ever melted and released even a portion of that methane, our atmosphere could be in big trouble.

3) Climate Velocity: The speed at which you would have to move up elevation or latitude to stay at the same temperature as the earth warms. If you live on a mountainside, you don't have to go far, cooler weather is right uphill (at least until you reach the top)! But if you live on flat country, you'll have to cover a lot more ground as you move towards the poles. This is important for plants and animals, since they might not be able to move fast enough to keep up with their preferred climate.

4) Carbon Intensity: How much CO2 is emitted by a country per dollar of GDP. This does not measure how much CO2 is being emitted, but it does show how efficiently we turn emissions into profit. The United State's carbon intensity has been getting steadily smaller (more efficient) over the last decade.

5) Geoengineering: The controversial idea that we can fix the problems of climate change by directly engineering the earth's systems to cool it. Examples would include building a sun shade in space to block solar radiation, pumping sulfur dioxide into the atmosphere to reflect sunlight, and fertilizing giant plankton blooms to absorb CO2.

 --Image by iStockphoto/dbabbage

Read More:

Methane Seeps in the Arctic Permafrost

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