Chapter 13 Vocab Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs): Synthetic organic compounds first created in the 1950s and used primarily as refrigerants and as propellants. The role of CFCs in the destruction of the ozone layer led to the signing of an international agreement (the Montreal Protocol). Anthropocene: Geological epoch defined by atmospheric chemist Paul Crutzen to acknowledge the central role humans play in shaping the Earth’s environment.Pangaea: The primeval supercontinent, hypothesized by Alfred Wegner, that broke apart and formed the continents and oceans as we know them today; consisted of wo parts- a northern Laurasia and a southern Gondwana.
Tectonic Plates: Large pieces of rock that form portions of the Earth’s mantle and crust and which are in motion. Photosynthesis: The formation of carbohydrates in living plants from water and carbon dioxide, through the action of sunlight on chlorophyll in those plants, including algae. Mass Depletions: Loss of diversity through a failure to produce new species.
Mass Extictions: Mass destruction of most species. Pacific Ring of Fire: Ocean-girdling zone of crustal instability, volcanism, and arthquakes resulting from the tectonic activity along plate boundaries in the region. Pleistocene: 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 interglaciations of which the current warm phase, the Holocene epoch, has witnessed the rise of human civilization. Glaciation: A period of global cooling during which continental ice sheets and mountain glaciers expand.Interglacials: Warm periods during an ice age. Wisconsin Glaciation: The most recent glacial period of Pleistocene, enduring about 80,000 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: Temporary but significant cooling period between the fourteenth and the nineteenth centuries; accompanied by wide temperature fluctuations, droughts, and storms, causing famines and dislocation. Greenhouse Effect: Warming that results when solar radiation is trapped by the atmosphere.Environmental Stress: The threat to environmental security by human activity such as tmospheric and groundwater pollution, deforestation, oil spills, and ocean dumping. Renewable Resources: Resources that can regenerate as they are exploited.
Nonrenewable Resources: Resources such as fossil fuels, which can not be made again. Aquifers: Underground rock layers that store large amounts of water. 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.Atmosphere: A mixture of gases that surrounds a planet or moon. 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 faster than forests can replace themselves.
Soil Erosion: Movement of soil components, especially topsoil, from one place to another, usually by wind, flowing water, or both. This natural process can be greatly accelerated by human activities that remove vegetation from soil. Solid Waste: Any unwanted or discarded material that is not a liquid or a gas. 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 soil as the wastes are compacted and deposited into the landfill.
Toxic Waste: Form of hazardous waste that causes death or serious injury (such as urns, respiratory diseases, cancers, or genetic mutations). See hazardous waste. Radioactive Waste: Useless radioactive materials that are left after some laboratory or commercial process is completed. Biodiversity: The diversity of plant and animal life in a particular habitat (or in the world as a whole). Rare Earth Elements: The ‘inner-most’ elements, which are usually placed at the bottom of the periodic table. Ozone Layer: Layer of the stratosphere with a high concentration of ozone; absorbs most of the Sun’s harmful ultraviolet radiation.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: An international agreement signed in 1987 by 105 countries and the European Community (now European Union). The protocol called for a reduction in the production and consumption of CFCs of 50 percent by 2000. Subsequent meetings in London (1990) and Copenhagen (1992) accelerated the timing of CFC phaseout, and a worldwide complete ban has been in effect since 1996.