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Glossary

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Acute mountain sickness:

Acute mountain sickness is the body’s natural reaction to the low levels of oxygen found in a high altitude environment. Symptoms of acute mountain sickness include loss of appetite, vomiting, headaches, confusion and extreme tiredness. This condition can affect anyone regardless of their physical fitness. The risks of developing acute mountain sickness can be greatly decreased by making sure climbers acclimatise properly while in high mountain areas.

Agriculture:

Farming (including the growing of crops and the rearing of animals).

Albedo:

Albedo is the ratio of solar radiation falling on the surface of the earth compared to the amount reflected from it.

Algae:

Plants that grow in water.

Altitude:

Altitude is the vertical height of a feature, measured as a distance from sea level.

Antarctic Ocean :

Antarctic Ocean refers to the southern waters surrounding Antarctica.

Antarctica :

The continental land area of approximately 14 million sq km surrounding the South Pole. The overlying ice cap is so thick in some places that it is believed its base may be below sea level; and it is possible that the land itself may be in two parts (East and West Antarctica).

Arctic:

Arctic can be applied to the north Polar Regions. The term also means the region lying within the Arctic Circle, or to the landscape, climate conditions, animal and plant life found roughly within that area; and is often used loosely just to mean very cold.

Arête:

An arête is a knife-edged feature caused by enlarged cwms on either side of the landform eroding back into the rock. This leaves a ridge with steep drops on either side. The jagged rocks on the arête are the result of frost shattering.

Arid:

Very dry

Atmosphere:

The air or mixture of gases .

Atmospheric pressure:

Atmospheric pressure is the force exerted by the weight of the atmosphere on the earth. The atmospheric pressure determines how much air is ‘pushed’ into your lungs with each breath.

Atmospheric saturation:

Atmospheric saturation is when the atmosphere cannot hold any more water. When saturated air cools, the water vapour it holds condenses to mist, cloud or rain.