National Academies Press: OpenBook

Sea Change: 2015-2025 Decadal Survey of Ocean Sciences (2015)

Chapter:Appendix D: Glossary of Terms

« Previous: Appendix C: Virtual Town Hall Questionnaire
Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Glossary of Terms." National Research Council. 2015. Sea Change: 2015-2025 Decadal Survey of Ocean Sciences. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21655.
×

Appendix D


Glossary of Terms

Abrupt Change: Change that occurs more quickly than anticipated; often associated with “thresholds” and “tipping points.”

Anthropogenic: Caused by people and their activities.

Biodiversity, Marine: The variety of life found in the ocean and on or within the sea floor, especially related to species and genetic variation.

Biogeochemical: The nexus of biological, geological, and chemical processes; may be used to refer to just two of the three components.

Biosphere: That part of the planet that harbors life; used here in reference to “deep biosphere” or “subseafloor biosphere” to denote the microbial communities beneath the seafloor.

Carbon Cycle: The biogeochemical processes by which carbon is exchanged among the ocean, atmosphere, land and subseafloor, and biosphere. It is often used together with the nitrogen, water, and other cycles to describe those global cycles that allow the Earth to sustain life.

Climate: The slowly varying aspects of the atmosphere-ocean-land surface system. Typically characterized in terms of averages over a month or more, climate includes both the temporal and spatial variability of these averages.

Connectivity (biological context): How different species and trophic levels are connected; dispersion or dispersal of organisms from place to place.

Decision Rules: Advance planning on how to deal with unanticipated budgetary changes to allow more effective strategic planning and response to near-term budgetary adjustments.

Ecosystem Services: The benefits to humans accruing from ecosystems; often parsed into provisioning, regulating, supporting, and cultural services.

Extreme Events: Events that are outside average experience and expectation, used in relation to natural occurances such as hurricanes.

Fluids: In this report, used to denote liquids (especially seawater) and gases (especially from the atmosphere); does not include magma.

Ocean Acidification: A term used to describe significant changes to the chemistry of the ocean. It occurs when carbon dioxide gas (or CO2) is absorbed by the ocean and reacts with seawater to produce acid. The change in ocean chemistry caused by absorption of excess CO2 from the atmosphere. The reaction of CO2 with seawater causes a decrease in pH and an increase in the solubility of calcium carbonate, in the primary structural component of many marine species including clams, oysters, reef-building corals and calcareous plankton..

Ocean Circulation: The large-scale movement of water, created by horizontal currents and vertical motion such as upwelling and overturning, and driven by winds and the exchange of heat and freshwater at the air-sea interface.

Predictability: Used in a nontechnical sense to mean the extent to which natural phenomena can be forecast by existing models and data. Improved understanding of the phenomena can usually contribute to its predictability. We also distinguish between efforts to enhance predictability and efforts to make forecasts; the former are the focus of research activities, whereas the latter are often the province of operational agencies.

Primary Productivity: The rate at which energy is converted by photosynthetic and chemosynthetic processes and living organisms to organic substances; making new biomass from inorganic substances.

Readiness: Some topical areas are ready to be worked on: the tools and infrastructure exist, the money is possibly available, the questions are clear, the community interested in it is energized and perhaps growing, and the partners are ready and willing. It is “low-hanging fruit” in the sense that one does not need for it to ripen further. This does NOT imply that results will come quickly, only that the research can begin quickly.

Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Glossary of Terms." National Research Council. 2015. Sea Change: 2015-2025 Decadal Survey of Ocean Sciences. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21655.
×

Resilience: The capacity of an ecosystem to respond to a perturbation or disturbance by resisting damage and recovering quickly. Some research suggests resilience is degraded if biodiversity is decreased.

Sea Level: In this report, used as the longer-term changes associated with land subsidence/uplift, and especially those changes associated with climate change, specifically glacier melt and ocean warming, not the daily/ short-term variations associated with tides and winds.

Societal Impact: An increasing emphasis at NSF and in government-funded programs in general is to focus funding on areas of societal relevance. The federal themes of ocean-related societal relevance are stewardship of natural and cultural ocean resources, increasing resilience to natural hazards and environmental disasters, maritime operations and the marine environment, the ocean’s role in climate, improving ecosystem health, and enhancing human health.

Transformative: The potential for radically changing the understanding of—and how one thinks about—the topic being investigated, if the research is successful.

Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Glossary of Terms." National Research Council. 2015. Sea Change: 2015-2025 Decadal Survey of Ocean Sciences. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21655.
×
Page83
Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Glossary of Terms." National Research Council. 2015. Sea Change: 2015-2025 Decadal Survey of Ocean Sciences. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21655.
×
Page84
Next: Appendix E: Acronyms Used in the Report »
Sea Change: 2015-2025 Decadal Survey of Ocean Sciences Get This Book
×
Buy Paperback | $44.00 Buy Ebook | $35.99
MyNAP members save 10% online.
Login or Register to save!
Download Free PDF

Ocean science connects a global community of scientists in many disciplines - physics, chemistry, biology, geology and geophysics. New observational and computational technologies are transforming the ability of scientists to study the global ocean with a more integrated and dynamic approach. This enhanced understanding of the ocean is becoming ever more important in an economically and geopolitically connected world, and contributes vital information to policy and decision makers charged with addressing societal interests in the ocean.

Science provides the knowledge necessary to realize the benefits and manage the risks of the ocean. Comprehensive understanding of the global ocean is fundamental to forecasting and managing risks from severe storms, adapting to the impacts of climate change, and managing ocean resources. In the United States, the National Science Foundation (NSF) is the primary funder of the basic research which underlies advances in our understanding of the ocean. Sea Change addresses the strategic investments necessary at NSF to ensure a robust ocean scientific enterprise over the next decade. This survey provides guidance from the ocean sciences community on research and facilities priorities for the coming decade and makes recommendations for funding priorities.

  1. ×

    Welcome to OpenBook!

    You're looking at OpenBook, NAP.edu's online reading room since 1999. Based on feedback from you, our users, we've made some improvements that make it easier than ever to read thousands of publications on our website.

    Do you want to take a quick tour of the OpenBook's features?

    No Thanks Take a Tour »
  2. ×

    Show this book's table of contents, where you can jump to any chapter by name.

    « Back Next »
  3. ×

    ...or use these buttons to go back to the previous chapter or skip to the next one.

    « Back Next »
  4. ×

    Jump up to the previous page or down to the next one. Also, you can type in a page number and press Enter to go directly to that page in the book.

    « Back Next »
  5. ×

    Switch between the Original Pages, where you can read the report as it appeared in print, and Text Pages for the web version, where you can highlight and search the text.

    « Back Next »
  6. ×

    To search the entire text of this book, type in your search term here and press Enter.

    « Back Next »
  7. ×

    Share a link to this book page on your preferred social network or via email.

    « Back Next »
  8. ×

    View our suggested citation for this chapter.

    « Back Next »
  9. ×

    Ready to take your reading offline? Click here to buy this book in print or download it as a free PDF, if available.

    « Back Next »
Stay Connected!