Definitions and Acronyms

Albedo: the ratio of solar radiation on a surface to the amount of that radiation that is reflected back to the atmosphere. Climate: the pattern of atmospheric conditions in a given area over a period of several years to thousands of years. Evapotranspiration: the sum of evaporation and plant transpiration from the Earth’s land and ocean surface to the atmosphere. Floodplain: A flat area alongside a stream or river that is subject to flooding. Hydrologic cycle: The continuous process by which water is circulated throughout the Earth and its atmosphere. Impermeable surfaces: A surface composed of any material that impedes or prevents natural infiltration of water into the soil. Subsidence: The gradual sinking of land masses due to a variety of causes. Urban Boundary layer (UBL): surrounds the city and includes all of the heated and polluted air above the skyline. Urban Canopy Layer (UCL): The atmosphere within an accumulation of buildings, trees and other objects in an urban area. Urban Canyon: the area in a city that can trap reflected light within the walls of the buildings. Urban Dust Dome (UDD):  The dome of polluted air that forms over a city during calm conditions as a result of the urban heat island effect that traps gaseous and fine particulate matter. Urban Heat Island (UHI): The generally warmer urban temperatures compared to those over surrounding, non-urban, areas. Urban Sprawl: the spreading of urban developments (such as houses and shopping centers) on undeveloped land near a city. Watershed: the area of land where all of the water that falls in it and drains off of it goes to a common outlet. Weather: The short-term changes in the temperature, barometric pressure, humidity, precipitation, sunshine, cloud cover, wind direction and speed, and other conditions at a given time and place.

United States Environmental Protection Agency: federal agency charged with monitoring and enforcing environmental regulation such as the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, as well as other national policies. CWA: Clean Water Act; 1972 federal law created to control the discharge of point-source pollutants; creates a permitting system for the discharge of pollutants as a result of industry as well as a monitoring system. NPDES: National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System; builds upon the Clean Water Act by serving as the permitting system, which works to enforce the standards created by the Clean Water Act. Superfund: Federal government program that designates and provides financial support for the cleanup of hazardous waste and contaminants. NGO: Non-governmental Organization

Economics: the science that deals with the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services, or the material welfare of humankind. Gentrification: the buying and renovation of houses and stores in deteriorated urban neighborhoods by upper- or middle-income families or individuals, raising property values but often displacing low-income families and small businesses. Socioeconomic: of, relating to, or signifying the combination or interaction of social and economic factors. Sustainability: avoidance of the depletion of natural resources to maintain an ecological balance. Tax incentives: a government measure that is intended to encourage individuals and businesses to spend money or to save money by reducing the amount of tax that they must pay. Urbanization: An increase in a population in cities versus rural areas. Triple Bottom Line: says that true sustainability is created through the integration of social, economic, and environmental efforts. Urban Tree Canopy: The layer of tree cover above a given area. Watershed: A land area that channels rainfall and snow melt to creeks, streams, and rivers, and eventually to outflow points such as reservoirs, bays, and the ocean. Community Science: typically refers to research collaborations between scientists and volunteers, particularly (but not exclusively) to expand opportunities for scientific data collection and to provide access to scientific information for community members. Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO): The untreated or partially treated human and industrial waste, toxic materials, and debris as well as stormwater. Combined Sewer System (CSS): The collection of rainwater runoff, domestic sewage, and industrial wastewater into one pipe. EPA: Environmental protection agency- a governmental organization that aims to protect human health and the environment Green Infrastructure: incorporates both the natural environment and engineered systems to provide clean water, conserve ecosystem values and functions, and provide a wide array of benefits to people and wildlife. Green space: an area of grass, trees, or other vegetation set apart for recreational or aesthetic purposes in an otherwise urban environment. NGOs: Non-governmental organization- any non-profit, voluntary citizens’ group which is organized on a local, national or international level

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