IB DP Geography Key Terms

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  • (Cultural) homogenization
    • An aspect of cultural globalization, listed as one of its main characteristics, and refers to the reduction in cultural diversity through the popularization and diffusion of a wide array of cultural symbols - not only physical objects but customs, ideas and values.
  • (Raw) materials
    • Raw materials are materials or substances used in the primary production or manufacturing of goods. Examples of raw materials include steel, oil, corn, grain, gasoline, lumber, forest resources, plastic, natural gas, coal, and minerals.
  • Ablation
    • The process by which a glacier loses mass or ice.
  • Abrasion
    • The scrapping, scouring, rubbing and grinding action of materials being carried along by moving natural features such as rivers, glaciers, waves and strong winds.
  • Access to safe water
    • Measured by the percentage of the population having access to and using improved drinking water sources.
  • Access to sanitation
    • The percentage of the population which has access and are using improved sanitation facilities.
  • Accumulation
    • The process by which snow and ice accumulate and build up in a glacier or ice sheet over time.
  • Adaptation
    • Means anticipating the adverse effects of climate change and taking appropriate action to prevent or minimise the damage they can cause, or taking advantage of opportunities that may arise.
  • Affirmative action
    • Refers to a set of policies and practices within a government or organization seeking to include particular groups based on their gender, race, sexuality, creed or nationality in areas in which they are underrepresented such as education and employment.
  • Afforestation
    • The deliberate and planned process of planting and establishing trees and other vegetation on land that was previously devoid of forest cover, typically with the aim of mitigating environmental issues.
  • Age dependency ratio
    • The sum of the young population (under age 15) and elderly population (age 65 and over) relative to the working-age population (ages 15 to 64).
  • Agribusiness
    • The business sector encompassing farming and farming-related commercial activities. It involves all the steps required to send an agricultural good to market, namely production, processing, and distribution.
  • Anthropocene
    • A proposed geological epoch dating from the commencement of significant human impact on Earth's geology and ecosystems, including, but not limited to, anthropogenic climate change.
  • Anti-globalization
    • A social movement critical of economic globalization.
  • Aquifer
    • A body of rock and/or sediment that holds groundwater.
  • Arête
    • The name given to a narrow, knife-edged ridge with steep sides found in glaciated upland regions. Results from the formation of cirques.
  • Aridity
    • Usually expressed as a function of rainfall and temperature. A useful "representation" is p/ETP where: P = precipitation ETP = potential evapotranspiration taking into account atmospheric humidity, solar radiation, and wind.
  • Atmospheric storage
    • The storage of water in the atmosphere in the form of water vapor, clouds, and precipitation.
  • Attrition
    • The process by which rocks and sediment are worn down and smoothed by the constant rubbing and grinding against each other during transportation.
  • Bandwidth
    • The maximum amount of data transmitted over an internet connection in a given amount of time.
  • Belt and Road Initiative
    • A global infrastructure development strategy adopted by the Chinese government in 2013 to invest in nearly 70 countries and international organizations. "Belt" is short for the "Silk Road Economic Belt," referring to the proposed overland routes for road and rail transportation through landlocked Central Asia; whereas "road" is short for the "21st Century Maritime Silk Road", referring to the Indo-Pacific sea routes through Southeast Asia to South Asia, the Middle East and Africa.
  • Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) flights
    • Drone activities that are beyond the visual line of sight of the operator.
  • Biome
    • A biogeographical unit consisting of a biological community that has formed in response to the physical environment in which they are found and a shared regional climate. Biomes may span more than one continent. Biome is a broader term than habitat and can comprise a variety of habitats.
  • Blue water
    • Fresh surface and groundwater, in other words, the water in freshwater lakes, rivers and aquifers.
  • Boserup's theory
    • Boserup is known for her theory of agricultural intensification, also known as Boserup's theory, which posits that population change drives the intensity of agricultural production. Her position countered the Malthusian theory that agricultural methods determine population via limits on food supply. A major point of her book is that "necessity is the mother of invention".
  • BRICS
    • The acronym coined to associate five major emerging economies: Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa.
  • Buttes
    • A tall, narrow hill with steep sides and a flat top, similar to a mesa but with a smaller area at the top. It is typically taller than it is wide and often rises abruptly from the surrounding landscape.
  • Carbon cycle
    • The series of processes by which carbon compounds are interconverted in the environment, involving the incorporation of carbon dioxide into living tissue by photosynthesis and its return to the atmosphere through respiration, the decay of dead organisms, and the burning of fossil fuels.
  • Carbon footprint
    • A carbon footprint is the total amount of greenhouse gases (including carbon dioxide and methane) that are generated by our actions.
  • Carbon sequestration
    • The process of capturing and storing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere or other sources, preventing it from being released into the atmosphere.
  • Censorship
    • The suppression of speech, public communication, or other information.
  • Challenges
    • Refers to the difficulties or obstacles that arise in the interaction between human societies and their physical environments.
  • Channel bed roughness
    • The roughness of the channel bed.
  • Channel flow
    • The movement of water within the river or stream channel.
  • Channel modifications
    • Alteration of a channel by changing the physical dimensions or materials of its bed or banks. Channel modification includes damming, rip-rapping (or other armoring), widening, deepening, straightening, relocating, lining and significant removal of native vegetation from the bottom or banks.
  • Channel storage
    • The water held in a river or stream channel, including pools and slower-moving sections.
  • Chemical weathering
    • Involves the decay and decomposition of rocks in situ. It usually occurs in the presence of water, which acts as a dilute acid. The rate tends to increase with rising temperatures and humidity levels.
  • Chinatown
    • An ethnic enclave of Chinese people located outside mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, Singapore or Taiwan, most often in an urban setting. Areas known as "Chinatown" exist throughout the world, including Europe, North America, South America, Asia, Africa and Australasia.
  • Circular economy
    • A model of production and consumption, which involves sharing, leasing, reusing, repairing, refurbishing and recycling existing materials and products as long as possible.
  • Cirque
    • This is a semi-circular hollow high up at the head of a glacial valley on the flanks of a glacial mountain. It was formerly a massive collecting ground for ice that flowed into a glacial valley below. It has a steep headwall to the rear, a bowl-shaped rock basin in its centre and a rock lip at its lower end.
  • Civil society
    • The aggregate of non-governmental organizations and institutions that manifest interests and will of citizens.
  • Climate
    • The long-term weather pattern in an area, typically averaged over 30 years.
  • Climate modelling
    • The use of mathematical and computer-based techniques to simulate and predict long-term patterns and trends in atmospheric conditions, temperature, precipitation, and other climate-related variables in specific geographic regions or globally.
  • Closed system
    • A system that does not exchange matter with its surroundings, but can exchange energy.
  • Composite index
    • A mathematical combinations (or aggregations) of a set of indicators.
  • Confluence
    • The point where two or more rivers or streams meet and merge into a single watercourse.
  • Consumer item
    • Consumer goods are products bought for consumption by the average consumer. Alternatively called final goods, consumer goods are the end result of production and manufacturing and are what a consumer will see stocked on the store shelf.
  • Contagious diffusion
    • Infectious diseases are a prime example. A disease follows no rules, nor does it recognise borders as it spreads. A forest fire is another example that fits this category. A kind of expansion diffusion.
  • Containerization
    • A system of intermodal freight transport using intermodal containers (also called shipping containers). The containers have standardized dimensions. They can be loaded and unloaded, stacked, transported efficiently over long distances, and transferred from one mode of transport to another without being opened.
  • Contemporary
    • Belonging to or occurring in the present.
  • Core
    • A central region in an economy, with good communications and high population density, which conduce to its prosperity.
  • Core and periphery
    • The concept of a developed core surrounded by an undeveloped periphery. The concept can be applied at various scales.
  • Corporate social responsibility
    • A self-regulatory business model practiced by large and small companies. The concept allows businesses to be socially accountable to their stakeholders and the public. By adopting clear CSR strategies, companies accept responsibility for their impact on society – including all economic, social, and environmental aspects.
  • Corporation tax
    • A direct tax imposed on the net income or profit that enterprises make from their businesses.
  • Corrasion
    • An alternative name for abrasion.
  • Counterfeit goods
    • Counterfeit goods contain a trademark or logo that is identical to or substantially indistinguishable from the trademark of another. They mimic the brand features of the product in an attempt to pass themselves off as a genuine product of the brand owner.
  • Creep
    • The slow downhill movement of soil and other material such as scree (talus). Can be caused by the expansion and contraction of the soil caused by either seasonal wetting and drying (especially clays) or seasonal and diurnal freezing and thawing of the soil surface.
  • Crop yields
    • A measurement of the amount of a crop grown, or product such as wool, meat or milk produced, per unit area of land.
  • Cross-border flows
    • Flows of products, services, capital, information and people across political (country) borders.
  • Cross-sectional area
    • The area of a the cross-section of water flowing in a channel.
  • Crowd-sourcing
    • Involves a large group of dispersed participants contributing or producing goods or services - including ideas, votes, micro-tasks, and finances - for payment or as volunteers. Often involves digital platforms to attract and divide work between participants to achieve a cumulative result.
  • Cultural diversity
    • The quality of diverse or different cultures, as opposed to monoculture, the global monoculture, or a homogenization of cultures, akin to cultural evolution.
  • Cultural imperialism
    • The practice of promoting the culture, values or language of one nation in another, less powerful one.
  • Cultural trait
    • A single identifiable material or non-material element within a culture.
  • Cybersecurity
    • The art of protecting networks, devices, and data from unauthorized access or criminal use and the practice of ensuring confidentiality, integrity, and availability of information.
  • Daily per capita calorie supply
    • The total calorie supply available for human consumption divided by the total number of actual population utilizing it.
  • Debt relief
    • The partial or total remission of debts, especially those owed by developing countries to external creditors.
  • Deepfake
    • A blend of "deep learning" and "fake" are synthetic media in which a person in an existing image or video is replaced with someone else's likeness. While the act of creating fake content is not new, deepfakes leverage powerful techniques from machine learning and artificial intelligence to manipulate or generate visual and audio content that can more easily deceive.
  • Deforestation
    • The removal of a forest or stand of trees from land that is then converted to non-forest use.
  • Delta
    • a landform created by deposition of sediment that is carried by a river as the flow leaves its mouth and enters slower-moving or stagnant water.
  • Demographic dividend
    • The accelerated economic growth that may result from a decline in a country’s birth and death rates and the subsequent change in the age structure of the population. With fewer births each year, a country’s young dependent population declines in relation to the working-age population. With fewer people to support, a country has a window of opportunity for rapid economic growth if the right social and economic policies are developed and investments made.
  • Demographic transition
    • The changes in key population parameters over time, primarily focusing on birth rates, death rates, and overall population growth within a society or country as it undergoes social and economic changes.
  • Deposition
    • The process by which sediment or other materials are deposited or settled in a new location, often as a result of the loss of energy by the agent of transportation.
  • Desalination
    • A process that takes away mineral components from saline water. Saltwater (especially sea water) is desalinated to produce water suitable for human consumption or irrigation.
  • Desertification
    • Land degradation in arid, semi-arid and dry sub-humid areas resulting from various factors, including climatic variations and human activities. This degradation includes the temporary or permanent decline in the quality of soil, vegetation, water resources or wildlife, for example. It also includes the deterioration of the economic productivity of the land – such as the ability to farm the land for commercial or subsistence purposes.
  • Development gap
    • The widening difference in levels of development between the world's richest and poorest countries.
  • Diasporas
    • A scattered population whose origin lies in a separate geographic locale. Historically, the word diaspora was used to refer to the mass dispersion of a population from its indigenous territories. Whilst the word was originally used to describe the forced displacement of certain peoples, "diasporas" is now generally used to describe those who identify with a geographic location, but now reside elsewhere.
  • Differential erosion
    • Erosion that occurs at irregular or varying rates, caused by the differences in the resistance and hardness of surface materials: softer and weaker rocks are rapidly worn away, whereas harder and more resistant rocks remain to form ridges, hills, or mountains.
  • Diffusion
    • The spread of a phenomenon, such as an idea, a technological innovation, or a disease, over space and time.
  • Diffusion of innovations
    • The leading theory in agricultural extension post World War II until the 1970s. It is still used today in agricultural extension, particularly when extension is concerned with an adoption of a particular technology. It is proposed that five main elements influence the spread of a new idea: the innovation itself, adopters, communication channels, time, and a social system. The categories of adopters are innovators, early adopters, early majority, late majority, and laggards.
  • Direct action
    • Can take many different forms, from occupying buildings or blocking roads, to more disruptive actions such as property damage or violence. It is often seen as a last resort by those taking part, when other methods of protest, such as petitions or letter-writing, have failed.
  • Discharge
    • The volume of flow of water in a channel, measured in cubic metres per second (cumecs).
  • Disease burden
    • The impact of a health problem on a given population, and can be measured using a variety of indicators such as mortality, morbidity or financial cost. This allows the burden of disease to be compared between different areas, for example regions, towns or electoral wards.
  • Disease continuum
    • The continuum from diseases of poverty to diseases of affluence.
  • Diseases of affluence
    • Those so-called chronic "degenerative" diseases whose incidence has been rising conspicuously in industrialized societies as incomes have risen, as living standards have gone up and even as health indices have improved. Examples of diseases of affluence include mostly chronic non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and other physical health conditions for which personal lifestyles and societal conditions associated with economic development are believed to be an important risk factor — such as type 2 diabetes, asthma, coronary heart disease etc.
  • Diseases of poverty
    • Diseases that are more prevalent in low-income populations. They include infectious diseases, as well as diseases related to malnutrition and poor health behaviour. HIV, Malaria and Tuberculosis (TB) also known as “the big three” have been acknowledged as infectious diseases that disproportionately affect developing countries.
  • Disposable income
    • Household disposable income measures the income of households (wages and salaries, self-employed income, social benefits, etc.), after taking into account the payment of taxes and social contributions.
  • Disruptive technological innovations
    • A disruptive technology is one that displaces an established technology and shakes up the industry or a ground-breaking product that creates a completely new industry.
  • Dissolved load
    • Products of solution can be carried by the water even during low flows.
  • Distribution
    • Spread over an area.
  • Divergent thinking
    • The process of creating multiple, unique ideas or solutions to a problem that you are trying to solve.
  • Drainage basin
    • The area of land drained by a river.
  • Dredging
    • Dredging is the excavation of material from a water environment.
  • Drone
    • An unmanned aircraft or ship that can navigate autonomously, without human control or beyond line of sight.
  • Drought
    • A prolonged and abnormal deficiency in precipitation relative to the statistical multi-year average for a particular region, leading to water scarcity, reduced soil moisture, and adverse impacts on ecosystems, agriculture, and human activities.
  • Dry cargo
    • Goods, such as coal, metals, and grain, that are not liquid and are carried in large quantities by ship.
  • Dunes
    • Sand formations found in desert regions that have been shaped by wind over time. They are typically composed of loose, dry sand and can range in size from small ripples to large hills that can be several hundred meters high. They are formed through a process called aeolian transport, in which wind moves sand particles across the surface of the desert. When the wind encounters an obstacle, such as a rock or vegetation, the sand is deposited, and over time, this accumulation can build up to form a dune. Can take on different shapes and forms depending on the direction and strength of the wind. Barchan dunes, for example, are crescent-shaped dunes that form when wind blows in a single direction, while longitudinal dunes form parallel to the prevailing wind direction.
  • E-passport
    • A biometric passport is a traditional passport that has an embedded electronic microprocessor chip which contains biometric information that can be used to authenticate the identity of the passport holder.
  • Ecological footprint
    • The theoretical measurement of the amount of land and water a population requires to produce the resources it consumes and to absorb its waste under prevailing technology.
  • Economic development
    • The process whereby simple, low-income national economies are transformed into modern industrial economies.
  • Economic migrant
    • A person who leaves their country of origin purely for economic reasons that are not in any way related to the refugee definition, in order to seek material improvements in their livelihood.
  • Economic water scarcity
    • Where water is available locally but not accessible for human, institutional or financial capital reasons.
  • Ecosystem
    • Consists of all the organisms and the physical environment with which they interact. These biotic and abiotic components are linked together through nutrient cycles and energy flows. Ecosystems are controlled by external and internal factors. External factors such as climate, parent material which forms the soil and topography, control the overall structure of an ecosystem but are not themselves influenced by the ecosystem.
  • Emerging economies
    • There is no official definition of an emerging market. The IMF World Economic Outlook classifies 39 economies as “advanced,” based on such factors as high per capita income, exports of diversified goods and services, and greater integration into the global financial system. The following countries are in the emerging market group, in alphabetical order: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, China, Colombia, Egypt, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Mexico, the Philippines, Poland, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Thailand, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates.
  • Emerging world
    • Emerging markets are typically countries with low to middle per capita income that have undertaken economic development and reform programs and have begun to 'emerge' as significant players in the global economy.
  • Empower
    • Make (someone) stronger and more confident, especially in controlling their life and claiming their rights.
  • Energy efficiency ratio
    • A property of agricultural systems. It is defined as the ratio of energy out to energy in. The energy out is the energy that the system outputs in the food we eat. The energy in is the energy that the system consumes in order to produce the food. Different types of agriculture systems vary widely in energy efficiency, a fact that has important implications.
  • Energy grid
    • An energy grid is an interconnected network for electricity delivery from producers to consumers. Electrical grids vary in size and can cover whole countries or continents.
  • Energy pathways
    • The flows of energy from producer to consumer. Pathways can take the form of oil pipelines, gas pipelines, electricity power lines and sea routes of tankers.
  • Energy policy
    • The strategies and decisions made by a government or organization to manage energy production, distribution, and consumption, with the aim of ensuring a secure, sustainable, and affordable energy supply.
  • Energy security
    • A country's ability to secure all its energy needs.
  • Englacial
    • “Within” the ice.
  • Environmental push factors
    • Environmental (relating to the natural world and the impact of human activity on its condition) factors which initiate and influence the decision to migrate by impelling or stimulating emigration
  • Epidemic
    • An unexpected increase in the number of disease cases in a specific geographical area.
  • Epidemiological
    • The study (scientific, systematic, and data-driven) of the distribution (frequency, pattern) and determinants (causes, risk factors) of health-related states and events (not just diseases) in specified populations (neighborhood, school, city, state, country, global).
  • Erosion
    • Involves the removal of weathered material by the action of gravity, water, wind or ice.
  • Erratic
    • The name given to a rock which has been transported by a glacier and deposited in an area of different geology than that of its source.
  • Eutrophication
    • A process in which excessive nutrient runoff, typically from agricultural or urban areas, enters a water body, leading to an overabundance of nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus. This nutrient enrichment promotes the rapid growth of algae and aquatic plants, often resulting in oxygen depletion and negative ecological impacts in aquatic ecosystems.
  • Evaporation
    • The process by which water is transformed from liquid to vapor, transferring from surfaces like lakes, rivers, or moist soil into the atmosphere.
  • Evapotranspiration
    • The sum of evaporation from the land surface plus transpiration from plants.
  • Expansion diffusion
    • When innovations spread to new places while staying strong in their original locations.
  • Fairtrade
    • A system of certification that aims to ensure a set of standards are met in the production and supply of a product or ingredient. For farmers and workers, Fairtrade means workers’ rights, safer working conditions and fairer pay. For shoppers it means high quality, ethically produced products.
  • Falling limb
    • The period of time when the river’s discharge is falling after it has reached Peak Discharge.
  • Famine
    • It can be declared only when certain measures of mortality, malnutrition and hunger are met. They are: at least 20 per cent of households in an area face extreme food shortages with a limited ability to cope; acute malnutrition rates exceed 30 per cent; and the death rate exceeds two persons per day per 10,000 persons.
  • Fertile
    • Producing or bearing many crops in great quantities.
  • Fertility rate
    • The total fertility rate in a specific year is defined as the total number of children that would be born to each woman if she were to live to the end of her child-bearing years and give birth to children in alignment with the prevailing age-specific fertility rates. Assuming no net migration and unchanged mortality, a total fertility rate of 2.1 children per woman ensures a broadly stable population.
  • Fiber optics
    • The technology used to transmit information as pulses of light through strands of fiber made of glass or plastic over long distances.
  • Flash flood
    • Flooding that begins within 6 hours, and often within 3 hours, of the heavy rainfall (or other cause). The intensity of the rainfall, the location and distribution of the rainfall, the land use and topography, vegetation types and growth/density, soil type, and soil water-content all determine just how quickly the Flash Flooding may occur, and influence where it may occur.
  • Flood preparation
    • Involves implementing strategies and measures to reduce the vulnerability of communities and infrastructure to flooding, such as constructing flood defenses and levees, and implementing land-use planning to avoid flood-prone areas.
  • Flood risk
    • The measure of vulnerability to flood with consideration to the likelihood of flooding and the total value of the assets at risk.
  • Flood warning technology
    • The use of advanced meteorological and hydrological systems, such as rainfall and river level monitoring, to provide timely alerts and forecasts to communities in flood-prone areas.
  • Floodplain
    • A floodplain is an area of land adjacent to a river which stretches from the banks of its channel to the base of the enclosing valley walls, and which experiences flooding during periods of high discharge. The soils usually consist of clays, silts, sands, and gravels deposited during floods.
  • Food acquisition
    • Refers to the process of obtaining food, either through growing it, raising it, hunting it, or purchasing it from a market. It involves a combination of activities, including cultivation, harvesting, storage, transportation, and processing of food to make it safe and usable for consumption.
  • Food availability
    • Food availability in the simplest term is the situation where food is made to exist for consumption at local levels where local individuals or households can locate their needed foods without striving. It depicts the production and supply of varieties of foods.
  • Food consumption
    • The amount and dietary composition of food consumed by an individual or population.
  • food insecurity
    • A lack of consistent access to enough food for every person in a household to live an active, healthy life.
  • Food security
    • Exists for a population when all its people, at all times, have access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and health life.
  • Food security index
    • The index is based on a dynamic benchmarking model constructed from 68 qualitative and quantitative drivers of food security including Political stability risk, Sufficiency of supply, Proportion of population under the global poverty line and Food consumption as a share of household expenditure.
  • food waste
    • Food that is fit for consumption but consciously discarded at the retail or consumption phases.
  • Forced migrant
    • A person subject to a migratory movement in which an element of coercion exists, including threats to life and livelihood, whether arising from natural or man-made causes (e.g. movements of refugees and internally displaced persons as well as people displaced by natural or environmental disasters, chemical or nuclear disasters, famine or development projects).
  • Foreign direct investment
    • Investment by a company into the structures, equipment or organizations of a foreign country. It does not include investment in shares of companies of other countries.
  • Foreign direct investment
    • Investment by a company into the structures, equipment or organizations of a foreign country.
  • Fossil fuel
    • Fossil fuels are hydrocarbons, primarily coal, fuel oil or natural gas, formed from the remains of dead plants and animals.
  • Franchise
    • A type of license that grants a franchisee access to a franchisor's proprietary business knowledge, processes, and trademarks, thus allowing the franchisee to sell a product or service under the franchisor's business name. In exchange for acquiring a franchise, the franchisee usually pays the franchisor an initial start-up fee and annual licensing fees.
  • Free trade zone
    • A designated area within a country where goods can be imported, manufactured, and re-exported without the usual customs regulations, tariffs, and import/export duties, aimed at encouraging international trade and investment.
  • Freeze-thaw
    • A mechanical weathering process caused by the alternative or repeated cycles of freezing and thawing of water in pores, cracks and other openings. The expansion of water upon freezing (approximately 9% by volume) forces materials apart.
  • Frequency
    • The rate at which something occurs over a particular period of time.
  • Frost heave
    • The upfreezing of objects usually associated with the active layer. The predominantly upward movement of material during freezing caused by the migration of water to the freezing plane and it's subsequent expansion upon freezing.
  • Frost shattering
    • A glacial process that occurs when water enters cracks in rocks and freezes. As the water freezes, it expands and puts pressure on the rock, causing it to break or shatter. Over time, this process can break down and erode large rock formations into smaller pieces, which the glacier can then transport.
  • G7
    • The Group of Seven (G7) is an inter-governmental political forum consisting of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States.
  • Gender equality
    • When people of all genders have equal rights, responsibilities and opportunities.
  • Gender roles
    • The role or behaviour considered appropriate to a particular gender as determined by prevailing cultural norms.
  • Genetically modified organisms
    • An animal, plant, or microbe whose DNA has been altered using genetic engineering techniques.
  • Geoengineering
    • The deliberate large-scale intervention in the Earth’s natural systems to counteract climate change.
  • Geographic isolation
    • Refers to a situation where a population or area is separated from others by physical barriers such as mountains, oceans, or deserts, leading to limited interaction and exchange, which can impact social and economic processes.
  • Geographical concept
    • A concept is a classifier that helps to organise thinking. It is a generalised idea about a class of objects, situations, actions, processes, relationships, qualities or whatever.
  • Geopolitical
    • Focuses on political power linked to geographic space. At the level of international relations, geopolitics is a method of studying foreign policy to understand, explain, and predict international political behaviour through geographical variables. These include area studies, climate, topography, demography and natural resources.
  • Geopolitics
    • The struggle over the control of geographical entities with an international and global dimension, and the use of such geographical entities for political advantage.
  • Glacial abrasion
    • A type of glacial erosion that occurs when rocks, sand, and other particles carried by a glacier act like sandpaper, grinding and scraping against the underlying rock and soil. This abrasive action wears away and erodes the surface, sculpting and shaping the landscape. Over time, the repeated grinding and scraping of the glacier can result in the formation of smooth, polished rock surfaces, and the creation of glacial landforms such as U-shaped valleys and cirques.
  • Glacial areas
    • Areas with and influenced by glaciers.
  • Glacial deposition
    • The process by which glaciers drop, lay down or leave behind the sediment, rocks, and other material that they have transported. This occurs as the ice melts, slows down, or changes direction, causing the material to be deposited in a variety of landforms, including moraines and drumlins.
  • Glacial erosion
    • Involves the removal and transport of bedrock or sediment by three main processes: quarrying (also known as plucking), abrasion, and melt water erosion.
  • Glacial lake
    • A body of water that is formed by the melting of a glacier. These can form in various ways, such as by the accumulation of meltwater in depression in the landscape created by glacial erosion or by the damming of a valley by a glacial moraine. Ribbon lakes are a type of glacial lake that are long and narrow in shape, and are formed when a glacier erodes a valley and then melts, leaving a lake in its place.
  • Glacial till
    • A type of sediment that is deposited directly by a glacier. It is a mixture of rock fragments, sand, gravel, and clay, that has been picked up and carried by the ice as it moves - often deposited in a random and unstratified manner, meaning that the different sizes and types of sediment are mixed and not sorted by size or type. This results in a heterogeneous mixture of sediment different from other sediment types, such as river deposits or beach sand.
  • Glacial transportation
    • Relates to the movement of ice and rock debris from one place to another by glaciers. The ice in a glacier acts as a conveyor belt, transporting and depositing sediment and rocks in various landforms and depositional environments.
  • Glacial troughs
    • This is a steep-sided, wide and flat-bottomed valley that was previously occupied by a glacier.
  • Glacifluvial material
    • Sediment that has been transported and deposited by glacial meltwater. This material can include a range of sediment types, including rock fragments, sand, gravel, and clay, that have been carried by meltwater streams and deposited in areas such as outwash plains, river valleys, and deltas. Glacifluvial material is different from glacial till in that it is sorted by size and type, meaning that larger rock fragments are typically found at the bottom of the deposit and smaller, finer material is found at the top.
  • Glacigenetic sediment
    • A term is used to describe sediment deposited or re-deposited by a glacier. This sediment can include a wide range of materials, including rock fragments, sand, gravel, and clay, as well as meltwater deposits like outwash plains. Can be deposited in a variety of environments, including on the surface of a glacier, at the base of a glacier, and in areas where glaciers have retreated or melted.
  • Global connectedness
    • Refers to the depth and breadth of a country's integration with the rest of the world, as manifested by its participation in international flows of products and services, capital, information , and people.
  • Global Hunger Index
    • A tool designed to comprehensively measure and track hunger at global, regional, and national levels, reflecting multiple dimensions of hunger over time. Each country’s GHI score is calculated based on a formula that combines four indicators that together capture the multidimensional nature of hunger: Undernourishment, Child stunting, Child wasting and Child mortality.
  • Global interactions
    • A two-way and complex process whereby cultural traits and commodities may be adopted, adapted or resisted by societies. The process is neither inevitable nor universal.
  • Global lending institutions
    • International financial organizations that provide loans and financial assistance to countries and regions to support economic development, reduce poverty, and foster financial stability.
  • Global strategy
    • Refers to the plans an organization has developed to target growth beyond its borders. Specifically, it aims to increase the sales of goods or services abroad.
  • Global supply chain
    • The worldwide system that a business uses to produce products or services.
  • Globalization
    • ”the growing interdependence of countries worldwide through the increasing volume and variety of cross-border transactions in goods and services and of international capital flows, and through the more rapid and widespread diffusion of technology” [IMF]
  • Globalization index
    • The KOF Globalisation Index is one of several measures of globalization. It measures the economic, social and political dimensions of globalisation.
  • Glocalization
    • A term invented in order to emphasize that the globalization of a product is more likely to succeed when the product or service is adapted to the specific locality or culture in which it is marketed.
  • Gradient
    • The slope of the river profile (slope angle).
  • Green water
    • The precipitation on land that does not run off or recharge the groundwater but is stored in the soil or temporarily stays on top of the soil or vegetation.
  • Greenhouse gas
    • Gases that trap heat in the atmosphere are called greenhouse gases.
  • Grey water
    • Refers to domestic wastewater generated in households or office buildings from streams without fecal contamination, i.e., all streams except for the wastewater from toilets. Sources of greywater include sinks, showers, baths, washing machines or dishwashers.
  • Gross Domestic Product
    • A key economic indicator that measures the total value of all goods and services produced within a country's borders over a specified period, usually a year or a quarter.
  • Gross National Income
    • An economic metric that measures the total income earned by a nation's people and businesses, regardless of whether they are located within the country or abroad.
  • Groundwater
    • The water that resides under the surface of the earth, typically in porous rock formations known as aquifers.
  • Groundwater discharge
    • The natural or artificial removal of groundwater, such as springs or wells, to the earth's surface or into bodies of surface water.
  • Groundwater flow
    • The movement of groundwater through the soil and rock layers beneath the earth's surface.
  • Groundwater storage
    • Water stored underground in the zone of saturation.
  • Habitat
    • Summarises the array of resources, physical and biotic factors that are present in an area, such as to support the survival and reproduction of a particular species. A species habitat can be seen as the physical manifestation of its ecological niche.
  • Hacking
    • Refers to activities that seek to compromise digital devices, such as computers, smartphones and even entire networks. And while hacking might not always be for malicious purposes, nowadays most references to hacking, and hackers, characterize it/them as unlawful activity by cybercriminals—motivated by financial gain, protest and information gathering (spying).
  • Harmful algal bloom
    • Occur when colonies of algae - simple plants that live in the sea and freshwater - grow out of control and produce toxic or harmful effects on people, fish, shellfish, marine mammals and birds. The human illnesses caused by HABs, though rare, can be debilitating or even fatal.
  • Healthy life expectancy (HALE) at birth
    • Average number of years that a person can expect to live in "full health" by taking into account years lived in less than full health due to disease and/or injury.
  • Hegemony
    • the political, economic, or military predominance of one state over other states
  • Hierarchical diffusion
    • Follows a chain of command, something you see in business, government, and the military. The CEO of a company or the leader of a government body generally knows information before it is disseminated among a wider employee base or the general public. Fads and trends that start with one community before spreading to the wider public can also be hierarchical. A kind of expansion diffusion.
  • High altitude
    • Areas are often considered "high-altitude" if they reach at least 2,400 meters (8,000 feet) into the atmosphere.
  • High-income economies
    • Those with a GNI per capita, calculated using the World Bank Atlas method, of $13,846 or more. in 2022.
  • Hot deserts
    • Have less than 250mm precipitation per year and daytime temperatures that may approach 50°C. Cover 14.2% of the Earth’s surface, their distribution largely determined by the global atmospheric circulation.
  • Household / Family size
    • A group of persons who make common provision of food, shelter and other essentials for living, is a fundamental socioeconomic unit in human societies. Family size refers to the number of persons in the family. Economic family refers to a group of two or more persons who live in the same dwelling and are related to each other by blood, marriage, common-law union, adoption or a foster relationship.
  • Hub port
    • A port at mainly which concentration and distribution operations are carried out on cargo the origin and/or destination of which is outside the hinterland of the port. A Hub port concentrates its resources essentially on ship-to-ship transshipments; local cargo plays only a minor role. Hub ports are ports that are strategically located along the major shipping routes where these transshipment operations take place.
  • Human discomfort
    • Humans generally feel comfortable between temperatures of 22 °C to 27 °C and a relative humidity of 40% to 60%.
  • Human factor
    • The various ways that human activities and decisions influence geographical phenomena.
  • Human habitation
    • The use of a structure for living for any period of time for activities such as sleeping, eating or cooking, or combinations thereof.
  • Hydration
    • A chemical weathering process involving water being added to the chemical structure of a mineral. A consequence of hydration is that the resulting mineral has a greater volume than the original mineral. The increase in volume applies force to overlying layers, breaking them into pieces.
  • Hydraulic action
    • The force of the water can dislodge materials. Air bubbles forced into cracks can suddenly collapse and the vibrations caused can weaken the rocks. This only occurs where water flow is fast.
  • Hydraulic radius
    • The ratio between the area of the cross-section of a river channel and the wetted perimeter.
  • Hydro-diplomacy
    • A branch of foreign relations that involves the use of diplomatic instruments to make shared water sources a domain for peace and cooperation rather than for conflict.
  • Hydrograph
    • A means of showing the discharge of a river at a given point over a short period of time.
  • Hydrosphere
    • The combined mass of water found on, under, and above the surface of a planet.
  • Ice storage
    • Water stored in the form of ice, such as in glaciers, ice caps, and ice sheets.
  • Identity theft
    • Occurs when someone uses another person's personal identifying information, like their name, identifying number, or credit card number, without their permission, to commit fraud or other crimes.
  • Illegal flows
    • Refer to the movement of goods, money, or people across borders in violation of laws or regulations, including activities such as smuggling, human trafficking, and the transfer of illicit funds.
  • IMF
    • The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is an international financial institution, headquartered in Washington, D.C., consisting of 190 countries working to foster global monetary cooperation, secure financial stability, facilitate international trade, promote high employment and sustainable economic growth, and reduce poverty around the world.
  • Imperialism
    • a policy or ideology of extending the rule over peoples and other countries, for extending political and economic access, power and control, often through employing hard power, especially military force, but also soft power
  • Impermeable
    • Not permeable.
  • In vitro meat
    • Involves injecting muscle tissue from an animal into a cell culture, allowing cells to “grow” outside the animal’s body. Sometimes referred to as cultured, synthetic, or cell-cultured meat.
  • Inaccessibility
    • Difficult to reach or get to.
  • Incidental pollution
    • Pollution caused by oil spills, by the accidental release of radioactive substances, by the immission in water bodies or in the atmosphere of chemical substances deriving from industrial activities.
  • Indigenous group
    • Indigenous peoples are culturally distinct ethnic groups who are related to the earliest known inhabitants of a particular geographic region. Peoples are usually described as "indigenous" when they maintain traditions or other aspects of an early culture that is associated with a given region. Not all indigenous peoples share this characteristic, as many have adopted substantial elements of a colonizing culture, such as dress, religion or language.
  • Inequality
    • the unfair situation in society when some people have more opportunities, money, etc. than other people
  • Infant mortality rate
    • The number of infants dying before reaching one year of age, per 1,000 live births in a given year.
  • Infertility
    • This implies a lack of the qualities which enable the soil to provide nutrient elements and compounds in adequate amounts and in proper balance for the growth of specified plants.
  • Infiltration
    • The process by which water on the ground surface enters the soil, moving into the subsurface layers.
  • Infiltration capacity
    • The maximum rate at which soil can absorb water, often influenced by soil type, moisture content, and land cover.
  • Influence
    • the capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behaviour of someone or something, or the effect itself
  • Infrastructure
    • Composed of public and private physical structures such as roads, railways, bridges, tunnels, water supply, sewers, electrical grids, and telecommunications (including Internet connectivity and broadband access) that support the sustainable functionality of households and firms.
  • Inputs
    • Are the elements that go into a system.
  • Insolation weathering
    • A type of physical weathering which involves repeated heating and cooling of rock over daily cycles, progressively breaking apart the grains of rock. Also known as thermal stress weathering. It is an important mechanism in deserts, where there is a large diurnal temperature range, hot in the day and cold at night.
  • Integrated drainage basin management
    • An integrated water resources perspective ensures that social, economic, environmental and technical dimensions are taken into account in the management and development of water resources.
  • Intensive agriculture
    • A type of agriculture, both of crop plants and of animals, with higher levels of input and output per unit of agricultural land area. It is characterized by a low fallow ratio, higher use of inputs such as capital and labour, and higher crop yields per unit land area.
  • Interception
    • The process by which precipitation is caught and held by vegetation, buildings, or other structures, preventing it from reaching the ground immediately.
  • Interception storage
    • The temporary retention of precipitation by leaves, branches, and other surfaces before it either evaporates, falls to the ground, or flows as stemflow.
  • Internal migration
    • Refers to the movement of people within the same country from one geographical area to another. This type of migration does not involve crossing international boundaries but involves relocating from one region, state, or city to another within a nation's borders.
  • Internally displaced person
    • A person or groups of persons who has been forced or obliged to flee or to leave their homes or places of habitual residence, in particular as a result of or in order to avoid the effects of armed conflict, situations of generalised violence, violations of human rights or natural or human-made disasters, and who have not crossed an internationally recognised State border.
  • International aid
    • Any form of needed assistance by one country, or multilateral institution, to another.
  • International flow
    • A flow that crosses country borders.
  • International loan
    • A loan made by a country (or global group such as the IMF) to another country.
  • International poverty line
    • A monetary threshold under which an individual is considered to be living in poverty.
  • International-mindedness
    • A view of the world in which people see themselves connected to the global community and assume a sense of responsibility to its members. It is an awareness of the inter-relatedness of all nations and peoples, and a recognition of the complexity of these relationships.
  • Internet freedom
    • An umbrella term that encompasses digital rights, freedom of information, the right to Internet access, freedom from Internet censorship, and net neutrality.
  • Inundation
    • The process of a land area or region being submerged or flooded with water, typically as a result of heavy rainfall, rising river levels, coastal storms, or other hydrological events.
  • Irrigation
    • Applying controlled amounts of water to land to help grow crops. Irrigation water can come from groundwater (extracted from springs or by using wells), from surface water (withdrawn from rivers, lakes or reservoirs) or from non-conventional sources like treated wastewater, desalinated water, drainage water, or fog collection.
  • Lag time
    • The time between Peak Rainfall and Peak Discharge.
  • Laminar flow
    • A horizontal movement of water.
  • Land ownership
    • In arid environments, where water resources are scarce and the carrying capacity for agriculture is limited, land ownership poses a significant challenge. The competition for control over arable land intensifies due to the critical role it plays in securing water rights, exacerbating socio-economic inequalities and often perpetuating gender disparities, as women may face obstacles in accessing and owning land.
  • Lateral erosion
    • Erodes the banks of the river. Occurs mainly where the river gradient is less. The strength of the bed and banks will affect the rate of erosion.
  • Lateral moraine
    • A type of glacial moraine that is formed along the sides of a glacier. It is composed of rock fragments and other debris eroded and transported by the glacier as it moves. As the glacier moves it pushes the rock fragments and other debris to the sides, where they accumulate to form ridges of material that run parallel to the glacier.
  • Latitude
    • The geographic coordinate that specifies the north-south position of a point on the Earth's surface. It is measured in degrees north or south from the equator, which is defined as 0 degrees latitude.
  • Levee
    • Can be naturally occurring ridge structures that form next to the bank of a river, or be an artificially constructed fill or wall that regulates water levels. A structure that is usually earthen and that often runs parallel to the course of a river in its floodplain.
  • Levee strengthening
    • The process of reinforcing or enhancing the structural integrity of natural or man-made embankments (levees) designed to prevent flooding.
  • Life expectancy at birth
    • Indicates the number of years a newborn infant would live if prevailing patterns of mortality at the time of its birth were to stay the same throughout its life.
  • Limits of cultivation
    • The extent of the area that can be productively used for agriculture.
  • Load particle size
    • The average size of the sediment particles being transported by a river.
  • Load quantity
    • The quantity of sediment that can be transported by a stream/river.
  • Locale
    • A place where something happens or is set, or that has particular events associated with it.
  • Location
    • Denotes a region (point, line, or area) on Earth’s surface.
  • Low carbon power
    • Low-carbon power is electricity produced with substantially lower greenhouse gas emissions than conventional fossil fuel power generation.
  • Low-income economies
    • Those with a GNI per capita, calculated using the World Bank Atlas method, of $1,135 or less in 2022.
  • Lower middle-income economies
    • Those with a GNI per capita, calculated using the World Bank Atlas method, between $1,136 and $4,465 in 2022.
  • Magnitude
    • The great size or extent of something.
  • Malnutrition
    • Refers to deficiencies or excesses in nutrient intake, imbalance of essential nutrients or impaired nutrient utilization. The double burden of malnutrition consists of both undernutrition and overweight and obesity, as well as diet-related noncommunicable diseases. Undernutrition manifests in four broad forms: wasting, stunting, underweight, and micronutrient deficiencies.
  • Malthusianism
    • Malthusianism is the idea that population growth is potentially exponential while the growth of the food supply or other resources is linear, which eventually reduces living standards to the point of triggering a population die off.
  • Manufactured goods
    • A manufactured good is a good that is produced mainly by the application of labour and capital to raw materials and other intermediate inputs. As such, manufactured goods are the opposite of primary goods, but include intermediate goods as well as final goods. They include steel, chemicals, paper, textiles, machinery, clothing, vehicles, etc.
  • Manufacturing industries
    • Industries transforming goods.
  • Maternal mortality ratio
    • The number of women who die from pregnancy-related causes while pregnant or within 42 days of pregnancy termination per 100,000 live births.
  • Meander
    • One of a series of regular sinuous curves in the channel of a river or other watercourse.
  • Medial moraine
    • A type of glacial moraine that is formed when two glaciers meet and merge together. When two glaciers merge, their lateral moraines are also combined, resulting in a strip of moraine material that runs down the centre of the combined glacier.
  • Median age
    • Median age is the age that divides a population into two numerically equally sized groups; that is, half the people are younger than this age and half are older. It is a single index that summarizes the age distribution of a population.
  • Megacity
    • An urban area with a population of at least ten million people.
  • Mesas
    • A flat-topped, elevated landform with steep sides that is found in arid or semi-arid regions. It is characterized by a horizontal or gently sloping top that is bounded on all sides by cliffs or steep slopes.
  • Microfinance
    • Microfinance is a type of banking that provides financial services to low income individuals or groups of people who would otherwise have no access to finance.
  • Middle class
    • The middle class is a class of people in the middle of a social hierarchy. Its usage has often been vague whether defined in terms of occupation, income, education or social status. One of the narrowest definitions limits it to those in the middle fifth of the nation's income ladder. A wider characterization includes everyone but the poorest 20% and the wealthiest 20%.
  • Middle-income country
    • Defined by the World Bank as economies with a gross national income (GNI) per capita between $1,086 and $13,205. This classification includes both lower middle-income economies and upper middle-income economies. MICs are home to 75% of the world's population and 62% of the world's poor, and they represent about one-third of global GDP.
  • Migration controls
    • Measures and policies implemented by a government to regulate the flow of people across its borders, including visa requirements, border security, immigration quotas, and procedures for asylum and deportation, aimed at managing and monitoring immigration and emigration.
  • Militia
    • Generally an army or some other fighting organization of non-professional soldiers, citizens of a country, or subjects of a state, who may perform military service during a time of need, as opposed to a professional force of regular, full-time military personnel.
  • Minority group
    • A minority group, by its original definition, refers to a group of people whose practices, race, religion, ethnicity, or other characteristics are fewer in numbers than the main groups of those classifications. However, in present-day sociology, a minority group refers to a category of people who experience relative disadvantage as compared to members of a dominant social group.
  • Mitigation
    • The action of reducing the severity, seriousness, or painfulness of something.
  • Modern energy
    • The definition of modern energy services includes both access to electricity and to clean cooking facilities (e.g., fuels and stoves that do not cause air pollution in houses).
  • Multi-governmental organizations
    • Organizations that are comprised of the governments of multiple countries - such as the United Nations or the European Union.
  • Multi-governmental orgtanization
    • An entity formed by multiple sovereign states that collaborate on common interests, policy-making, and governance, often aiming to address global issues and facilitate international cooperation.
  • Multidimensional
    • Having many different features.
  • Multipurpose dams
    • Combines two or more functions of traditional single-purpose dams into one hydro infrastructure project. A multipurpose dam may combine storing and supplying water for irrigation, industry and human consumption with other uses such as flood control, power generation, navigation, run-off storage and water discharge regulation.
  • Narcotics
    • The term usually refers to opiates or opioids, which are called narcotic analgesics. In common parlance and legal usage, it is often used imprecisely to mean illicit drugs, irrespective of their pharmacology.
  • Nationalism
    • As a movement, nationalism tends to promote the interests of a particular nation (as in a group of people), especially with the aim of gaining and maintaining the nation's sovereignty (self-governance) over its homeland to create a nation state.
  • Natural resources
    • Stocks of materials that exist in the natural environment that are both scarce and economically useful in production or consumption, either in their raw state or after a minimal amount of processing.
  • NDB
    • The New Development Bank (NDB), formerly referred to as the BRICS Development Bank, is a multilateral development bank established by the BRICS states (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa). According to the Agreement on the NDB, "the Bank shall support public or private projects through loans, guarantees, equity participation and other financial instruments."
  • Negative feedback
    • When a system acts by lessening the effect of the original change and ultimately reversing it.
  • Neo-Malthusianism
    • The advocacy of human population planning to ensure resources and environmental integrities for current and future human populations as well as for other species.
  • Nexus
    • The interrelationship, interdependence and interactions between water, food and energy.
  • Nitrate fertilizers
    • Have high solubility, and the end-product nitrate ion is easily leached due to its high mobility with excess irrigation-water application.
  • Non-governmental organization
    • An organization that generally is formed independently from government. They are typically nonprofit entities and many of them are active in humanitarianism or the social sciences; they can also include clubs and associations that provide services to their members and others.
  • Normal flow
    • Average level of discharge caused by water flowing from tributaries and groundwater.
  • Nutrient cycling
    • The movement, transformation, and recycling of essential chemical elements and compounds (nutrients) within an ecosystem.
  • Nutrition transition
    • A model used to describe the shifts in diets, physical activity and causes of disease that accompany changes in economic development, lifestyle, urbanisation, and demography. It most commonly is used to refer to the change from traditional diets towards “Western” diets rich in fats, sugars, meat and highly processed foods and low in fibre, and accompanied by a rise in sedentary lifestyles.
  • Occupied channel width
    • The width of the water within the channel at right angles to the direction of flow.
  • Ocean transport routes
    • The navigating lanes, both natural and man-made, in wide waterways used by large vessels to connect major ports and carry cargo. These routes allow efficient, safe and economic transportation of goods while offering the shortest sailing times.
  • OECD
    • The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development is an intergovernmental economic organisation with 38 member countries, founded in 1961 to stimulate economic progress and world trade.
  • Offshore tax haven
    • A country that offers foreign businesses and individuals minimal or no tax liability for their bank deposits in a politically and economically stable environment. They have tax advantages for corporations and for the very wealthy, and obvious potential for misuse in illegal tax avoidance schemes.
  • OPEC
    • The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries is an intergovernmental organization or cartel of 13 countries.
  • Open system
    • A system that exchanges matter and energy with its surroundings.
  • Opportunities
    • Refers to the positive aspects or potential benefits that a geographical area offers. These can include aspects like economic prospects, social and cultural amenities, or environmental benefits that contribute to the development or improvement of the quality of life in that area.
  • Optimistic
    • Hopeful and confident about the future.
  • Outputs
    • Whatever comes out of the system.
  • Outsourcing
    • The process of subcontracting part of a firm's business to another company, in order to save money.
  • Overland flow
    • The movement of water across the surface of the land, usually when the ground is saturated, frozen, or when rainfall is too intense for infiltration.
  • Oxbow lake
    • A horse-shoe shaped lake separated from an adjacent river. The water is stagnant and, in time, the lake gradually silts up becoming a cresent-shaped stretch of marsh. It is formed by the increasing sinuosity of a river.
  • Oxidation
    • A kind of chemical weathering that occurs when oxygen combines with another substance and creates compounds called oxides. When rocks, particularly those with iron in them, are exposed to air and water, the iron undergoes oxidation, weakening the rocks and making them crumble.
  • Pandemic
    • An epidemic occurring worldwide or over a very wide area, crossing international boundaries and usually affecting a large number of people.
  • Particulate matter
    • The term for a mixture of solid particles and liquid droplets found in the air. Some particles, such as dust, dirt, soot, or smoke, are large or dark enough to be seen with the naked eye. Others are so small they can only be detected using an electron microscope.
  • Pattern
    • Spatial. Pattern across geographical space.
  • Patterned ground
    • The distinct and often symmetrical natural pattern of geometric shapes formed by the deformation of ground material due to intense frost action in periglacial regions.
  • Peak discharge
    • The point (time) of maximum river discharge caused by the storm.
  • Peak rainfall
    • The hour of greatest rainfall during the storm.
  • Per capita consumption
    • Calculated by dividing the total quantity of material goods (water) consumed by the population.
  • Percolation
    • The movement of water through the soil itself.
  • Periglacial environment
    • The effects of freezing and thawing drastically modify the ground surface. In a cold climate, typically near glacierised regions. Perennially frozen ground that seasonally-thaws (active layer). The ground is snow free for part of the year with frequent fluctuations of air temperature across 0°C.
  • Periphery
    • Outlying regions with poor communications and sparse population.
  • Permafrost
    • Soil and rock where temperatures below O°C persist over at least two consecutive winters and the intervening summer.
  • Permeable
    • A property of soils and rocks indicating their capacity for transmitting water.
  • Personal freedoms
    • Freedom of the person in going and coming, equality before the courts, security of private property, freedom of opinion and its expression, and freedom of conscience subject to the rights of others and of the public.
  • Personal insurance
    • In the context of mitigating the impacts of flooding, refers to a financial arrangement where individuals or households purchase policies to protect their property and assets from damage or losses caused by floods.
  • Pessimistic
    • Tending to see the worst aspect of things or believe that the worst will happen.
  • Physical factor
    • The natural elements of the environment that influence human activities and patterns.
  • Physical water scarcity
    • Where water resource development is approaching or has exceeded unsustainable levels; it relates water availability to water demand and implies that arid areas are not necessarily water scarce.
  • Physical weathering
    • Involves the breakdown of rocks into smaller fragments through mechanical processes. Otherwise known as mechanical weathering.
  • Pingos
    • Ice-cored hills formed when water moves to the freezing plane under hydraulic or hydrostatic pressure.
  • Place
    • Places can be identified at a variety of scales, from local territories or locations to the national or state level. Places can be compared according to their cultural or physical diversity, or disparities in wealth or resource endowment. The characteristics of a place may be real or perceived, and spatial interactions between places can be considered.
  • Plucking
    • Also known as quarrying, is a type of glacial erosion that occurs when a glacier pulls or lifts pieces of rock out of the ground as it moves. This occurs when the glacier freezes onto the rock and, as it moves, the rock is pulled away from the surrounding soil and rock.
  • Polar
    • The regions of the planet that surround its geographical poles (the North and South Poles), lying within the polar circles. These high latitudes are dominated by floating sea ice covering much of the Arctic Ocean in the north, and by the Antarctic ice sheet on the continent of Antarctica and the Southern Ocean in the south. The Arctic has various definitions, including the region north of the Arctic Circle, or just the region north of 60° north latitude, or the region from the North Pole south to the timberline. The Antarctic is usually defined simply as south of 60° south latitude, or the continent of Antarctica.
  • Political push factors
    • Political (relating to the government or public affairs of a country) factors which initiate and influence the decision to migrate by impelling or stimulating emigration
  • Population Ageing
    • Population ageing - the process by which older individuals become a proportionally larger share of the total population.
  • Population density
    • The number of people living in a given area, usually expressed as the number of people per square kilometre.
  • Population distribution
    • Describes the uneven spread of people across the Earth, with certain areas being much more densely populated than others due to a combination of physical and human geographic factors.
  • Population pyramid
    • A diagram that shows the distribution of a population by age groups and sex, depicting each group’s percentage or absolute number of the total population.
  • Populism
    • Refers to a range of political stances that emphasize the idea of "the people" and often juxtapose this group against "the elite." Populist parties and social movements are often led by charismatic or dominant figures who present themselves as "the voice of the people." According to the ideational approach, populism is often combined with other ideologies, such as nationalism, liberalism, or socialism.
  • Positive feedback
    • Occurs within a system where a change causes a snowball effect, continuing or even accelerating the original change.
  • Possibilities
    • The alternative events, futures and outcomes that geographers can model, project and predict with varying degrees of certainty.
  • Poverty
    • the state of not having enough material possessions or income for a person's basic needs
  • Power
    • The ability to influence and affect change or equilibrium at different scales. Power is vested in citizens, governments, institutions and other players, and in physical processes in the natural world.
  • Precipitation
    • Any form of water - liquid or solid - falling from the atmosphere and reaching the ground.
  • Prediction
    • The process of using existing data, trends, and geographical patterns to make informed projections or forecasts about future spatial and environmental changes.
  • Prevention
    • Action taken to decrease the chance of getting a disease or condition.
  • Primary production
    • The process where green plants called primary producers, make organic compounds like carbohydrates from things like carbon dioxide and water. They do this using sunlight energy in a process called photosynthesis.
  • Pro-natalist
    • A population policy which aims to encourage more births through the use of incentives.
  • Probabilistic projection
    • In the probabilistic projection method, the uncertainty of future demographic outcomes is quantified by constructing a large sample of future trajectories for fertility and mortality outcomes for each country. For each year in the future, point projections are given by the median outcome of the sample of trajectories. The percentiles of the sample are used to construct prediction intervals.
  • Processes
    • Processes are human or physical mechanisms of change, such as migration or weathering. They operate on varying timescales. Linear systems, circular systems, and complex systems are all outcomes of the way in which processes operate and interact.
  • Profit repatriation
    • The ability of a firm to send foreign‐earned profits or financial assets back to the firm's home country in hard currency such as USD, EUR and others, after meeting the host nation's tax obligations.
  • Protectionism
    • Refers to government policies that restrict international trade to help domestic industries.
  • Protectionism
    • Government specific restrictions on international trade to benefit domestic firms in an economy.
  • Purchasing power parities
    • Exchange rates that account for relative price differences across countries.
  • Pyramidal peaks
    • Formed when three or more adjacent cirques develop on the side of a mountain leaving a sharp mountain peak with steep sides and aretes radiating from a central peak.
  • Quotas
    • A quota is a government-imposed trade restriction that limits the number or monetary value of goods that a country can import or export during a particular period. Countries use quotas in international trade to help regulate the volume of trade between them and other countries. Countries sometimes impose quotas on specific products to reduce imports and increase domestic production.
  • Ramsar Convention
    • Officially known as the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance, is a global treaty aimed at the conservation and sustainable use of wetlands. It recognizes wetlands as areas of significant ecological value and promotes their protection through international cooperation and designation of Ramsar Sites.
  • Rate of Natural Increase
    • The birth rate minus the death rate, expressed as a percentage. This value represents the estimated rate of population growth without regard for migration.
  • Ratio between doctors/physicians and people
    • Medical doctors per 10000
  • Re-shoring
    • The process of returning the production and manufacturing of goods back to the company's original country. Also known as onshoring, inshoring, or backshoring.
  • Recycling
    • The processing of waste so that materials can be reused.
  • Refugee
    • In the global context , either a person who, owing to a well-founded fear of persecution for reasons of race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership of a particular social group, is outside the country of nationality and is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail themselves of the protection of that country, or a stateless person, who, being outside of the country of former habitual residence for the same reasons as mentioned before, is unable or, owing to such fear, unwilling to return to it.
  • Relative humidity
    • The ratio of how much water vapour is in the air and how much water vapour the air could potentially contain at a given temperature.
  • Relief
    • The term used for the differences in height from place to place on the land’s surface and it is greatly affected by the underlying geology. Relief relies on the hardness, permeability and structure of a rock.
  • Relocation diffusion
    • Occurs when people move from their original location to another and bring their innovations (or disease) with them.
  • Remittances
    • The transfer of money and/or goods by foreign workers to their home country.
  • Remoteness
    • Distant from main centres of population.
  • Resilience
    • The sustained ability to use available resources (energy, communication, transportation, food, etc.) to respond to, withstand, and recover from adverse situations.
  • Resource development
    • The development of natural resources effectively and efficiently without harming the environment or human existence.
  • Resource nationalism
    • A government’s effort to gain greater control or value from its natural resources. This can range from outright expropriation – when a government takes away a private company’s assets – to more creeping forms of appropriation – such as higher taxation or tougher regulation.
  • Resource stewardship
    • An approach to resource management which views humans as ‘caretakers’ of the natural world.
  • Rising limb
    • The period of rising river discharge following a period of rainfall.
  • Risk
    • In its modern sense, the word risk has two distinct meanings: it can mean both the possibility of danger and simultaneously its potential consequences. The first definition emphasizes the source of the risk, while the second focuses on the target exposed to the risk.
  • River mouth
    • The part of a river where it flows into another body of water, such as a sea, ocean or lake.
  • Rock pedestals
    • Also known as mushroom rocks or pedestal rocks, are geological formations that consist of a column of rock that is wider at the top than at the base, giving the appearance of a pedestal.
  • Rotational movement
    • Refers to the rotating action of a glacier as it moves over a steep rock face or cliff. As the glacier moves and rotates, it erodes the rock face through abrasion, plucking, and freeze-thaw weathering. The glacier's repeated rotation and erosional action can create a deep, steep-walled basin with a flat floor, known as a cirque basin or corrie, at the head of a glacial valley.
  • Salinization
    • The process of increasing the salt content of soil or groundwater.
  • Salt weathering
    • A type of physical weathering of rocks that is most common in arid climates involves the growth and expansion of salt crystals within rock cracks. No chemical alteration of rock constituents is involved.
  • Saltation
    • The process by which particles are lifted upwards and forward before returning back to the surface from which they started. This occurs in desert areas and in rivers.
  • Scale
    • [An organising Geographic concept] Places can be identified at a variety of geographic scales, from local territories to the national or state level. Climate change affects the world at a planetary level.
  • Seasonality
    • Refers to the variations in weather, climate, or natural phenomena that occur cyclically and predictably over the course of a year within a specific geographic region. These variations often include changes in temperature, precipitation, and daylight hours, influencing patterns such as the four distinct seasons in temperate regions or the wet and dry seasons in tropical areas.
  • Semi-arid
    • Receive 25 to 50 centimetres of rain per year.
  • Sense of place
    • The way we perceive places such as streets, communities, cities or ecoregions.
  • Services
    • A service is a transaction in which no physical goods are transferred from the seller to the buyer.
  • Services sector
    • The service sector consists of the production of services instead of end products. Services (also known as "intangible goods") include attention, advice, access and experience.
  • Sex ratio
    • Number of males per 100 females in the population.
  • Silt
    • Granular material of a size between sand and clay and composed mostly of broken grains of quartz.
  • Social marginalisation
    • Occurs when a person or groups of people are less able to do things or access basic services or opportunities.
  • Soil conservation
    • The practice of implementing strategies and techniques to protect and manage soil resources in order to prevent soil erosion, degradation, and loss.
  • Soil erosion
    • A naturally occurring process. In agriculture, soil erosion refers to the wearing away of a field's topsoil by the natural physical forces of water and wind or through forces associated with farming activities such as tillage.
  • Solifluction
    • An agent of transport that can produce tongue-shaped lobes. The slow (0.5 to 5 cm a year) gravitational downslope movement of water-saturated, seasonally thawed materials. During the summer, the soil above the permafrost melts, but the water is unable to drain through the soil that is still frozen underneath.
  • Solution
    • The process by which certain minerals are dissolved by acidic solutions.
  • Source
    • Where a river starts, usually in the mountains.
  • Species diversity
    • A measure of the variety of species (both plants and animals) present in a particular ecosystem.
  • Stakeholders
    • Individuals, groups, or organizations who have a vested interest in a particular geographic area, place, or issue. These stakeholders often have varying levels of influence, concern, or investment in the geographical context and can include local communities, government agencies, businesses, environmental organizations, and indigenous populations.
  • Standard of living
    • Refers to the level of wealth, comfort, material goods, and necessities available to a certain socioeconomic class or geographic area.
  • Stemflow
    • The flow of intercepted water down the stems or trunks of plants, usually reaching the ground near the plant base.
  • Stewardship
    • The conducting, supervising, or managing of something, especially : the careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one's care.
  • Storm runoff
    • The discharge of the river above Normal Flow, caused by the Storm Event.
  • Stream gauge
    • A location used by hydrologists or environmental scientists to monitor and test terrestrial bodies of water. Hydrometric measurements of water level surface elevation ("stage") and/or volumetric discharge (flow) are generally taken and observations of biota and water quality may also be made.
  • Stunting
    • Defined as low height-for-age. It is the result of chronic or recurrent undernutrition, usually associated with poverty, poor maternal health and nutrition, frequent illness and/or inappropriate feeding and care in early life. Stunting prevents children from reaching their physical and cognitive potential.
  • Subglacial
    • Beneath the glacier. Includes basal sediments and the basal layers of ice.
  • Superpower
    • a nation or group of nations with a leading position in international politics
  • Supply chain
    • A network between a company and its suppliers to produce and distribute a specific product to the final buyer. Companies develop supply chains so they can reduce their costs and remain competitive in the business landscape.
  • Supraglacial
    • On the surface of the glacier.
  • Surface runoff
    • The flow of water that occurs when excess precipitation, meltwater, or other sources of water flow over the Earth's surface, often leading to streams and rivers.
  • Surface storage
    • The accumulation of water on the ground surface in natural or artificial features like ponds, lakes, reservoirs, or puddles.
  • Suspension
    • The process by which small particles, such as sediment, are carried and transported within a fluid medium, such as water or air. The particles are suspended within the fluid and move along with it, often remaining in suspension for a considerable period of time.
  • Systems approach
    • Based on the generalization that everything is interrelated and inter­dependent.
  • Tariffs
    • A tariff is a tax imposed by a government of a country or of a supranational union on imports or exports of goods. Besides being a source of revenue for the government, import duties can also be a form of regulation of foreign trade and policy that taxes foreign products to encourage or safeguard domestic industry. Tariffs are among the most widely used instruments of protectionism, along with import and export quotas.
  • Tax avoidance
    • Any legal method used by a taxpayer to minimize the amount of income tax owed. Individual taxpayers and corporations can use forms of tax avoidance to lower their tax bills.
  • Terminal moraine
    • A type of glacial moraine that is formed at the end of a glacier. When a glacier reaches its farthest point of advance, it drops its load of material, forming a ridge of debris that marks the furthest extent of the glacier.