Glossary beginning with R

Click one of the letters above to go to the page of all terms beginning with that letter.


Radiative damping

An imposed positive radiative forcing (q.v.) on the Earth-atmosphere system (e.g., through the addition of greenhouse gases) represents an energy surplus. The temperature of the surface and lower atmosphere will then increase and in turn increase the amount of infrared radiation being emitted to space, thus a new energy balance will be established. The amount that emissions of infrared radiation to space increase for a given increase in temperature is known as the radiative damping.

Radiative forcing

A simple measure of the importance of a potential climate change mechanism. Radiative forcing is the perturbation to the energy balance of the Earth-atmosphere system (in W m-2) following, for example, a change in the concentration of carbon dioxide or a change in the output of the Sun; the climate system responds to the radiative forcing so as to re-establish the energy balance. A positive radiative forcing tends to warm the surface and a negative radiative forcing tends to cool the surface. The radiative forcing is normally quoted as a global and annual mean value. A more precise definition of radiative forcing, as used in IPCC reports, is the perturbation of the energy balance of the surface-troposphere system, after allowing for the stratosphere to re-adjust to a state of global mean radiative equilibrium (see Chapter 4 of IPCC94). Sometimes called "climate forcing".


Decisions and actions taken after a disaster to restore the normal living conditions while encouraging and facilitating adjustments to reduce disaster risk.


Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation.


Replanting of forests on lands that have previously contained forests but that have been converted to some other use.

Registries, registry systems

Electronic databases that tracks and records all transactions under the Kyoto Protocol's greenhouse-gas emissions trading system (the 'carbon market') and under mechanisms such as the Clean Development Mechanism. 'Registry' may also refer to current discussions on a system for inscribing nationally appropriate mitigation actions.

Regulatory Measures

Rules or codes enacted by governments that mandate productspecifications or process performance characteristics.


The provision of immediate life support, shelter and other survival needs to persons affected by, or responding to, a disaster.

Removal unit (RMU)

A Kyoto Protocol unit equal to 1 metric tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent. RMUs are generated in Annex I Parties by LULUCF activities that absorb carbon dioxide.


The systematic investigation into and study of materials and sources in order to establish facts and reach new conclusions

Research and systematic observation

An obligation of Parties to the Climate Change Convention; they are called upon to promote and cooperate in research and systematic observation of the climate system, and called upon to aid developing countries to do so.

Research, Development and Demonstration

Scientific/technical research and development of new production processes or products, coupled with analysis and measures that provide information to potential users regarding the application of the new product or process; demonstration tests the feasibility of applying these products or processes via pilot plants and other pre-commercial applications.


A component or components of the climate system where a greenhouse gas or a precursor of a greenhouse gas is stored. Trees are "reservoirs" for carbon dioxide.


The capacity of a system, community or society potentially exposed to hazards to adapt, by resisting or changing in order to reach and maintain an acceptable level of functioning and structure. This is determined by the degree to which the social system is capable of organizing itself to increase its capacity for learning from past disasters for better future protection and improve prevention measures.


Actions taken before, during, and immediately after a disaster to ensure that its effects are minimised, and that people affected are given immediate relief and support.


Reinforcement of structures in order to be more resistant to the forces of natural hazards. Retrofitting involves consideration of changes in the mass, stiffness, damping, load path and ductility of materials, as well as radical changes such as the introduction of energy absorbing dampers and base isolation systems. Examples of retrofitting include the consideration of wind loading to strengthen and minimize the wind force, or in earthquake prone areas, the strengthening of structures.

Review of commitments

Regular scrutiny by Convention Parties of the adequacy of the treaty's Article 4.2 (a) and (b) outlining developed country commitments to limit greenhouse-gas emissions. The first review took place at COP-1 and led to a finding that progress was not "adequate" -- and so to negotiations that led to the Kyoto Protocol, which has more stringent commitments for developed countries.

Rio Conventions

Three environmental conventions, two of which were adopted at the 1992 "Earth Summit" in Rio de Janeiro: the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), and the Convention on Biodiversity (CBD), while the third, the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), was adopted in 1994. The issues addressed by the three treaties are related -- in particular, climate change can have adverse effects on desertification and biodiversity -- and through a Joint Liaison Group, the secretariats of the three conventions take steps to coordinate activities to achieve common progress.


The probability of harmful consequences, or expected losses (deaths, injuries, property, livelihoods, economic activity disrupted or environment damaged) resulting from interactions between natural or human induced hazards and vulnerable conditions. Conventionally risk is expressed by the notation Risk = Hazards x Vulnerability. Beyond expressing a possibility of physical harm, it is crucial to appreciate that risks are always created or exist within social systems. It is important to consider the social contexts in which risks occur and that people therefore do not necessarily share the same perceptions of risk and their underlying causes.

Risk Analysis

A systematic use of information to determine how often specific events may occur and the extent of their likely consequences.

Risk Mapping

The process of establishing geographically the effects a particular hazard may have, and related vulnerability.

Risk Transfer and Insurance

The process of formally or informally shifting the financial consequences of particular risks from one party to another whereby a household, community, enterprise or state authority will obtain resources from the other party after a disaster occurs, in exchange for ongoing or compensatory social or financial benefits provided to that other party. Insurance is a well-known form of risk transfer, where coverage of a risk is obtained from an insurer in exchange for ongoing premiums paid to the insurer.

Road MapRegional Specialized Meteorological Centre

A centre that is responsible for the distribution of information, advisories, and warnings regarding the specific program they are a part of, agreed by consensus at the World bank Meteorological Organization as part of the World Weather Watch. There are six tropical cyclone RSMCs that have regional responsibility in providing advisories and meteorological information.

Road Transportation

The movement of passengers and / or goods on roads.

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