AS Geography Key Words

Although specifically related to Edexcel AS Geography Unit 1 - Global Challenges (6GE01), Topic 1 (World at Risk), these key words will be useful to all A level Geography Students. 

46 Key words.

HideShow resource information


A perceived natural event which has the potential to threaten both life and property

1 of 45

Context Hazard

Widespread (global) threat due to environmental factors such as climate change, E.g. Global warming, El Nino

2 of 45

Geophysical Hazard

A hazard formed by tectonic/geological processes (Earthquakes, Volcanoes, Tsunamis)


3 of 45

Hydro-Meteorological Hazard

A hazard formed by hydrological (e.g. floods) and atmospheric (e.g. storms and droughts) processes


4 of 45

Other Hazards

Avalanches can be placed in either group. For example, an avalanche is formed from snow and ice (atmospheric processes), yet the mass movement is a geomorphological process


5 of 45


A high risk combined with an inability of individuals and communities to cope

6 of 45

Natural Processes

Where the hazard results from an extreme geophysical or hydro-meteorological event, such as a flood or volcanic eruption

7 of 45

Natural Technological Disaster

where natural hazards trigger environmental disaster (e.g. flooding causing a dam to burst)


8 of 45

Technological accidents

Such as Chernobyl, Nuclear power plant exploding


9 of 45


A hazard becoming reality in an event that causes deaths and damage to foods/property and the environment

10 of 45


The probability of a hazard event occurring and creating loss of lives and livelihoods

11 of 45


How much solar radiation a surface reflects

12 of 45

Climate Change

Any long term trend or shift in climate (average weather over 30 years) detected by a sustained shift in the average value for any climatic element (e.g. Rainfall)

13 of 45

Global Warming

A recently measured rise in the average surface temperature of the planet

14 of 45

Greenhouse Effect

The warming of the Earth's atmosphere due to the trapping of heat which would otherwise be radiated back into space. It enables the survival of life on Earth.

15 of 45

Enhanced Greenhouse Effect

Greenhouse gases in the atmosphere increase owing to human activity

16 of 45

Fossil Fuels

Energy sources that are rich in carbon which release carbon dioxide when burnt

17 of 45

Tipping Point

The point at which a system switches from one state to another

18 of 45


A semi-molten zone of rock underlying the Earth’s crust


19 of 45


The crust of the Earth, around 80-90 km thick


20 of 45


Molten material that rises towards the Earth’s surface when hotspots within the asthenosphere generate convection currents

21 of 45


A localised area of the Earth’s crust with an unusually high temperature

22 of 45


An upwelling of abnormally hot rock within the Earth’s mantle

23 of 45

Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ)

A zone of low atmospheric pressure near the equator. This migrates seasonally


24 of 45


The study of past climates

25 of 45

Thermal Expansion

Increased volume of the oceans as a result of higher water temperature

26 of 45

Proxy Records

Records used to reconstruct climate before the start of instrumental records. Examples include: Paintings, poems, diaries, journals etc.

27 of 45

The Little Ice Age

Freezing of The Thames regularly between 1500 - 1850

28 of 45

Orbital Shape (Eccentricity)

Eccentricity is a measure of the departure of the ellipse from circularity.


29 of 45

Axial Tilt (Obliquity)

Axial tilt refers to the inclination of the Earth’s axis in relation to its orbit around the sun


30 of 45

Axial Precession (Wobble)

Precession refers to the direction the Earth tilts in relation to its orbit around the sun


31 of 45

Positive Feedback

Amplify a small change and make it larger

32 of 45

Negative Feedback

Diminish the change and make it smaller

33 of 45

Global Dimming

Global dimming is the net cooling of the atmosphere due to pollutants like soot and sulphur dioxide reflecting solar energy back into space

34 of 45

Thermohaline Circulation

The flow of warm and cold water that circulates around the world’s oceans


35 of 45

Carbon Sink

The Southern Ocean area around Antarctica that absorbs Carbon Dioxide from the atmosphere


36 of 45


Reducing the output of Greenhouse Gases and increasing the size of Greenhouse Gas sinks (e.g. Rainforests)

37 of 45


Changing our lifestyles to cope with a new environment rather than trying to stop climate change

38 of 45

Top Down Strategies

Incentives and schemes to reduce GHG emissions that are designed and implemented  by central government

39 of 45

Bottom Up Strategies

Small lifestyle changes made by all individuals within a community which accumulate into large differences and improvements within the environment

40 of 45

Carbon Offsetting

Carbon offsetting is a credit system, called carbon credits, which aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions

41 of 45

Physical Water Scarcity

lack of available supplies to meet demand

42 of 45

Economic Water Scarcity

lack of water because of poverty and poor governance

43 of 45

Food Security

Populations having access to enough food for an active, healthy lifestyle

44 of 45

Sustainable Development

Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs

45 of 45







Wont let me access the pdf!

Similar Geography resources:

See all Geography resources »See all Natural hazards resources »