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Glossary of *S Largent* Environmental Science Ch 12 Terms

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Energy
the capacity to do work.
Work
the application of force through a distance.
Power
the rate of flow of energy (i.e.; the rate at which work is done).
Solar Energy
99% of the energy used to heat the Earth and all of our buildings; comes directly from the sun.
Commercial Energy
most comes from the extraction/conversion of mineral resources (primarily nonrenewable fossil fuels); 1% of the energy used on Earth.
Renewable Resources
resources normally replaced or replenished by natural processes; resources not depleted by moderate use. (ex.: solar energy)
Nonrenewable Resources
minerals; fossil fuels; and other materials present in essentially fixed amounts (within human time scales) in our environment.
Fossil Fuels
petroleum; natural gas; and coal created by geological forces from organic wastes and dead bodies of formerly living biological organisms.
OPEC
organization of petroleum exporting fuels; consists of the following 12 countries: Algeria; Gabon; Indonesia; Iran; Iraq; Kuwait; Libya; Nigeria; Qatar; Saudi Arabia; The United Arab Emirates; Venezuela.
Nuclear Fusion
a process in which two smaller atomic nuclei fuse into one larger nucleus and release energy; the source of power in a hydrogen bomb.
Nuclear Fission
the radioactive decay process in which isotopes split apart to create two smaller atoms.
Passive Heat Absorption
the use of natural materials or absorptive structures without moving parts to gather and hold heat; the simplest and oldest use of solar energy.
Active Solar Systems
a mechanical system that uses moving substances to collect and transfer solar energy.
Biomass
the accumulated biological material produced by living organisms.

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