Definitions

Wind Speed refers to the rate at which air is moving horizontally past a given point. It may be a
2-minute average speed (reported as wind speed) or an instantaneous speed (reported as a peak
wind speed, wind gust, or squall). http://weather.gov/glossary/index.php?word=wind+speed

Rainfall refers to the amount of precipitation of any type, primarily liquid. It is usually the amount that is measured by a rain gauge. http://weather.gov/glossary/index.php?word=rainfall

Maximum Temperature: The highest temperature recorded during a specified period of time. Common time periods include 6, 12 and 24 hours. The measure used here refers to the daily maximum temperature, or “high.” http://weather.gov/glossary/index.php?word=temperature Values used in the EVI are referenced against 30-year means of daily maxima calculated separately for different months and climate stations.

Minimum Temperature: This is the lowest temperature recorded during a specified period of time.
The time period can be 6, 12 or 24 hours. The measure used here refers to the daily minimum
temperature, or “low.” http://weather.gov/glossary/index.php?word=temperature Values used in the EVI are referenced against 30-year means of daily maxima calculated separately for different months and climate stations.

Sea Surface Temperatures (SST): The term refers to the mean temperature of the ocean in the upper few meters. http://weather.gov/glossary/index.php?word=temperature

The Volcanic Explosivity Index or VEI – is based on a number of things that can be observed during
an eruption. VEI scores can vary between 0 and 8, with VEI=0 being non-explosive small volcanoes,
and VEI=8 being large and very destructive. http://volcano.und.nodak.edu/vwdocs/eruption_scale.html

ML = Local (“Richter”) Magnitude ML = log A – log Ao defined by Richter (1935) where A is the
maximum trace amplitude in mm recorded on a standard short-period seismometer and log Ao is
a standard value as a function of distance where distance ≤ 600 km. http://wwwneic.cr.usgs.gov/neis/phase_data/mag_formulas.html

A tsunami is a series of waves generated by an impulsive disturbance in the ocean or in a small,
connected body of water. http://www.ngdc.noaa.gov/seg/hazard/tsu.html

 

Mean High Water Springs (MHWS): the average height of the high waters of spring tides. Also called spring high water. (IHO Dictionary, S-32, 5th Edition, 3144) (http://www.caris.com/S-57/attribut/def/d-verdat.htm).

 

Coast: The place where the waters of the seas meet the land. http://icm.noaa.gov/story/icm_coast.html

 

Slide: Disaster type term used in EM-DAT comprising the two disaster subsets – avalanche and
landslide (http://www.em-dat.net/glossary.htm). Avalanche: Rapid and sudden sliding and flowage
of masses of usually unsorted mixtures of snow/ice/rock material (http://www.em-dat.net/glossary.htm)

 

Landslide: In general, all varieties of slope movement, under the influence of gravity. More
strictly refers to down-slope movement of rock and/or earth masses along one or several slide surfaces. (http://www.em-dat.net/glossary.htm)

 

Land Area: Is the aggregate of all surfaces delimited by international boundaries and/or coastlines,
excluding inland water bodies (lakes, reservoirs, rivers) (http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/
factbook/docs/notesanddefs.html)

Land Boundary: This entry contains the total length of all land boundaries and the individual lengths
for each of the contiguous border countries. http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/docs/notesanddefs.html

Continent – land mass: any one of the seven large continuous land masses that constitute most of
the dry land on the surface of the earth. They are Africa, Antarctica, Asia, Australia, Europe, North
America, and South America. (Microsoft® Encarta® Premium Suite 2003. ©).

Space extended upward; height; the perpendicular elevation of an object above sea level. Values may be negative (below sea level) or positive. The difference between the highest and lowest points in a country is relief.

Lowland: low-lying or flat land: land that is less than or equal to a certain height above sea level.
This indicator refers to heights of 10 and 50m above sea level

Border: line dividing two areas: the line that officially separates two countries or regions. For the
EVI this definition includes land and sea borders, where sea borders are defined as the line between
two or more EEZs (200 nautical mile exclusive economic zones).

Ecosystem imbalance refers to the loss of or damage to any of the elements of ecosystems that
are required for proper function. Elements may include species, changes in biomass or trophic relationships, productivity, reproduction or other aspects. This indicator shows a positive or negative
change in trophic level calculated by weighting each trophic level present in the national fish catch
by the tonnes reported. This indicator includes only those species with a trophic level of 3.35 or
below. This constitutes a trophic slice, intended to exclude large pelagic fisheries usually caught
offshore. A positive (+) change indicates an increase in trophic level present in the catch, which
would be consistent with an increase in the larger fish-eating fishes. This is usually associated
with an expansion of the fishery and a move to greater use of large pelagic species. A negative
(-) change is usually associated with loss of fishes in the higher trophic levels and indicates fishing
down of the food web, ecosystem damage and overfishing.

Freight Imports refer to imports of goods and services represented by the value of all goods and
other market services received from the rest of the world. They include the value of merchandise,
freight, insurance, transport, travel, royalties, license fees, and other services, such as communication, construction, financial, information, business, personal, and government services. They exclude labor and property income (formerly called factor services) as well as transfer payments. Data are in million current US dollars http://earthtrends.wri.org/searchable_db/index.cfm?theme=5

The entire population or any geographically separate part of the population of any species or lower
taxon of wild animals, a significant proportion of whose members cyclically and predictably cross
one or more national jurisdictional boundaries. http://www.biologie.uni-freiburg.de/data/zoology/riede/groms/Getting_started/  Convention on the conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals

Endemic species : A species which is found in a given region or location and nowhere else in the
world.

Introduced species: Means the movement, by human agency, of a species, subspecies, or lower
taxon (including any part, gametes or propagule that might survive and subsequently reproduce)
outside its natural range (past or present). This movement can be either within a country or between
countries. http://iucn.org/themes/ssc/pubs/policy/invasivesEng.htm

A taxon is Endangered when the best available evidence indicates that it meets any of the criteria A
to E for Endangered (see Section V), and it is therefore considered to be facing a very high risk of
extinction in the wild. (IUCN, 2001- http://www.iucn.org/themes/ssc/red-lists.htm)

A taxon is Extinct when there is no reasonable doubt that the last individual has died. A taxon is
presumed Extinct when exhaustive surveys in known and/or expected habitat, at appropriate times
(diurnal, seasonal, annual), throughout its historic range have failed to record an individual. Surveys
should be over a time frame appropriate to the taxon’s life cycle and life form. (IUCN, 2001- http://www.iucn.org/themes/ssc/red-lists.htm)

Natural Forest: A forest composed of indigenous trees, and not classified as forest plantation.
http://www.fao.org/docrep/003/y0900e/y0900e11.htm. Data from WRI (WRI 2000-2001) refer to
original forest cover about 8,000 years ago assuming current climatic conditions. The definition of
regrowth forest is one in which regrowth is unsupported by human (other than in allowing natural
regeneration) and results in a forest community that is self-sustaining indefinitely (not withstanding
climatic changes).

Total forest area, average annual percent change, as defined by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, is the average annual percent change in both natural forests and
plantations between 1990 and 2000. Total Forest is defined as land with tree crown cover of more
than 10 percent of the ground and area of more than 0.5 hectares. Tree height at maturity should
exceed 5 meters http://earthtrends.wri.org/)

Fragmentation refers to the division of habitats or ecosystems into discontinuous pieces. It also
relates to habitat disturbance and degradation. Fragmentation is likely to affect biodiversity, affecting species with variability in population numbers, keystones, those susceptible to local extinctions, those that use migration corridors and the persistence of species with large home ranges. For many large mammals and some birds, viable fragments of habitat are size-dependent, despite the fact that the overall area available in a country may still sum to a relatively large area. This indicator measures a specific aspect of habitat availability that relates to size and quality of patches.

The degrees of degradation are defined in terms of reduction in land productivity. In abbreviated form, these definitions are as follows: (i) Light: somewhat reduced agricultural suitability. (ii) Moderate: greatly reduced agricultural productivity. (iii) Strong: biotic functions largely destroyed; non-reclaimable at farm level. (iv) Extreme: biotic functions fully destroyed, non-reclaimable. The severity of land degradation is then obtained by combining the degree of degradation with its spatial extent. With four classes for degree, and five for extent, twenty combinations are possible. These were grouped into four degradation severity classes: light, moderate, severe, and very severe (Figure
13). A very severely degraded area can mean, for example, either that extreme degradation affects
10-25% of a mapping unit, or that moderate degradation affects 50-100% of the unit. FAO Terrastat
http://www.fao.org/ag/agl/agll/terrastat/

An area of land and/or sea especially dedicated to the protection and maintenance of biological
diversity, and of natural associated cultural resources, and managed through legal or other effective
means. (IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas, 1994). Any area of the intertidal or subtidal terrain, together with its overlying water and associated flora, fauna, historical and cultural features, which has been reserved by law or other effective means to protect part or all of the enclosed environment. (http://www.mpa.gov/mpadescriptive/whatis.html) (IUCN, 1988; Kelleher, 1999).

Farming characterised by high input use and that strives for maximum production. http://glossary.
eea.eu.int/EEAGlossary/I/intensive_farming. For the EVI we define intensive farming as any farming
that either uses inputs or produces pollution that cannot be obtained or attenuated over the land
or water area over which the farming occurs.

Fertiliser use refers to nutrients in terms of nitrogen (N), potash (K2O), and phosphate (P2O5).
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). 2004. FAOSTAT on-line statistical
service. http://apps.fao.org. Refers to the per hectare use / sale to the agricultural sector of substances that reduce or eliminate unwanted plants or animals, especially insects. They include major groups of pesticides such as insecticides, mineral oils, herbicides, plant growth regulators, bacteria and seed treatments, and other active ingredients (WRI 2000-2001). See also Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). 2004. FAOSTAT http://apps.fao.org.

Genetic modification is a process whereby a gene for a desired trait or characteristic is inserted into
a plant instead of acquiring it through the natural process of pollination. The inserted gene may
come from another unrelated plant or from a different species. (http://www.searca.org/~bic/FAQs/FA_Questions.htm) (Bi Tech Information Center).

 

Genetically modified organism (GMO) – an organism whose genetic make-up has been changed by any method, including natural processes, genetic engineering, cloning or mutagenesis. http://www.nature.ca/genome/02/022_efg_e.cfm

Overfishing refers to the taking out of the sea more than natural population growth can sustain.
Overfishing has a number of causes, including ‘chronic over capacity’ of modern fishing fleets to
effectively take far more fish than can be replaced http://glossary.eea.eu.int/EEAGlossary/O/overfishing See also http://www.seafoodchoices.com/resources/glossary.shtml

Fishers include people employed in commercial and subsistence fishing (both, personnel on fishing
vessels and on shore), operating in freshwater, brackish and marine areas, and in aquaculture production activities.

 

Fishery vessel refers to “mobile floating objects of any kind and size, operating
in freshwater, brackish and marine areas, and used for catching, harvesting, searching, transporting,
landing, preserving and/or processing fish, shellfish and other aquatic animals, residues and
plants.” Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). Fishers http://www.fao.org/fi/statist/fisoft/fishers.asp

Average annual water usage as percentage of renewable water resources over the last 5 years.
(i) Internal renewable water resources (IRWR) include the average annual flow of rivers and the
recharge of groundwater (aquifers) generated from endogenous precipitation (occurring within a
country’s borders). IRWR are measured in km3/year. Data may have been collected in different
years for different countries. (ii) Total internal renewable water resources is the sum of surface and
groundwater resources minus overlap; in other words IRWR = Surface water resources + Groundwater
recharge – Overlap. Natural incoming flow, originating outside a country’s borders are not
included in the total. (iii) Annual water withdrawals, measured in million m3 refers to total water
removed for human uses in a single year, not counting evaporative losses from storage basins.
Water withdrawals also include water from non-renewable groundwater sources, river flows from
other countries, and desalination plants http://earthtrends.wri.org. (iv) Actual Renewable Water
Resources gives the maximum theoretical amount of water actually available for each country,
although in reality a portion of this water may be inaccessible to humans. Actual renewable water
resources are defined as the sum of internal renewable resources (IRWR) and external renewable
resources (ERWR), taking into consideration the quantity of flow reserved to upstream and downstream
countries through formal or informal agreements or treaties and possible reduction of external
flow due to upstream water abstraction. Average annual groundwater recharge is the amount of
water that is estimated to annually infiltrate soils, including water from rivers and streams that lose
it to underlying strata. In general, this figure would represent the maximum amount of water that
could be withdrawn annually without ultimately depleting the groundwater resource. Annual Total
Water Withdrawals is the gross amount of water extracted from any source, either permanently or
temporarily, for a given use. It can be either diverted towards distribution networks or directly used.
It includes consumptive use, conveyance losses, and return flow.
Sulphur dioxide: Is an air pollutant produced when fossil fuels containing sulphur are burned. It
contributes to acid rain and can damage human health, particularly that of the young and elderly.
(World Development Indicators, 2001).
Waste refer here to materials that are not prime products (i.e. products produced for the market) for
which the generator has no further use for production, transformation or consumption, and which
he discards, or intends, or is required to discard. Wastes may be generated during the extraction of
raw materials during the processing of raw materials to intermediate and final products, during the
consumption of final products, and during any other human activity. (http://waste.eionet.eu.int/definitions/
waste ) (European Environment Agency).
Effectively managed wastes are composted, reused, recycled, subjected to controlled incineration
(including temperature control, retention time control and control of emissions), and/or placed in
controlled landfill (involving treatment of leachate, containment, gas management, aftercare and rehabilitation
i.e. recovery, planting and post management) Eurostat http://www.waste.eionet.eu.int
The industry sector is defined as the combination of all industrial sub-sectors, such as mining
and quarrying, iron and steel, construction, etc. Energy used for transport by industry is not included
here but is reported under transportation. Energy Consumption by Source refers to the total
amount of primary energy consumed by each country in the year specified, and is reported in thousands
of metric tons of oil equivalent (toe). Primary energy also includes losses from transportation,
friction, heat loss, and other inefficiencies. Specifically, consumption equals indigenous production
plus imports, minus exports plus stock changes, minus international marine bunkers. IEA calls this
value Total Primary Energy Supply (TPES). (http://pdf.wri.org/wr2002fulltxt_230-283_datatables.
pdf ). toe = tonnes oil equivalent (includes energy from solid fuels, liquid fuels, gaseous fules,
nuclear fuels, other sources).
Total number of spills of oil and hazardous substances greater than 1000 litres on land, in rivers
or within territorial waters per million km maritime coast during the last five years. (i) ITOPF 2002
International Tanker Owners Federation – Refers to oil spills at sea only. (ii) SPILLS 2000 www.
etcentre.org/spills . The source of the spill must be a vessel, generally a tanker or barge on which
a petroleum product was cargo, and must involve at least 1000 barrels (42,000 gallons). (iii) CRED
2000 The OFDA/CRED International disaster database: data source derived from LLOYDS CAS
Average annual mining production (include all surface and subsurface mining and quarrying) per
km2 of land area over the past 5 years. Data are on average annual production between 1996-
2000 for most products, except Uranium for which data for only the year 2000 were available.
Data includes 81 types of mining, including clays, gravels, cement, gems, radioactive materials,
metals, petroleum and gas. Data from USGS – US Geological Survey as mean annual production
1996-2000; World Nuclear Association 2003 web site – http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/inf23.htm ;
Diamond Registry 2002 http://www.diamondregistry.com/News/2002/production.htm ; Salt Institute
2002 http://www.salt.org.il/frame_prod.html .
Density of population without access to safe sanitation (WHO definitions). Improved sanitation
includes any of the following excreta disposal facilities: connection to a public sewer, connection
to a septic tank, pour-flush latrine, simple pit latrine, and ventilated improved pit latrine. WHO emphasizes
that these data measure access to an improved excreta disposal system – access to a
sanitary system cannot be adequately measured on a global scale. A poor water supply and sanitation
system can lead to a number of diseases, including diarrhoea, intestinal worms, and cholera.
Examples of an unimproved sanitation system include: open pit latrines, public or shared latrines,
and service or bucket latrines (where excreta are manually removed).
Refers to the number of individual four-wheel vehicles per 1,000 people. These numbers exclude
buses, freight vehicles and two-wheelers such as mopeds and motor-cycles. (WRI, 2000-2001)
Average number of conflict years per decade within the country over the past 50 years. Conflict:
Use of armed force between the military forces of two or more governments, or of government and
at least one organized armed group, resulting in the battle-related deaths of at least 10 deaths or
100 affected in one year. EM-DAT, conflict includes the disaster types intrastate conflict and international
conflict. Intrastate conflict: CRED has adopted the simple Project Ploughshares typology
of modern armed conflict based on three overlapping types of intrastate conflict: state control, state
formation and state failure. (i) State control conflicts obviously centre on struggles for control of the
governing apparatus of the state. State control struggles have typically been driven by ideologically
defined revolutionary movements, decolonization campaigns or one set of elites seeking power
in place of another. (ii) State formation conflicts centre on the form or shape of the state itself and
generally involve particular regions of a country fighting for a greater measure of autonomy or for
outright secession. Ethnicity, communal identity and religion are prominent in state formation conflicts.
(iii) Failed state conflicts are conflicts about local issues and disputes involving violence in the
absence of effective government control. The primary failure is an incapacity to provide minimal human
security for individual citizens, compounded by weak governance and politics of exclusion that
deny the majority of citizens any significant engagement in the political process. In the emerging
chaos and lost confidence in public institutions, individuals and groups seek new political entities
or social groupings, often regionally or ethnically based, sometimes ideologically defined, through
which to pursue their interests and to try to ensure the well-being of their particular families and
communities. International conflict: It include border disputes, foreign invasion and other cross-border
attacks (Project Ploughsharesí). EM-DAT: The OFDA/CRED International Disaster Database.
http://www.cred.be/cedat/index.htm

Acronyms

AGL FAO Land and Water Development Division
BINAS Biosafety Information Network and Advisory Service
BPoA Barbados Programme of Action
CBD Convention on Biological Diversity
CCD Convention to Combat Desertification
CIA US Central Intelligence Agency Fact Book
CIESIN Centre for International Earth Science Information Network
CO2 Carbon dioxide
CRED Centre for Research on Epidemiology of Disasters
CSD UN Commission on Sustainable Development
EEZ Exclusive Economic Zone
EMDAT Emergency Events Database (CRED, OFDA, OECD, WHO)
ENSO El Nino / Southern Oscillation
EVI Environmental Vulnerability Index and Profiles
FAO UN Food & Agricultural Organisation
GEO3 Global Environment Outlook 3
GHCN NOAA Global Historical Climatology Network
GMO Genetically-Modified Organism
GOOS Global Oceans Observing System
GPA UN Global Programme of Action on Land Based Sources of
Pollution in the marine Environment
GROMS Global Register of Migratory Species
ISAAA International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech
Applications
ISDR International Strategy for Disaster Reduction
ITOPF International Tanker-Owners Pollution Federation Ltd
IUCN World Conservation Union
MARPOL International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from
Ships
MDG Millennium Development Goals
MHWS Mean High Water Spring (tides)
NESDIS NOAA National Environmental Satellite Data and Information
Service
NOAA US National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration
NPK Nitrogen, Phosphate, Potassium
OECD Organisation for Economic Cooperation & Development
RAMSAR Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance
especially as Waterfowl Habitat
SEDAC Social Economic Data Applications Centre
SIDS Small Island Developing States
SIS Small Island States
SO2 Sulphur dioxide
SOE State of the Environment
SOPAC South Pacific Applied Geoscience Commission
SPILLS Worldwide Tanker Spill Database (etcentre.org)
SST Sea Surface Temperature
UN United Nations
UNDP United Nations Development Programme
UNEP United Nations Environment Programme
UNFCC UN Framework Convention on Climate Change
USGS US Geological Survey
VEI Volcanic Explosivity Index (see definitions)
WCMC World Conservation Monitoring Centre
WDI World Development Indicators
WHO UN World Health Organisation
WMO World Meteorological Organisation
WRI World Resources Institute
WSSD World Summit on Sustainable Development
WTO World Tourism Organisation

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