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AQA GCSE Geography Glossary

The key vocabulary you need to learn for your AQA GCSE Geography paper. Find all the terms and definitions you need to understand, from ‘abiotic’ to ‘xerophytes’.

A (Abiotic to attrition)
An abiotic is the non-living environmental factors affecting an ecosystem (e.g. the atmosphere, water, climate, rock, soil, and light).

abrasion (glaciers)
Abrasion (glaciers) is when rocks frozen into the glacier scrape and scour away at the valley floor and sides.

abrasion (rivers)
River abrasion is the fluvial erosion process whereby stones carried by the river scrape away at the river bed and banks.

acid rain
Acid rain is rain that has been made more acidic by pollutants in the air – such as the burning of fossil fuels releasing sulphur dioxide (sulphuric acid) and nitrogen oxides (nitric acid).

adaptation (climate change)
Adaptation is the actions taken to adjust and respond to climate change – to limit the impacts, take advantage of opportunities, or cope with the consequences.

adaptation (plants and animals)
The adaptation of plants and animals is the special features that allow a plant or animal to live in a particular place or habitat (e.g. cacti and camels in deserts, or bearberry plants and polar bears in cold environments).

The term afforestation is when new trees are planted or seeds are sown in an area where there were no trees before, creating a new forest.

agricultural systems
Agricultural systems is the ways and means of agriculture seen as operating as a system of inputs (e.g. seeds), processes (e.g. ploughing, planting, and weeding), and outputs (e.g. crops).

Agriculture is cultivating the soil, growing crops, and raising livestock.

alternative energy
Alternative energy is energy that does not come from fossil fuels, and so produces little to no greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2).

To analyse is to examine something methodically and in detail – to explain and interpret it.

appropriate technology
Appropriate technology is technology suited to the needs, skills, knowledge, and wealth of local communities and their environment – also known as intermediate technology.

An arch is a coastal cave that has eroded all the way through a headland – or two caves eroding back-to-back and meeting.

atmospheric circulation
Atmospheric circulation is the large-scale movement of air across the Earth’s surface.

Attrition is a fluvial erosion process whereby stones within the water knock into each other and become smaller and rounder.

B (Bar to business park)
A bar is when a spit grows across a bay, and joins two headlands together.

A bay is a sheltered inlet where the coastline curves inward and material is deposited to form a beach.

Beach’s are a depositional (coastal) landform made of sand or pebbles (shingle) extending from the low water line to the upper limit of storm waves.

beach nourishment and reprofiling
Beach nourishment and reprofiling is a soft engineering coastal management strategy whereby sand dredged from offshore is added to beaches, which are then shaped (reprofiled) to make them higher and wider, protecting the coastline behind.

The term benefit is the social, economic, and environmental advantage of a project.

When someone shows bias, they have a tendency to prefer one thing over another; in geographical enquiry, this can involve subconsciously selecting samples to fit the expected outcome (e.g. interviewing elderly people in a study investigating fear of crime).

Biodiversity is the number of different plant and animal species in an area.

Biomass is all organic material from living organisms, such as plants and animals; also used to describe renewable organic materials that can be a source of fuel or energy.

Biotechnology is the controversial modification of products or processes including the development of genetically modified (GM) crops.

The term biotic refers to the living components of an ecosystem (e.g. plants, animals, and fish).

Brexit is the abbreviation of ‘Britain’ and ‘exit’ referring to the withdrawal process of the UK from the European Union (EU).

brownfield site
A brownfield site is land that has been used, abandoned, and now awaits reuse – often found in urban areas.

The term bulldozing refers to rock debris being pushed along at the front of an advancing glacier.

business park
A business park is an area of land occupied by several businesses – generally located out-of-town where there is space to build, land is cheaper, and access by road is easier.

C (Carbon capture to Commonwealth)

carbon capture
Technology used to capture carbon dioxide (CO2) that has been produced by power generation or industrial activity.

carbon footprint
Carbon footprint is the measurement of the greenhouse gases individuals produce through burning fossil fuels (e.g. cultivating, and transporting food).

A cave is an extended crack (e.g. at the base of a coastal cliff) creating a natural underground chamber.

A cliff is a mass of rock that rises very high and is almost vertical.

Climate is the long-term weather conditions prevailing in a region, typically averaged over 30 years.

climate change
Climate change is the significant changes in global temperature, precipitation, wind patterns and other measures of climate associated with the enhanced greenhouse effect – making weather patterns less predictable.

coastal processes
The term coastal processes refers to the way in which sediment is moved around the coastal system via removing and/or breaking down sediment (erosion and weathering), moving it around (transportation), or adding sediment (deposition).

coastal realignment
Coastal realignment is the soft engineering coastal management strategy whereby the land is allowed to flood, allowing natural equilibrium to be reached, but meaning that human activity retreats inland.

colonies (colony)
Countries or areas (a country or area) under the full or partial political control of another country and occupied by settlers from that country.

Colonisation is the full or partial political control over another country, occupying it with settlers, and exploiting it economically, such as UK colonies that were part of the British Empire before gaining independence.

commercial agriculture
Commercial agriculture is growing crops or raising livestock for profit – often involving vast areas of land.

commercial farming
The term commercial farming refers to growing crops or raising livestock for profit – often involving vast areas of land.

Commodities are basic or economic goods such as agricultural or mining products.

The commonwealth is a group of 56 countries who work together on issues such as democracy, trade, the environment, climate change, and gender equality.

C (Communications to cross profile)
On a map, communications refer to transport networks like roads and railways.

Being connected or interconnected.

Conservation is the careful maintenance and upkeep of a natural resource to prevent it from disappearing.

conservation group
A conservation group is any non-governmental organisation (NGO) whose primary purpose is conservation of open space or natural resources (e.g. Greenpeace).

conservative margin
Conservative margin is where two tectonic plates slide past each other at different rates (e.g. San Andreas Fault, California, USA).

constructive margin
Constructive margin is where two tectonic plates move apart, creating new oceanic plate (e.g. Mid-Atlantic Ridge).

constructive wave
A constructive wave is a low wave that surges up a beach – carrying and depositing large amounts of sand and pebbles to ‘construct’ the beach.

Vegetarian herbivores eating plants (primary consumers) and meat-eating carnivores (secondary consumers) eating animals. (This definition applies to reference to ‘consumer/consumers’ in Knowledge Organiser 8 ‘Ecosystems from a local scale to global scale’).

container trade
The term container trade refers to a system of transportation that uses common sized steel containers to transport goods across the world.

Correlation is the relationship between two variables – shown on scattergraphs and/or tested statistically to see if the relationship is real or accidental.

Cost refers to the social, economic, and environmental disadvantage of a project.

Counter-urbanisation is the proportional increase in numbers of people living in rural areas – the reverse process of urbanisation.

cross profile
A cross profile is the river valley shape: V-shaped in the upper course and almost flat by the lower course.

D (Debt crisis to destructive wave)

debt crisis
The term debt crisis refers to when many poor countries borrowed money to develop their economies by investing in industry, manufacturing, and infrastructure, but couldn’t repay their debts or the high levels of interest.

debt reduction
Debt reduction is the total or partial cancellation of a country’s debt.

A decomposer such as bacteria and fungi, that cause the decay and breakdown of dead plants, animals, and excrement – adding nutrients to the soil.

Decomposition is the breakdown of dead plants and animals by bacteria (and the release of carbon compounds into the atmosphere, soil, and to the ocean floor).

Deforestation is the deliberate cutting down of forests to exploit their resources (e.g. timber, land, or minerals).

Deindustrialisation is the decline of a country’s traditional manufacturing industry due to exhaustion of raw materials, loss of markets, and competition from NEEs.

dependency ratios
The term dependency ratios relates to the proportions of people above and below normal working age; the lower the ratio, the more workers there are (and so less dependency).

Deposition is when sediment being transported is dropped because of a reduction in energy (e.g. in sheltered bays along the coast, or on the inside bends of river meanders).

Desertification is the gradual change of fertile land into desert.

destructive margin
A destructive margin is where two plates move towards each other, destroying oceanic plate (e.g. west coast of South America).

destructive wave
A destructive wave is a high, steep wave that plunges down on a beach – removing large amounts of sand and pebbles to ‘destroy’ the beach.

D (Development to dune regeneration)
Development is the progress a country has made in terms of economic growth, use of technology and human welfare – all usually improving living standards and quality of life.

development challenges
Development challenges are all the problems making development in cold environments difficult (e.g. extreme temperature, inaccessibility, provision of buildings and infrastructure).

development gap
The development gap is the difference in standards of living between the world’s richest and poorest countries.

development opportunities
All opportunities for development in cold environments (e.g. mineral extraction, energy, fishing, and tourism).

Discharge is the volume of water flowing in a river, measured in cubic metres per second (cumecs).

diseases of affluence
Diseases of affluence refers to degenerative diseases such as cancer, heart disease and dementia – most associated with HICs.

dispersion diagram
A dispersion diagram is a diagram showing how data is distributed within a range.

displaced persons
Displaced persons are people forced to leave their homes because of war or persecution, but staying in their country of origin.

Distribution is the way something is spread out or arranged over a geographic area.

When something is dormant, it is temporarily inactive or inoperative.

dune regeneration
Dune regeneration is a soft engineering coastal management strategy whereby sand dunes are regenerated by planting marram grass – to act as a natural barrier to erosion.

E (Economic to extreme temperature)
An ecosystem is an interacting community of plants and animals – and the environment in which they live.

Ecotourism is nature tourism usually involving small groups with minimal impact on the environment.

The term emigration refers to leaving your own country to settle permanently in another.

energy development
Energy development are activities focused on obtaining sources of energy – including fossil fuels, renewables, nuclear, and the recovery and reuse of energy that would otherwise be wasted.

energy exploitation
The term energy exploitation relates to using natural energy resources to the greatest possible advantage, usually for profit – but often associated with air pollution, climate change, and water pollution.

energy mix
Energy mix is the range of energy sources of a region or country – non-renewable, renewable, and recyclable.

energy security
Energy security is uninterrupted availability of energy sources at an affordable price.

Enterprise Zone
An Enterprise Zone is a defined area given government support, such as help with taxes, with the aim of helping new and expanding businesses.

Relating to or affecting the natural environment.

Erosion is the wearing away and removal of material by a moving force such as the wind, a river, a breaking wave, or glacier.

European Union (EU)
European Union: an economic and political union of 27 European countries designed to establish peace, common agreements, and laws – to promote trade, and remove economic and social barriers.

Evaluative is an assessment to form an idea of the quality, importance, or value of something.

Exports are goods and services produced in one country, and sold to buyers in another.

extreme temperature
Extreme temperature is any temperature below freezing (0°C).

F (Famine to function)
Famine is where there is an extreme scarcity of food.

Farming is the rearing of animals and growing crops for raw materials and food.

A favela is a Brazilian squatter settlement (shanty town).

fluvial processes
Fluvial processes are processes that relate to rivers and streams – erosion, transportation, and deposition.

food chain
The term food chain relates to how energy and nutrients move through an ecosystem; at the bottom are plants that produce the energy, then it moves up to higher-level organisms like herbivores, before transferring again to carnivores when they eat the herbivores.

food miles
Food miles is the distances covered supplying food to consumers (e.g. foods imported into the UK).

food security
Those who have food security have access to enough safe, affordable, and nutritious food to maintain a healthy and active life.

food web
A food web is a complex network of overlapping food chains that connect plants and animals in ecosystems.

Managing forests so as to yield, on a continuous basis, a maximum in quality and quantity of forest products and services.

fossil fuels
Fossil fuels are non-renewable, natural fuels found underground – buried within sedimentary rock in the form of coal, oil, or natural gas.

Fracking is drilling and ‘hydraulically fracturing’ oil- and gas-bearing shale by water, sand, and chemicals to release oil or gas.

fragile environment
A fragile environment is an environment that is both easily disturbed and difficult to restore if damaged.

freeze-thaw weathering
Freeze-thaw weathering is the physical breakdown of rocks following repeated cycles of water in cracks freezing (and expanding) and thawing (contracting) – leaving accumulations of scree.

The term frequency relates to the number of times an event occurs.

The function is the main purpose of an area.

G (G7 to gypsum)
A political group of seven advanced economies (HICs).

Gabions is a hard engineering coastal management strategy whereby wire cages are filled with stones that absorb wave energy when placed in front of the coastline.

Gross Domestic Product: the value of finished domestic goods and services produced within a nation’s borders.

Gentrification is the improvement of built-up areas by individual property owners, which usually leads to increased commercial activity in local retail services.

geological structure
Geological structure is the arrangements of rocks (e.g. bedding planes, folds, faults, and joints).

Geology is the scientific study of the origin, history, structure, and composition of the rocks of the Earth.

geothermal energy
Geothermal energy is a type of renewable energy that involves using heat generated from within the Earth.

glacial landform
A feature found in glaciated landscapes due to processes of erosion, deposition, and transportation (e.g. corrie, arête, pyramidal peak, glacial trough, truncated spurs, ribbon lake, hanging valley, moraine, drumlin, and erratic).

glacial processes
Processes that relate to glacial periods and activity – weathering, erosion, transportation, and deposition.

Globalisation is a process that results in the world becoming more interconnected.

Gross National Income: the total income of a country, including earnings abroad.

green belt
A green belt is an area of land protected from new developments such as housing and industry by strict planning regulations.

green roofs
Green roofs are layers of vegetation planted over a waterproofing system installed on top of flat or slightly sloped roofs to collect (harvest) rainwater to use indoors.

greenfield site
A greenfield site is a plot of land, often in a rural area or on the edge of an urban area, that has not been built on before.

‘grey’ water
The term ‘grey’ water relates to domestic wastewater that can be used without purification to water gardens and irrigate crops.

Groynes are a hard engineering coastal management strategy whereby wooden or concrete barriers are built to trap sediment moved by longshore drift, creating a protective beach that absorbs wave energy.

Gypsum is a common, soft, colourless mineral used in making concrete, cement, and plaster.

H - I (Hard engineering to industrial structure)
hard engineering
Hard engineering is where you build physical structures to deal with natural hazards (e.g. sea walls).

Human Development Index: a measure of development that considers income, life expectancy, and education, to produce a value between 0 and 1.

Headland is where a section of land sticks out into the sea and is surrounded by water on three sides.

High Income Country: a country that is wealthy, has a wide range of jobs, many services, and a high Human Development Index (HDI).

high pressure
High pressure is an area near the surface of the Earth where atmospheric pressure is greater than the pressure in the surrounding regions – caused by sinking air.

human cause
Human cause is caused by human activities, such as economic developments.

hydraulic action
A hydraulic action is the fluvial erosion process whereby the force of the water wears away the bed and bank of the river.

A hydrograph is a graph showing how a river responds to a period of rainfall.

immediate response
An immediate response is the reaction of people as a disaster happens, and in the immediate aftermath.

The term immigration refers to people coming to live permanently into a foreign country.

Imports are goods and services brought into a place from other countries.

Inaccessibility describes remote, distant places that are very difficult or impossible to reach.

indigenous people
Indigenous people are the original inhabitants of a region – some still living traditional lifestyles in tribes, and hunting and gathering their food.

Industrial Revolution
Industrial Revolution was a period of rapid development of industry that started in Great Britain in the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

industrial structure
An industrial structure is the proportion of the workforce of a country employed in different industrial or economic sectors – primary (agriculture and mining), secondary (manufacturing) and tertiary (services).

I - J (Infant mortality to justify)
infant mortality
Infant mortality is the number of babies that die under one year of age, per 1000 live births.

informal economy
Informal economy is the employment outside the official knowledge of the government (unregulated and contributing no tax revenue).

Infrastructure is the basic services and facilities needed for a country to operate (e.g. roads, railways, power and water supplies, waste disposal, schools, hospitals, and telecommunications).

integrated transport system
Integrated transport system are the different forms of transport linked together to make it easy to transfer from one to another.

Intensity is the relative strength, degree or extent.

Interdependence is where organisms depending on each other for survival.

Interdependent is when two or more things dependent on each other.

intermediate technology
Technology suited to the needs, skills, knowledge, and wealth of local communities and their environment – also known as appropriate technology.

international agreements
The international agreements is a formal understandings or commitments between two or more countries (e.g. the Paris Climate Agreement, 2015).

Irrigation is the artificial watering of land using water extracted from rivers and (underground) aquifers.

When you justify, you give evidence to support your ideas.

L (Land use to lowland landscape)
land use
Land use is the socio-economic description of an area: whether used for residential, industrial or commercial purposes, for farming or forestry, for recreational or conservation purposes, and so on.

An area used as a landfill is a dumping site for waste that has not been reused or recycled.

landform (river)
Different features found along a river that form due to processes of erosion, deposition, or even both erosion and deposition (e.g. meanders, ox-bow lakes, flood plains, and levées).

When a country is landlocked, that country does not have territory connected to an ocean.

The landscape are visible features (e.g. landforms) of an area of land whose character has been shaped by the interactions of physical and human processes.

Latitude is how far north or south a location on the Earth’s surface is from the Equator, measured in degrees and minutes.

The term levelling-up is a political policy first introduced in 2019 aiming to reduce the economic imbalances between areas and social groups across the UK.

Low Income Country: a country that is poor, has a narrow range of jobs, few services, and a low Human Development Index (HDI).

Limitations are the forced errors or weaknesses in (geographical enquiry) data collection preventing the production of fair and reliable data (e.g. insufficient time to interview sufficient pedestrians).

Literacy is the ability to read and write.

Logging is cutting down trees for sale as timber or pulp.

long profile
The long profile is the changing gradient of a river from its source to the point where it enters the sea, a lake, or larger river.

Longitude is how far east or west a location on the Earth’s surface is from the Prime (Greenwich) Meridian, measured in degrees and minutes.

longshore drift
The longshore drift is a zig-zag movement of sediment along the coast caused by waves (swash) going up a beach at an angle and returning at right angles (backwash).

long-term response
The term long-term response is a later reaction that occurs in the weeks, months, and years after the (hazard) event.

low pressure
Low pressure is an area near the surface of the Earth where atmospheric pressure is lower than the pressure in the surrounding regions – caused by rising air.

lowland landscape
Lowland landscape is an area of low-lying land associated with less resistant rocks such as clay and chalk.

M - N (Malnourished to nutrient cycle)
When someone is malnourished they are suffering from malnutrition – an inadequately balanced diet – whether through undernutrition or overnutrition (obesity).

managed retreat
A managed retreat is a sustainable approach to coastal management that allows land to flood and moves human activity away from the coastline – otherwise known as strategic realignment.

management strategy
A management strategy is the overall game plan used to achieve desired goals and objectives – including planning, monitoring, analysis, and assessment.

managing water supply
Managing water supply are techniques aimed at ensuring that there is enough water (supply) to meet the demands of the population (e.g. water transfer schemes and conservation measures).

mass movement
A mass movement is the movement of weathered rock or soil down slopes under the force of gravity (e.g. rockfalls, landslides, cliff collapses, and slumping).

Mean is the ‘average’, calculated by adding up the individual values for a set of data and dividing by the number of values.

The median is the central or mid-point value in a ranked data set.

Megacity/megacities are city/cities with a population of over 10 million.

Microfinance offers small-scale financial support, available directly from banks – set up to help poor people start businesses and become self-sufficient.

micro-hydro scheme
Small HEP installation generating power from harnessing the energy in flowing or falling water – usually referring to schemes with a generating capacity of below 100 kW.

mineral extraction
Mineral extraction is the process of extracting metallic or nonmetallic mineral deposits from the Earth.

Mitigation is an action taken to make something (e.g. climate change) less severe.

Mode is the most common value in a data set.

Monitoring is recording physical changes (such as the path of a tropical storm) to help forecast when and where a natural hazard might strike.

Multicultural is an area or country with ethnic and cultural diversity.

multiplier effect
The multiplier effect is when a new industry generates tax revenue for investment into infrastructure, training and services, likewise encouraging further growth in supply industries and other industrial sectors.

natural hazard
A natural hazard is an extreme natural event that threatens property and human life.

Newly Emerging Economies: Countries in transition from being LICs to HICs, with rapid industrialisation, and a medium to high Human Development Index (HDI).

Non-Governmental Organisation: a typically non-profit entity, formed independent from governments, and active in humanitarian causes – such as the World Bank or Oxfam International.

north–south divide
The north–south divide, the real or imagined cultural and economic differences between the south of England, and the north of England and the rest of the UK.

nutrient cycle
The nutrient cycle is a way nutrients move between plants, decomposing leaves, and soil as part of a continuous cycle which keeps both plants and soils healthy.

O - P (Orbital changes to plate margin)
orbital changes
The orbital changes is the Earth’s natural warming and cooling periods caused by Milankovitch cycles (variations in the tilt, wobble, and orbit of the Earth around the Sun).

organic produce
Organic produce are foods produced without the use of agrochemicals, such as fertilisers and pesticides.

The term over-abstraction refers to the process of taking more water out of an (underground) aquifer or river system than can be replenished naturally.

The term over-cultivation refers to the excessive use of farmland to the point where productivity declines due to soil exhaustion or land degradation.

An epidemic occurring worldwide, or over a very wide area, crossing international boundaries and usually affecting a large number of people.

park and ride
Park and ride is a form of integrated transport that allows private transport users to park their vehicles at a large car park and travel into the city centre using a public transport mode.

Permaculture is a way of food production following the patterns and features of natural ecosystems involving harvesting rainwater, organic gardening, crop rotation, and managing woodland.

Permafrost is permanently frozen ground (soil and rock).

Phosphorite is a rock with a high concentration of phosphates – used in making fertiliser.

physical cause
Physical cause, is caused by the natural world, such as weather events.

physical characteristic
The physical characteristic are a feature, process or pattern found in the natural environment – landforms, climate, soils, and hydrology.

physical conditions
Physical conditions are the natural conditions of the environment – the climate, landscape, soils, and water sources.

Actions taken in advance to enable communities to respond to, and recover from, natural hazards.

plate margin
Plate margin are where two tectonic plates meet.

P - Q (Plucking to quotas)

The term plucking is when a glacier freezes onto a loose piece of rock and then plucks (pulls) it away as it moves.

population density
Population density is a measurement of population per unit land area (usually people per km2).

population structure
Population structure is the number (or percentage) of males and females in a population, broken down into age groups and usually displayed on a population pyramid.

post-industrial economy
Post-industrial economy is where manufacturing industry declines, to be replaced largely by growth in tertiary and quaternary jobs.

Precipitation is water released from clouds in the form of rain, sleet, snow, or hail.

Prediction is knowing when and where a natural hazard will strike.

pressure belt
The pressure belt is a region across the latitudes that is dominated by either low pressure cells or high pressure cells.

primary data
Primary data is the geographical enquiry data collected first-hand – real-time data specific to the needs of the (fieldwork) enquiry.

primary effect
The primary effect is the initial impact of a hazard event on people or property – caused directly by it (e.g. buildings collapsing in an earthquake).

Privatisation is the selling off of state-run industries to private shareholders in order to create a more competitive business environment.

Plants that convert energy from the Sun (by photosynthesis) into biomass.

Protection is the constructing of infrastructure and buildings to be more resistant to hazards, and so safer.

Descriptive data in geographical enquiry – exploratory in nature, involving research and analysis (e.g. interviews).

quality of life
Quality of life are all variables contributing to human welfare, including happiness, material wealth and possessions, safety, security, freedom, voting rights, and good health.

Quantitative measurable (numeric) data in geographical enquiry – verifiable and transformable into useful statistics.

Quarrying is the process of removing rock, sand, gravel, or other minerals from the ground in order to use them to produce materials for construction or other uses.

Quaternary period
Quaternary period is the geological time period of the most recent 2.6 million years (from the present day).

quaternary sector
Quaternary sector are Jobs in research, information technology, and the media.

Quotas are Government-imposed trade restrictions that limit the number or monetary value of goods that a country can import or export during a particular period.

R - S (Range to settlement)
The range is a span of data across a set, calculated by subtracting the lowest from the highest value.

An area of redevelopment is when any new construction occurs on a site that has a pre-existing use.

Refugee/refugees are a person or people forced to leave their home country because of war or persecution.

The differences in height and general unevenness of the land above sea level.

Research is an investigation or experimentation aimed at the discovery new materials, products, drugs, etc., and their practical applications.

rising sea levels
Rising sea levels occurs when there is an increase in the level of the world’s oceans due to the effects of climate change (global warming).

river system
A river system is a group of interconnected rivers including tributaries – also known as a drainage basin.

rock armour
A rock armour are hard engineering coastal management strategy whereby large boulders are dumped in front of the coastline to absorb the wave energy – otherwise known as rip rap.

rock type
Rock type are the mineral matter that makes up the Earth’s crust – whether igneous, metamorphic, or sedimentary.

rotational slip
Glacier movement out of a hollow (e.g. corrie) in a circular motion.

Saltation is a fluvial transportation process whereby small stones bounce as they are moved by the river.

sampling methods
In geographical enquiry, the selection of a subset to estimate characteristics of the whole population – whether through a random, stratified or systematic strategy.

sand dune
A sand dune is a mound of sand along the beach formed by the wind blowing sand onshore.

science park
A science park is an area of land occupied by several scientific, technical knowledge-based businesses and support services – often associated with a university.

sea wall
The sea wall is a hard engineering coastal management strategy whereby a recurved stone or concrete wall is built to prevent the sea from hitting the coastline and reflect wave energy back out to sea.

secondary data
Secondary data is the information that is collected by others, e.g. census data.

secondary effect
Secondary effect is an after-effect that occurs as an indirect impact of a hazard event – sometimes on a longer timescale (e.g. fires due to gas mains ruptured in an earthquake).

selective logging
Selective logging is managed forest exploitation whereby only fully-grown (mature) trees are cut down, and trees with important ecological value are left unharmed.

A settlement is a place where people live – ranging in size from isolated dwellings to megacities.

S (Shallow focus to sustainable)
shallow focus
A shallow focus is an earthquake with an origin 0–70 km deep.

site and service
A site and service is a local authority providing land and services (water, sanitation, power) for migrants to build homes.

Smog is air pollution that reduces visibility – a term originally used to describe a mix of smoke and fog.

Directly relating to people and their communities.

social deprivation
Social deprivation is the extent to which an individual or a community is deprived of services and amenities.

soft engineering
Soft engineering is adapting to natural hazards and working with nature to limit damage (e.g. beach nourishment and dune regeneration).

soil erosion
Soil erosion is when the removal of topsoil is faster than it can be replaced, due to water or wind action, and animal and human activity.

solar farm
A solar farm is a large-scale installations of multiple photovoltaic ‘solar’ panels to convert solar insolation into (renewable) electricity.

solar insolation
Solar insolation is the amount of heat (short-wave radiation from the Sun) that reaches the ground surface.

solar output
Solar output are dark patches on the Sun’s surface, caused by magnetic storms, mark short-term periods of releasing more solar energy, which warms the Earth.

A fluvial transportation process whereby minerals are dissolved in water carried by the river.

A spit is a ridge of sand or shingle, formed by longshore drift, extending out along a coast.

squatter settlements
Squatter settlements are unplanned areas of poor-quality, often illegal housing, lacking in services such as water supply, sanitation, and electricity.

A stack is a section of (coastal) headland separated from the mainland, and standing as a pillar of rock – normally a collapsed arch.

staple crop
The staple crop are the major part of a diet – supplying the main proportion of energy and nutrient needs.

Subsidies are any form of government support – financial or otherwise – offered to producers and (occasionally) consumers.

subsistence farming
Subsistence farming is when farmers grow crops and rear animals to feed their own families.

Suspension is a fluvial transportation process whereby mud and fine particles float in the water and are carried by the river.

Meeting the needs of the present without reducing the ability of future generations to meet their needs.

T (Tariffs to tropical storm)
Tariffs are taxes on imports or exports.

tectonic hazard
A tectonic hazard is a natural hazard associated with plate tectonics – mostly found at plate margins.

A loose collection of jagged rock fragments deposited by a melting glacier.

Transnational Corporations: large companies that have operations (factories, offices, research and development, shops) in more than one country.

Tourism is when people travel away from home for pleasure – an important industry providing jobs and income to millions of people around the world and vital income for many countries.

Traction is a fluvial transportation process whereby heavy boulders are rolled along the river bed.

Trade is the buying and selling of goods and services.

trade winds
Trade winds are predictable, reliable surface winds blowing from high pressure belts to low pressure belts – used in the past by sail-driven trading ships.

transportation (glacial)
The movement of eroded rocks and debris on top of or inside a glacier.

transportation (rivers and coasts)
The movement of eroded sediment from one place to another – by longshore drift along a coastline and/or by traction (rolling and dragging), saltation (bouncing), carrying in suspension, and dissolving in solution.

tropical hardwoods
Tropical hardwoods are typically slow growing broad-leaved deciduous trees, growing in tropical latitudes, and highly valued for furniture production (e.g. mahogany and teak).

tropical storm
Tropical storm are powerful, rapidly rotating storm developing over the tropics.

U - X (Upland landscape to xerophytes)
upland landscape
Upland landscape are an area of high land associated with hard, resistant rocks such as granite and slate.

urban farming
Urban farming is the practice of cultivating, processing, and distributing food in or around urban areas – also called urban gardens.

urban greening
Urban greening is the process of increasing and preserving open space in urban areas (i.e., public parks and gardens).

urban growth
Urban growth is the physical expansion of urban (built-up) areas.

urban regeneration
The term urban regeneration relates to an attempt to reverse the decline and decay of an urban area by improving its physical structure.

urban sprawl
Urban sprawl is unplanned growth of urban areas into the surrounding rural or rural-urban fringe areas.

urban sustainability
Urban sustainability is creating an urban environment that meets the social, economic, and environmental needs of existing residents without compromising the same for future generations.

Urbanisation is the proportional increase in numbers of people living in towns and cities.

volcanic activity
Volcanic activity are eruptions of lava, ash, and gases – the latter two resulting in short-term cooling of the climate.

water conservation
Water conservation is the practice of using water efficiently to reduce unnecessary water usage.

water insecurity
Water scarcity – the lack of adequate and safe water for a healthy and productive life.

water security
Water security is when the entire population of a country has access to enough safe, clean water.

water stress
Water stress is when there is pressure on water supplies caused by demand exceeding, or threatening to exceed, supply.

water table
A water table is the upper limit of groundwater saturation in an (underground) aquifer.

wave-cut platform
A wave-cut platform is a wide, gently-sloping rocky surface found at the foot of a cliff, caused by progressive cliff retreat.

Weathering is the physical, chemical, or biological breakdown of solid rock by the action of weather (e.g. frost or rain) or plants.

Westerlies are prevailing winds that blow from the west at mid latitudes.

Wilderness is a natural environment that has not been significantly modified by human activity.

Xerophytes are plants adapted to life in a dry habitat.