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Glossary - A - Natural And Built Environments

A-DnaA right-handed DNA double helix that has 11 base pairs per turn. DNA exists in this form when partially dehydrated.
Abandoned WellA well whose use has been permanently discontinued or which is in a state of such disrepair that it cannot be used for its intended purpose.
AbatementReducing the degree or intensity of, or eliminating, pollution.
Abatement DebrisWaste from remediation activities
Abiotic StressThe effect of non-living factors which can harm living organisms. These non-living factors include drought, extreme temperatures, pollutants, etc.
Abiotic Water Cyclenon-living chemical and physical factors of the environment (see also biotic).
AblationThe process by which ice and snow dissipate owing to melting and evaporation.
Aboveground Storage Tank
Abscisic AcidA plant growth regulator involved in abscission, dormancy, stomatal opening/closure, and inhibition of seed germination. It also affects the regulation of somatic cell embryogenesis in some plant species.
Abso DataAbsolute Data (ABSO Data) is a correction factor for data that establishes an indicated value of zero when the robot is at the predetermined Home (calibration position).
Absolute Filter RatingFilter rating meaning that 99.9 percent (or essentially all) of the particles larger than a specified micron rating will be trapped on or within the filter.
Absorbed DoseIn exposure assessment, the amount of a substance that penetrates an exposed organism's absorption barriers (e.g. skin, lung tissue, gastrointestinal tract) through physical or biological processes. The term is synonymous with internal dose.
Absorptionone substance taking in another either physically or chemically.
Absorption BarrierAny of the exchange sites of the body that permit uptake of various substances at different rates (e.g. skin, lung tissue, and gastrointestinal-tract wall)
Absorption ChillerA type of air cooling device that uses absorption cooling to cool interior spaces.
Absorption CoefficientIn reference to a solar energy conversion devices, the degree to which a substance will absorb solar energy. In a solar photovoltaic device, the factor by which photons are absorbed as they travel a unit distance through a material.
Absorption CoolingA process in which cooling of an interior space is accomplished by the evaporation of a volatile fluid, which is then absorbed in a strong solution, then desorbed under pressure by a heat source, and then recondensed at a temperature high enough that the heat of condensation can be rejected to a exterior space.
Absorption Pita hole dug in permeable ground and filled with broken stones or granular material and usually covered with earth allowing collected water to soak into the ground.
AbsorptivityIn a solar thermal system, the ratio of solar energy striking the absorber that is absorbed by the absorber to that of solar energy striking a black body (perfect absorber) at the same temperature. The absorptivity of a material is numerically equal to its emissivity.
AbutmentThe part of a valley or canyon wall against which a dam is constructed. Right and left abutments are those on respective sides of an observer looking downstream.


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