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Glossary beginning with P


Pacific Decadal Variability

Coupled decadal-to-inter-decadal variability of the atmospheric circulation and underlying ocean in the Pacific Basin. It is most prominent in the North Pacific, where fluctuations in the strength of the winter Aleutian Low pressure system co-vary with North Pacific sea surface temperatures, and are linked to decadal variations in atmospheric circulation, sea surface temperatures and ocean circulation throughout the whole Pacific Basin. Such fluctuations have the effect of modulating the El NiƱo-Southern Oscillation cycle. Key measures of Pacific decadal variability are the North Pacific Index (NPI), the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) index and the Inter-decadal Pacific Oscillation (IPO) index

[IPCC Fourth Assessment, Working Group I, Appendix I Glossary, p. 950]


A projection is a potential future evolution of a quantity or set of quantities, often computed with the aid of a model. Projections are distinguished from predictions in order to emphasize that projections involve assumptions concerning, for example, future socioeconomic and technological developments that may or may not be realized, and are therefore subject to substantial uncertainty.

[IPCC Fourth Assessment, Working Group I, Appendix I Glossary, p. 950-951]