Glossary


Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometry (AAS):

AAS is a procedure for quantitatively determining chemical element composition by measuring the absorption of optical radiation (light) by free atoms in the gaseous state. In analytical chemistry the technique is used for determining the concentration of a particular element in a sample to be analyzed such as for example the concentration of metals in a water sample. 

 

Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler (ADCP)

ACDP is a sonar that measures water current velocities at a range of depths. They can be mounted on boats or moorings for short-term surveys or attached to the seabed for long term current and wave studies.

 

Adamsite

Adamsite is an organic compound traditionally used as a chemical warfare agent. It is an arsenical diphenylaminechlorarsine, an odourless crystalline compound, usually dispersed as aerosol and which affects the upper respiratory tract. It was first synthesized in Germany in 1915 and used during World War I.

 

Baltic Sea Region Strategy (EUSBSR)

Initiated by the European Parliament and coordinated by the European Commission, the EUSBSR aims to save the sea and increase prosperity in the Baltic Sea Region while shaping the region into a regional cooperation model for the whole EU. The implementation of the strategy is financed from different EU funds in the area including the Baltic Sea Region Programme. The Commission officially launched the Strategy and its Action Plan on 10 June 2009 and it was adopted by the European Council on the 26 October 2009.

 

Bathymetry

Bathymetry is the study of underwater depth of lake and ocean floors. The information for bathymetric maps today usually comes from an echosounder (a sonar mounted under a boat which sends a beam of sound downward at the seafloor and measures the time it takes for it to bounce off the floor and return) or from remote sensing LIDAR/LADAR systems (same principle but using light or a laser from an airborne device).

 

Bioaccumulation

Bioaccumulation refers to the accumulation of substances such as chemicals or toxic substances in an organism that occurs when its absorption rate is greater than the rate at which the substance is lost. It can lead to chronic poisoning even if environmental levels of the toxin are not very high. In fish, bioaccumulation can be predicted by models. 

 

Biohazard

A biological hazard refers to a biological substance that poses a threat to the health of living organisms.

 

Biomarker

A biological marker is an indicator of a biological state. It is a characteristic that is measured and evaluated as an indicator of normal biological or pathogenic processes. Biomarkers are used to indicate an exposure to chemicals in the environment by an organism.

 

Blister agent

A blister agent, also known as a vesicant, is a chemical compound causing severe skin, eye and mucosal pain and irritation, as do many chemical warfare agents. There are three groups of blister agents: 1) Sulfur mustards (including mustard gas), 2) Nitrogen mustards, and 3) Lewisite (an early blister agent developed but not used during World War I).

 

Chemical munitions

Munitions containing chemical agents.

 

Chemical warfare agents (CWA)

CWAs are chemical substances whose toxic properties are used to kill, injure or incapacitate. About 70 different chemicals have been used or stockpiled as chemical warfare agents in the 20th century. CWAs may be in liquid, gas or solid form. They are generally organized into categories according to the physiological manner in which they affect the human body (e.g. blood agents, blister agents, nerve agents, pulmonary agents).

 

Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC)

The Chemical Weapons Convention or Convention for the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and Their Destruction is an arms control agreement that aims prohibit the development, production, acquisition, stockpiling, transfer or use of chemical weapons by State Parties. It came into effect in 1993 and is administered by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), an independent organization based in the Netherlands.  As of August 2010, 188 states were party to the CWC, with two more countries having signed but not yet ratified. As of November 2011, around 71% of declared stockpiles of chemical weapons have been destroyed. 

 

Chloroacetophenone

Chloroacetophenone is a poisonous crystalline chemical used in solution as a tear gas, irritating the eyes.

 

Clark I

Clark I is the common name for diphenylarsinchlorid, an odourless toxic liquid compound once used as chemical weapon during World War I. It belongs to the chemicals classified as vomiting agents.  

 

Clark II

Clark II is the common name for diphenylcyanoarsine, a colourless, garlic-smelling crystal chemical that causes nausea, vomiting and headaches. It was used as a chemical weapon during World War I. 

 

Ecological risk assessment (ERA)

Ecological risk assessments are conducted to evaluate the likelihood that adverse ecological effects could result from the exposure to one or more chemical or radiological contaminants in the environment. An ERA provides a way to develop, organize and present scientific information so that it is relevant to environmental decisions. 

 

Ecotoxicity

Ecotoxicity refers to the potential for biological, chemical or physical stressors to affect ecosystems. Ecotoxicity studies measure the effects of chemicals on fish, wildlife, plants and other wild organisms. 

 

HELCOM

HELCOM is The Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission (Helsinki Commission). It is an intergovernmental organization governing the Convention on the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Baltic Sea Area (Helsinki Convention). HELCOM works to protect the marine environment of the Baltic Sea from all sources of pollution.

 

Hydrodynamic model

Hydrodynamics is the study of the motion of liquids, in particular water. A hydrodynamic model is a tool for describing or representing in some way the motion of water.

 

Inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS)

Mass spectrometry is an analytical technique that measures the ratio of mass-to-charge of charged particles. It is used for determining masses of particles, the elemental composition of a sample or molecule or the chemical structures of molecules. Inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry is a type of mass spectrometry capable of detecting metals and some non-metals at concentrations as low as one part per trillion (one in 1012). In ICP-MS the sample is first ionized (i.e. converting the atom or molecule into an ion by adding or removing charged particles such as electrons or ions) with inductively coupled plasma. This is a type of plasma source in which energy is supplied by electric currents produced by electromagnetic induction (time-varying magnetic fields). A mass spectrometer is then used to separate and quantify the ions.

 

Magnetometry

Magnetometry refers to the study of the magnitude and direction of a magnetic field. 

 

Multibeam echosounder

Echo sounding is the technique of using sound pulses to find the depth of water. The interval from the emission of a pulse to reception of its echo is recorded, and the depth calculated from the known speed of propagation of sound through water. Multibeam echosounders were developed in the 1970s to map large swaths of the ocean floor. They produce multiple acoustic beams across a broad swath.

 

Mustard gas

Mustard gas is the common name for sulphur gas, a class of chemical warfare agent with the ability to form large blisters on exposed skin and lungs. Sulfur mustards are colourless, viscous liquids with an odour resembling mustard plants or garlic, hence the name. They were originally developed to be produced in large scale for the Imperial German Army in 1916. They are now regulated under the Chemical Weapons Convention. 

 

Nerve gas/nerve agent

Nerve agents are a class of phosphorus-containing organic chemicals that disrupt the mechanism by which nerves transfer messages to organs. Some nerve agents are readily vaporized or aerosolized and the primary portal of entry into the body is the respiratory system. Nerve agents can also be absorbed through the skin. They include such chemicals as tabun, sarin and soman. The first class of nerve agents was discovered in Germany in 1936 with the intent of developing insecticides. They were then produced as chemical weapons during World War II, though never used. Their production and stockpiling as a chemical weapon is now outlawed by the Chemical Weapons Convention. 

 

Nitrogen mustard

Nitrogen mustard is a chemical agent similar to mustard gas, also developed as a chemical warfare agent and stockpiled by several nations during World War II. It belongs to the category of blister agents. It is currently regulated by the Chemical Weapons Convention.

 

Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV)

A remotely operated vehicle is a tethered underwater vehicle that is unoccupied and operated by a person aboard a vessel. It is linked to the ship by a group of cables carrying electrical power, video and data signals back and forth between the operator and the vehicle. ROVs can be equipped with video cameras, lights, sonars, magnetometers, water samplers, thermometers and other instruments. 

 

Side Scan Sonar

A side scan sonar is a type of sonar used to create images of large areas of the sea floor. Side scan sonar imagery is commonly used to detect debris or other items on the sea floor. The device is usually towed from a surface vessel and functions by emitting conical or fan-shaped pulses down towards the sea floor across a wide angle perpendicular to the path of the sensor through the water. The intensity of the acoustic reflections from the sea floor is recorded in a series of cross-track slices, which when stitched together along the direction of the motion, form an image of the sea bottom within the width of the beam. 

 

Sulfur mustard

See mustard gas.

 

Tabun

Tabun is a type of nerve agent. It is an extremely toxic chemical substance that comes in a colourless and tasteless liquid form with a fruity odour. It was produced industrially as a chemical weapon agent during World War II. Today its production is strictly controlled and stockpiling is outlawed by the Chemical Weapons Convention.

 

Tear gas

Tear gas, also known as lachrymatory agent or lachrymator, is a non-lethal chemical weapon that stimulates the eyes to cause tears, pain and even blindness. Tear gas is commonly used as riot control and chemical warfare agents, though military use of tear gas is prohibited by various international conventions. 

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