bjective function. A function that is maximized or minimized in a model. Occam’s Razor. A principle of scientific thought that holds simplicity and parsimony in explanation superior to complexity, all else equal. occult precipitation. A mist-like form of precipitation in which condensation forms directly on vegetation. oceanography. The science and study of oceans, including both biotic and abiotic systems. oceans. The contiguous bodies of salt water that encompass about 70 percent of the earth’s surface and provide a home to an abundance of marine life. Oceans also moderate temperatures along coastal areas. OECD. See Organization for Economic Cooperation and Economic Development. offsets. A sub-program of emission credit trading set up in the USA to allow some flexibility in the meeting of air pollution control targets. Offsets apply only to non-attainment areas allowing for new point sources of pollution provided that they are more than compensated for by reductions in emissions from existing sources. FURTHER READING Tietenberg (1 996). off-shore oil drilling. The extraction of petroleum and petroleumrelated resources from the ocean floor by drilling. off-site waste management. The treatment of waste at a location different from that where it was generated. offtake. Harvest. Ogallala. An alluvial fan system in the USA that stretches fkom South Dakota to Texas in the south and includes parts of Wyoming, Colorado, Nebraska, Kansas and Oklahoma. The system is a very large and widely 199 200 oilshale used aquifer where the withdrawal rate greatly exceeds the rate of regeneration. oil shale. Petroleum deposits in whch...
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