New words – 7 August 2023

a field filled with wheat growing between large banks of solar panels, representing the concept of 'agrivoltaics'
TodorovNikifor / iStock / Getty Images Plus

agrivoltaics noun [S]
UK /ˌæg.rɪ.vəʊlˈteɪ.ɪks/ US /ˌæg.rə.voʊlˈteɪ.ɪks/
the use of the same piece of land to grow crops and to create energy through solar panels

Putting solar panels on farmland, known as agrivoltaics, has been a bit of a political hot-potato in some parts of Europe and the U.S. For environmental engineer Chad Higgins, the choice between farmland and energy is a false one. There has to be thoughtful design, he says, but “our research indicates they can coexist and even create mutual benefits”. Indeed, agrivoltaics projects are springing up across the globe, especially in Asia.
[, 20 March 2023]

Pyrocene noun [S]
UK /ˈpaɪ.rə.siːn/ US /ˈpaɪ.roʊ.siːn/
the present era, in which there are more frequent and more serious wildfires as a result of climate change

Geologists have renamed the present era as the “Pyrocene”, the age of fire, taking over from the Holocene epoch which dated from the last Ice Age. Fires are increasing in prevalence and intensity everywhere, adding to the cascading list of interlocking environmental disasters.
[, 8 November 2022]

gigafire noun [C]
UK /ˈɡɪɡ.ə.faɪəʳ/ US /ˈɡɪɡ.ə.faɪr/
a wildfire that burns more than 1 million acres (405,000 hectares) of land

What initially began as 37 separate fires caused by lightning strikes came together to form California’s first gigafire, a term used to describe fires that burn at least a million acres of land. The gigafire ranks at the top of the state’s five largest wildfires in modern history, all in one year.
[, 5 October, 2022]

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