TOEFL IBT – Environmental Science

Vocabulary is promordial in order to improve your TOEFL score. Remember, Preparation is the key to succeed !

This vocabulary will be useful if you ever take an environmental science course in school, for expanding your English vocabulary, or especially for any number of English language exams you may take. Here we will look at the most commonly used words in the field, along with their French translations.


non-living factors of the environment

A further abiotic factor is moisture, which is important for respiration.



the process of an organism adjusting to chronic change in its environment

Acclimation to those temperatures may decrease fitness in an individual.


acid rain

rain that is unusually acidic

The tiles had deteriorated badly due to the effects of acid rain.

la pluie acide


requiring air or oxygen

And aerobic or step classes aren’t for everyone either.


air pollution

the modification of the natural characteristics of the atmosphere by a chemical, particulate matter, or biological agent

Sparring over the air pollution plan is likely to intensify this summer.

la pollution de l’air


a bed or layer yielding water for wells and springs

After that the aquifer will be handed over to the state.



capable of being decomposed through the action of organisms, especially bacteria

And it, too, was biodegradable and flame-retardant.



a climatic and geographically defined area of ecologically similar communities of plants, animals, and soil organisms

The garden will incorporate plants from desert biomes around the world.

le biome

carbon footprint

a measure of the carbon emissions that are emitted over the full life cycle of a product or service

Contractors were encouraged to purchase materials locally to reduce the carbon footprint.

l’empreinte carbone

climate change

a change in weather over time

No conclusions about climate change can be drawn from a single downpour.

le changement climatique


the general variations of weather in a region over long periods of time

This garden has become an anthology of plants from these climates.

le climat


the aerobically decomposed remnants of organic matter

Add compost or other organic matter and till the soil well.

le compost

crude oil

naturally occurring mixture of hydrocarbons under normal temperature and pressure

Worldwide crude oil and natural gas prices have continued to improve.

le pétrole brut


intense low pressure weather system

It’s like a week of standing in a cyclone.

le cyclone


an area that receives an average annual precipitation of less than 250 mm

The siege mentality is illustrated along the desert border with Iraq.

le désert


an acute water shortage relative to availability

Well, maybe the drought is just coming to an end.

la sécheresse


a dynamic complex of plant, animal, and microorganism communities and their non-living environment all interacting as a functional unit

The group will study freshwater ecosystems and learn how to canoe.


endangered species

a species which is at risk of becoming extinct

Busch Gardens already cares for nearly 300 threatened or endangered species.

l’espèce en voie d’extinction


the external conditions, resources, stimuli, etc. with which an organism interacts

It will take more than 8 percent to change the environment.



displacement of solids, usually by the agents of currents such as wind, water, etc.

Yes, the erosion of the riverbank is real and destructive.


food chain

the feeding relationships between species within an ecosystem

Homo sapiens are no longer at the top of the food chain.

la chaîne alimentaire

fossil fuel

any hydrocarbon deposit that can be burned for heat or power, such as coal, oil, or natural gas

Vehicles, industry, and agriculture produce gas when they burn fossil fuels.

le combustible fossile

global warming

the observable increase in global temperatures

Global warming of the oceans is taking a toll as well.

le réchauffement planétaire

greenhouse gas

any gas that contributes to the greenhouse effect

Water vapor is an even more powerful greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.

le gaz à effet de serre


water found below the surface

Traditional groundwater treatment could run as high as $26 million.

les eaux souterraines


chemical made up of carbon and hydrogen that is found in raw materials such as petroleum, coal, and natural gas

It also cuts hydrocarbons and carbon monoxide at the same time.



a pesticide used to control insects in all developmental forms

Don’t use herbicides and insecticides on your lawn.



watering of plants, no matter what system is used

Canadians helped build universities, manage forests, and construct irrigation systems.



solid waste disposal in which refuse is buried between layers of soil

Confiscated weapons are certified, bundled, and taken to a landfill.

la décharge


molten rock that sometimes forms beneath the surface of the Earth

Magma pours into the depression, forming domes and other features.

le magma

natural resources

naturally occurring substances that are considered valuable in their relatively unmodified form

We have enormous natural resources in this part of the country.

les ressources naturelles


chemicals required for the growth of organisms

And less oxygen and nutrients are delivered to the heart muscle.

les substances nutritives


the transformation of radiant energy to chemical energy by plants

Chloroplasts contain the green pigment chlorophyll which is needed for photosynthesis.

la photosynthèse


a wide range of activities, including collection, sorting, reprocessing, and manufacture of products into new goods

Put them in charge of the family recycling effort.

le recyclage

renewable energy

any source of energy that can be used without depleting its reserves

There are no other renewable energy plans offered in the Houston area.

l’énergie renouvelable


water and raw waste disposed through toilets, kitchens, and bathrooms

One school had raw sewage on its playground for a day.

les eaux usées

waste treatment

where some additional processing is undertaken of a particular waste

Officials are planning a waste treatment plant for the McMurdo station.

le traitement des déchets

water cycle

passage of the water between the oceans and waterbodies, land, and atmosphere

He travels around the world, helping the water cycle run smoothly.

le cycle de l’eau

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