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Is the climate change debate so aggressive
because science abuse the layman’s term: climate?

Has the climate debate turned into a horror scenario because climate means everything and nothing?

by Dr. Arnd Bernaerts,  April 2019

 John Locke: "The achievement of human knowledge is often hampered by the use of words without fixed signification"
British philosopher, 1632-1704.

For years, one can hear it daily. Climate change is the greatest threat facing our world. Few declare the debate as hoax, like U.S. President Donald Trump, others regard it as real, respectively as an issue that affects the whole of humanity, the future of humans depending on it. As long as only the rise of local or global air temperature is viewed, this is certainly correct. But that is rarely the case. Overwhelmingly all refer primarily to a threat by climate change, which is a distinct issue from a rise of air temperatures. Indiscriminating use of both term simultaneously is a fretful failure, leading to misinformation, disguising, and, if intentionally, a gross delusion. In the way science has been using the word climate over the last decades, the general public and politics is misguided since long. The reason is that science has been incapable to demonstrate that they understand what climate is, and able to define the terms they work with. Actually they use a layman term, broadly understood as average weather (for example the summer season in Florida), as greatest threat facing our world by calling it “climate change”. That is irresponsible and in an objective sense deception. Let’s have a look at the term climate as used by science and climatology.

The misery of the climate discussion already arises with the statement: Weather is not Climate. There are many various around, but topped by a title/sub-title in scientificamerican  (Sept.04,2018) saying: “Don't Be Fooled: Weather Is Not Climate. But climate affects weather, [respectively]:  Weather is affected by climate”. There is also the following quote:

Summing up the distinction between short-term changes in the weather and long term climate trends ……, Dr. J. Marshall Shepherd, President of the American Meteorological Society, used nine simple words: "weather is your mood and climate is your personality."

Nothing is explained with such comments. They cause confusion and are nothing more than babble. That stems from the fact that weather is a physical state of the atmosphere, and climate merely the numerical statistic of numerous aspects of this state. While the former situation exists for a very short moment only, never repeating again, the latter is a huge amount of numbers and can never convert to weather again.  It is therefore horrible when it is said: climate affects weather. How can any statistic influence the physical condition of the atmosphere?

Unfortunately, this is not just a slip-up, but runs through all the definitions that science uses for weather and climate. Since modern climatology claims to be abler to advise the general public and governments on climate change since about the 1980s, their ability to formulate what they are talking about was remote, if existing at all. Let’s start in 1992, before discussing briefly the background of the term: climate.


In 1992, the Rio Conference adopted the UNITED NATIONS FRAMEWORK CONVENTION ON CLIMATE CHANGE, UNFCCC. Although the word climate is included in the title, the convention offers not any explanation at all (Fig. below). Similar shocking is not to realize that if one wants to explain “climate change” that it is a paramount condition to say what the subject of change shall be. This nonsense is topped when saying: “‘Climate change’ means a change of climate…” (More details see Fig. next left).
According the Dictionary of GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE (1992) by W. John Mauder, (pp. 240), Fig. next right:


Climate is the synthesis of the day-to-day weather conditions in a given area. The actual climate is characterized by long-term statistics (such as mean values, variances, probabilities of extreme values) of the state of the atmosphere in that area, or of the meteorological elements in that area.

[W.J. Mauder – New Zealand - was for many years Vice- and President of the WMO Commission for Climatology].

This definition is in no way a substitute for the gap left by the UNFCCC. Even the quality of the first sentence can be questioned, as subsequently “actual climate”, and other issues mentioned.

IPCC – Climate

The most prominent institutions on climate are the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the American Meteorological Society (AMC). Today they have both lengthy glossaries with more than 12,000 terms (AMS), or over 52 pages (IPCC) respectively. Remarkable - they are both concerning the term climate. On one hand, they differ extremely from each other. On the other hand, each text on climate is at best a joke as an academically reasonable definition. They are both useless in the field of scientific work, and of such big lack of clarity that they undermine any fair and explanatory communication between the general public and politics.  The IPCC definition starts with the confession that there is no better idea than to repeat the layman expression since ancient times: climate is average weather. (Fig. left). At least one would assume that the IPCC Glossary would tell the reader now what is weather, or how average weather is defined, but the Glossary is completely silent on it. The subsequent attempt to describe  climate (more rigorously), as the statistical description in terms of the mean and variability of relevant quantities over a period of time ranging from months to thousands or millions of years, can only be called as naive. What “terms of the mean and variability” shall be used? What are relevant quantities?  The text of the definition lose any ability as a working tool, when the so called ‘classical period’ 30 years is replace by a range ‘from months to thousands or millions of years’. Such a definition is completely useless, which commence with the use of the word weather, which is primarily an individual impression and experience of any person alive, and there are many.

Back in 1987 the WMO Bulletin published the following definition (Fig. below most right)

Climate is the statistical probability of the occurrence of various states of the atmosphere over a given region during a given calendar period;

Weather is the state of the atmosphere over one given region during one given period (minute, hour, day, month, season, year, decade, etc.).         

 See: Conclusions (p.295); by W. J. GIBBS, October 1987, WMO Bulletin, Vol. 36, Page 290-295,

Source: https://library.wmo.int/pmb_ged/bulletin_36-4_en.pdf

from page 290- Introduction

from page 291

from page 295 - Conclusion

From the many ambiguities the text has, the most obvious is that ‘weather’ shall also comprise the state of the atmosphere over years and decades. What demonstrates better than anything else that the author did not understand what he was talking about?

The First IPCC Report, WG I, 02 June 1990, didn’t made any use of the WMO publication five years earlier, but in the Introduction (p. vii) it is merely said:

Climate System
___A simple definition of climate is the average weather.  
___A description of climate over a period (which may typically be from a few years to a few centuries) involves the averages of appropriate components of the weather over that period, together with the statistical variations of those components.
___The driving force for weather and climate is energy from the Sun.

Although there is frequently a reference to weather, the Introduction (as presumably the entire Report, total pages 365) offers nothing, as the current IPCC Glossary. In the published edition by J.T. Houghton et al, 1990, Cambridge University Press the cited text is on page xxxv & xxxvi.

 Almost 30 years later, nothing has changed for better. A layman term was abused to scare the public than, while no effort was spared to increase the pressure ever since.

For more, see the following discussion about AMS definition on climate and weather.

AMS – Climate & Weather

The AMS Glossary offers a different approach. The definition begins with the sentence: “climate is the slowly varying aspects of the atmosphere–hydrosphere–land surface system”, see full text Fig. right.  It is all the Glossary tells about the meaning of climate. It is virtually impossible to make any sense out of it. A definition of ‘nature’ could go equally. All that this boils down to is ‘the interactions of the natural system’, Letter to the Editor, NATURE 1992, Vol. 360, p. 292.
The subsequent sentence no longer refers to climate, but to the ‘climate system’ a term “typically characterized in terms of suitable averages over periods of a month or more”, which is separately defined as:

climate system
The system, consisting of the
atmosphere, hydrosphere, lithosphere, and biosphere, determining the earth's climate as the result of mutual interactions and responses to external influences (forcing).
Physical, chemical, and biological processes are involved in the interactions among the components of the climate system.

Also the next about 70 words contribute little to make the term a reliable asset. The only interesting aspect is, that the AMS climate definition back off using such terms as ‘average weather’, ‘statistical description’,  or ‘relevant quantities’, but explains nothing, and says practically the same as the explanation of the ‘climate system’.
But different from IPCC the AMS Glossary defines weather ( next Fig. ).  Interesting that the first paragraph confirms what was already said above, that weather is “primarily an individual impression and experience”, namely:

WEATHER is „The state of the atmosphere, mainly with respect to its effects upon life and human activities.”

But the definition runs afoul and inconsistently immediately when the next two sentences state:

As distinguished from climate, weather consists of the short-term (minutes to days) variations in the atmosphere.
        Question: Where is the 1st and 2nd sentence compatible?

Popularly, weather is thought of in terms of temperature, humidity, precipitation, cloudiness, visibility, and wind.
       Question: What has this distraction (popularly) to do in a scientific definition? On the other hand, it confirms that also “weather” is primarily a layman term.

How inconsequently also the AMS weather definition has been drafted comes to light if it describes that

The "present weather" table consists of 100 possible conditions, with 10 possibilities for "past weather"; both are encoded numerically.  

This shows evidently that also AMS has no definition of weather, but uses the word as it fits best. Five conditions here, 12 conditions there and thereon called climate. But weather is weather and cannot consist one time of 100 conditions, and if convenient for making a case consist of 3 conditions. Not surprisingly “future weather” is not mentioned.

Climate is a layman term – A short background

The concept of climate can be found in Greece in fifth century BC. To Hippocrates of Kos (~460 – ~370 BC) it comprised airs, waters, places associates season, prevailing winds, and the quality of the air and water with the physical condition of people. The earliest notions of ‘klimat’ were linked to sun inclination, and latitude. Over 2000 years the term climate is a solid public domain. Like weather, the word reflects a general impression. People not necessarily like to talk about climate and weather, but need to find out, which issues are needed to have an informative conversation, e.g. temperature, sun shine, rain, wind, etc. In countries with quickly changing weather conditions, as in Western Europe, the talks on weather are more intensive and lengthy, as in the Sahara with little changes. It is more abstract when merely seasonal conditions for a holiday abroad, for example in Morocco in May is of interest, commonly called climate.

During the last several century philosophers, writers and researchers used the term climate as well. For example the German naturalist and geographer A. von Humboldt (1769 –1859) defined climate as “all the changes in the atmosphere that perceptibly affect our organs”.  But none could be called a climatologist, as that term came into use only well after World War II.  At best the term ‘climate’ existed in the layman’s way. The preface of the book by V. Conrad (1946): Methods in Climatology.  Harvard University Press; pages 228, states in the first and last paragraph (p. vii):

Climate influences the surface of the earth, and this conversely, in its conditions. This intimate mutual connection makes climatology and climatography appear as parts of geography, because they are essentially necessary to describe the surface of the earth and its changes. These ideas find their expression in the fact that generally the colleges and universities, climatology as a whole is treated in the geographical departments. Perhaps the dependent role of climatology may be attributed also to the fact that geographers have so greatly furthered this science.

The general introduction presents climatology as a world science, and its international organization. The number of observations in the meteorological register makes the necessity of statistical methods evident.

Until the end of the 1940s, only the number of observations and statistical methods were of interest. Two prominent meteorologists confirmed few decades later, that the term climate was rarely used

         H.H. Lamp (Nature, Vol. 223, 1969): Only thirty years ago climatology was generally regarded as the mere dry-as-dust bookkeeping end of meteorology.
Definitions of climate and climatology have varied. That (still widely) definition of climate as “average weather” must surely be regarded as quite inadequate. Climate comprises the totality of weather experienced at a given place. 

         Kenneth Hare, (Bulletin American Meteorological Society, Vol. 60, 1979); This is obviously the decade in which climate is coming into its own. You hardly heard the word professionally in the 1940s. It was a layman's word. Climatologists were the halt and the lame. And as for the climatologists in public service, in the British service you actually, had to be medically disabled in order to get into the climatological division! Climatology was a menial occupation that came on the pecking scale somewhat below the advertising profession. It was clearly not the age of climate.

Meanwhile efforts are made to present climate and climatology as a long standing interest of science, at least for the last 150 years. For example Roger G. Barry (in Int. J. Climatol., Vol. 33, 2013), is saying: “The term climate has a 600-year history, but only came into widespread use about 150 years ago. The crux with such a statement is, that the entire assessment is based on the layman term: “climate is average weather”, which is “surely quite inadequate” as H.H. Lamp observed back in 1969 (see above).  But still in 2019 IPCC rely on it, and AMS evade this point by talking instead of the ‘climate system’, see discussion above.

What should be the conclusion? A science which is not able to define in a clear and understandable manner, what they are talking about, does not deserve being recognized as a competent academic discipline.

The use of words that are of 'emotional importance' to the public must be clear, reasonable, and comprehensible. Otherwise, there is a danger that it may come to an objective deception. The debate on climate change does not meet John Locke (1632-1704) requirement of “fixed signification”.   

Is there a solution? Yes, by recognizing that the ocean is the base of the weather,
while sticking to the fact that any statistic always remains a statistic!

If one regards the words weather and climate primarily as an individual impression and experience of any person, respectively of emotional importance to the public, one should leave it in the public domain. Furthermore it seems most unlikely, that the terms can reasonably define in an academic manner, which would require a wording that does not mix-up with any layman understanding.  But if the term Climate shall be used, not the weather but the oceans must be the centerpiece of the definition.

Already back in 1984 J. D. Woods explained the role of the ocean in the planetary system (excerpts):

Approximately 80% of solar energy intercepted by our planet enters the atmosphere over the oceans. About 50% of this energy flux reaches the bottom of the atmosphere after 25% has been reflected by, and 19% absorbed in the atmosphere. Neglecting atmosphere bias between continental and ocean regions, the oceans receive 40%, and the continents 10% of the intercepted energy. …The ocean is the principal initial recipient of energy entering the planetary climate system….
Almost all of this radiative flux into the ocean is absorbed in the top 100 m. (cont,//) 
                  [in: The Global Climate, Cambridge (Uni. Press), 1984, p. 142.].

The ultimate source in the planetary scenario is water, of which is only a very small percentage in the atmosphere. At any moment, the atmosphere contains only the amount of water, which would cover the entire surface of the Earth (land and ocean) with as little rain as one inch (2,5 cm) only. The water volume of the ocean is 1000 times bigger, and has only a mean temperature of about +4 Celsius. The huge stability of the oceans over long periods of time is amazing, but even minor change in current status of the ocean, will  make the rising air temperature and greenhouse discussion looking much too narrow. It is high time that any definition in this respect needs to acknowledge that the current and future planetary weather system depends on the oceans, or briefly: Oceans Govern Climate.

Further reading:


Paper presented by at the GKSS Research Center, Geesthacht / Hamburg on December 4, 1992; pages ca. 45

Continue reading about the definition of climate:

Climate - A never
ending Story?

Never for layman! – For science it should soon!

Posted May 24, 2019 

First at on May 19, 2019:

Let’s face it. Except on some religious and faith expressions the word climate has managed to become the most magical common term in modern time. Our previous post explained, that the word has a several thousand year’s history, but during the last few decades science uses it as ‘it fits best’ to underline the impression of competence, and in a similar way to scare the public and politions alike.

Let’s face it. For any layman weather and climate are individual and emotional terms, accompanying him any hour on every day throughout his life. A few or several weather conditions may have an impact on what to eat or drink, what to wear, how to go to work or on a walk, which gardening to do, what hat to put on, or sun cream to use, and so on. In the layman’s world climate is merely a summary or a few aspects of weather condition in a certain location and time period, which may exist when planning a work trip to Anchorage in December, or holidays in Malta or South Africa next spring.

Let’s face it. Science, meteorology and climatology presumably understand something of the one hundred conditions composing the atmosphere currently, and also fairly correctly few days ahead, commonly called weather. Is this already the end of any consensus on the importance of weather and climate between the lay world and science?

        Yes with regard to weather! Not one ordinary man would ever see his “present weather as consisting of 100 possible conditions” (see AMS-definition, Fig.).

        Defiantly yes with regard to climate! The layman’s term is neither based on numerical statistics, nor would he ever consider “the mean and variability of relevant quantities over a period of time ranging from months to thousands or millions of years, (see IPCC-definition, Fig.).


Let’s face it. The way the lay world understands and is using the words weather and climate is very different from the way science defines them an is presenting them in their scientific work to the general public. That they not even show any capability or willingness to see the huge discrepancy is a serious obstacle in a fair and fruitful climatic debate.

Let’s face the fact. Science seems happy to use floppy definitions, if at all. Although the UNFCCC (Climate Change Convention, 1992) is soon getting 30 years old, one never could hear any complain, that the most fundamental terms weather and climate are not defined, although numerous essays have been written on the subject. Here are few essays analyzed about the term and processing of the UNFCCC:

Daniel Bodansky (I) - On the road to a Draft Convention On Climate Change – Until December 1991

Daniel Bodansky (II) – 1993 – The Convention in place – A Commentary

Daniel Bodansky (III) – 2004 – On how the FCCC emerged

Roger. A. Pielke Jr. on:  - Misdefining “climate change”: consequences for science and action – 2005

J. F. Pulvenis explains UNFCCC (1994): No real negotiations – Take it or leave it – Undeniable success.  


Let’s face the fact. Science seems to have little interest in listening and learning, as the following example indicates. Ten years ago 18 of the most notable U.S. research organizations wrote an open letter to the Senators (in PDF) dated October 21, 2009, writing –inter alias - excerpts:

___As you consider climate change legislation, we, as leaders of scientific organizations, write to state the consensus scientific view.
___climate change is occurring
climate change will have broad impacts on society
___ severity of climate change
We in the scientific community offer our assistance to inform your deliberations as you seek to address the impacts of climate change.

 In the letter of 236 words, ‘climate change’ appears seven times.

This letter got a reply by surface mail and online about three weeks later, dated November 12, 2009 (in PDF), expressing –inter alias- following concern (excerpts):  

___ How could it happen that more than a dozen of the most prestigious scientific associations signed and submitted this letter on ‘climate change’ without having ensured that the used terminology is sufficiently defined.  Good science can and is required to work with reasonable terms and explanations. 
___ Actually nowadays climate is still defined as average weather, which may be fine for the general public, but nonsense as scientific term.
___ Article 1 of the FCCC providing definitions offers none on the term “climate”, and if it had been based on the common explanation on “average weather”, the word “weather” would have required a definition as well.
___ If your organization believes that “rigorous scientific research demonstrates that the greenhouse gases emitted by human activities“ have an impact on air temperatures, then any alert should be restricted to this aspect.

Nothing has changed ever since.

By the way. The two open letters were posted by the website “The Air Vent    - Because the world needs another opinion” by Jeff Id on November 13, 2009. Few days later the infamous hacker FOIA provided in comment No.10 a link to more than 1,000 emails and 3,000 other documents from the Climatic Research Unit from the University of East Anglia (UK). Did FOIA endorsed with his selection of the Jeff-Id post also concern with the climate definition?  No one knows. FOIA was never identified. But “Climate Gate” (see: Wikipedia) took its course.

More on the FOIA story;
The Climate Gate Story -2009 – How it came about!


Collection of Information, Material, Discussion
from 2007 t0 2012
A Basics & The term Climate B Climate & Climate change C Weather & Climate

114a_ American Meteorology Society’s Glossary concerning the meaning of: weather, climate, and climate change

111_ UNFCCC's "Glossary of climate change acronyms" - Two UNFCCC glossaries with surprises -

113_ Various Glossaries Concerning meaning of:  Climate, climate change, and weather

202 Open Letter on „Climate Change:
Reply concerning the letter, 21st October, to the U.S.A. Senate by the listed institutions

206 IPCC says that there are important differences between weather and climate. Is the claim serious science?

211_ What is Climate, had been asked when: Climate Science: Roger A. Pielke Sr Research Group Weblog started in July 2005

212_ Need to talk about, 2009

304_ Just a word on the words "weather" and "climate". Here science fails

305_ What is Weather? Is 'average weather' climate?

330_ Prof. Roger A. Pielke Sr calls for recognition that an equivalence of global warming and climate change is erroneous

315_ How did Thomas A. Blair describe in 1942: Weather, Climate and Climatology?

D Climatology, Politique & International Institutions E Contribution & Papers on UNFCCC F This & That -in brief-

410_ Recently, April 2007, WMO evaluated its role in 'Global Climate Change Issues'

411_ About Valerio Lucarini’s effort to define climate science in 2002

510_ Roger. A. Pielke Jr. on: Misdefining "climate change", 2005

516b_Daniel Bodansky (II) – 1993 – The Convention in place – A Commentary

516c_Daniel Bodansky (III) – 2004 – On how the FCCC emerged

Various V (and more)

Various VI (and more)

VariousVII (and more)





Reference links:






Click for archive 





“Is the term ‚climate’ too unspecific for a fruitful discussion?”
A detailed analysis, 10 pages, in:
in; PDF
Presented at

22nd International  Conference, Pacific Congress on Marine Science and Technology, 
June 1 - 5 June, 2010,
University of  Hawai`i at  Hilo /USA  

National Conference on  “Climate Change and Future Security“, Loyola Institute of Frontier Energy, 
January 08 - 09, 2011
Loyola College Chennai/India

o previous essay: "Roger Pielke Sr and Climate Definition"

Dr. Arnd Bernaerts  

Silly? Very Silly?? Naive???
„Climate“defined by IPCC
Posted April 2014

 Clear and unambiguous definitions of all terms used are a prerequisite for any meaningful communication, 
for sound scientific work.  

  • A definition serves to sharpen, clarify, or point out the objective of discourse.
  • A definition attempts to explain a word using other words.
  • A definition is a statement that explains the meaning of a term.

 Does IPCC in its 5th Report [AR5-WGI, 2013] since 1990 observe such basic rules? The Glossary, attached as Annex III (pp. 1447-1465), does not, stating that  

Climate in a narrow sense is usually defined as the average weather,
or more rigorously, as the statistical description in terms of the mean and variability of relevant quantities over a period of time ranging from months to thousands or millions of years. The classical period for averaging these variables is 30 years, as defined by the World Meteorological Organization. The relevant quantities are most often surface variables such as temperature, precipitation and wind. Climate in a wider sense is the state, including a statistical description, of the climate system.

 On the other hand it represents the state of climate science. Neither the World Meteorology Organisation or other scientific organisation or institutions use a different terminology. Is climate science incapable to define what they are talking about? An analysis of the term CLIMATE as defined in the Glossary (left column) show big flaws (right column).   

Climate  [1]



in a narrow sense [2]

is usually defined [3]

as the average[5] weather [4],[6].









or more rigorously [7] ,

as the statistical description [8]

in terms of the mean [9]

and variability [10]




of relevant quantities [12]

over a period of time ranging from months to thousands or millions of years [13].

 The classical period for averaging these variables is 30 years, as defined by the World Meteorological Organization. [14]


The relevant quantities [15] are most often surface [16] variables such as temperature, precipitation and wind [17]

Climate in a wider sense [18] is the state, including a statistical description, of the climate system [19] ; [IPCC definition, next box below]


[1] The term ‘climate’ (used in Ancient Greek klima, meaning inclination of the sun) was used to describe the average weather at a location according the season. It was a layman’s term over 3000 years. As a scientific term it came in use only during the last decades. [A], [B], [C]; more HERE  

[2] What is CLIMATE in a wider sense?  

[3] Is there any “unusual” CLIMATE definition? What shall “usual” explain?  

[4] The term ‘weather’ is not listed in the IPCC-Glossary! The core term is not defined! Silly? A joke?

[5] ‘Weather’ presumably consists of up to several hundred parameters or descriptions. More details HERE, and HERE..

[6] ‘Weather’ is also a layman’s term since immemorial times, as described in the AMS-Glossary: “As the state of the atmosphere, mainly with respect to its effects upon life and human activities.” While it is a perfectly common term in the layman’s sphere, it is totally insufficient for scientific work.  

[7] If the initial explanation ‘explains’ nothing (1-5), a more ‘rigorous’ approach explains either nothing.  

[8] The word statistic is a quantity computed from sample data. A statistical description is a synonym of statistic. Once a statistic always a statistic.  

[9] Which ‘terms’, which ‘means’?  

[10] Which variability is meant? IPCC-Glossary cause confusion if saying: “Climate variability refers to variations in the mean state and other statistics (such as standard deviations, the occurrence of extremes, etc.) of the climate on all spatial and temporal scales beyond that of individual weather events. Variability may be due to natural internal processes with the climate system (individual variability, or anthropogenic external forcing (external variability).” Do they mean ‘weather variability’ or statistical variability’?

[12] Who defines what is a ‘relevant quantity’?  

[13] What a flaw! How can science work with such nonsense? How can the general public and politics understand and evaluate ‘scientific findings’?

[14] Wrong, at least misleading! Only once the predecessor of the WMO agreed in 1935 that the period from 1901 to 1930 should be used to express departures from mean datax). Not only has this fixed indicator been abandoned, but also the time span of 30 years. What is now a ‘change’? 

Kincer, J.B., 1935; Monthly Weather Review, 63, 342-344, available online at: http://docs.lib.noaa.gov/rescue/mwr/063/mwr-063-12-0342.pdf.

[15] see [above 12]

[16] What shall the word ‘surface’ indicate?

[17] ‘Weather’ consists of several hundred parameters, see [5].

[18] The whole sentence is confusing and utterly nonsense. It actually says: “Climate is the state of the climate system”. According IPCC definition, climate is statistic. Why do the authors include in the sentence: “including a statistical description”.


[19] Deliberate or naive? The definition of ‘climate system’ explains nothing. The same definition could be used to explain ‘nature’, consisting “of the atmosphere, the hydrosphere, the cryosphere, the lithosphere and the biosphere, and the interactions between them.”

[19] - IPCC-Glossary says:. The climate system is the highly complex system consisting of five major components: the atmosphere, the hydrosphere, the cryosphere, the lithosphere and the biosphere, and the interactions between them. The climate system evolves in time under the influence of its own internal dynamics and because of external forcings such as volcanic eruptions, solar variations and anthropogenic forcings such as the changing composition of the atmosphere and land use change. 

Recently Dr. Tim Ball titled a post (25. Feb. 2014 - HERE):

“Government Weather and Climate Forecasts Are Failures”;

mentioning –inter alia-:

Around 300 BC Theophrastus, a student of Aristotle’s, wrote a book setting out the first rules for weather forecasting. In the Book of Signs, he recorded over 200 empirical indicators such as “A halo around the moon portends rain.” Many skeptics, including me, say we haven’t come very far since. Indeed, I would argue we have regressed.“

Indeed, a science which is not able to define the central terms they use: weather and climate, and is unable to name the oceans as the most potential driver of atmospheric processes, will fail to advise politics and the public fair, competent, correct, and thoroughly.    

Back to TOP


H.H. Lamb, Meteorological Office Bracknell, Berkshire (UK), “The New Look of Climatology”, NATURE, Vol. 223, September 20, 1969, pp.1209ff;

Only thirty years ago climatology was generally regarded as the mere dry-as-dust bookkeeping end of meteorology.

back to Climate


F. Kenneth Hare, 1979; „The Vaulting of Intellectual Barriers: The Madison Thrust in Climatology“,  Bulletin American Meteorological Society , Vol. 60, 1979, p. 1171 – 1124

This is obviously the decade in which climate is coming into its own. You hardly heard the word professionally in the 1940s. It was a layman's word. Climatologists were the halt and the lame. And as for the climatologists in public service, in the British service you actually, had to be medically disabled in order to get into the climatologically division! Climatology was a menial occupation that came on the pecking scale somewhat below the advertising profession. It was clearly not the age of climate.

 back to Climate


Spencer Weart, 2007,  “The Discovery of Global Warming”: Chapter: Climatology as a Profession;

http://www.aip.org/history/climate . Available as book: HARVARD UNIV. PRESS, 2003.

__At the middle of the 20th century the study of climate was a scientific backwater. People who called themselves “climatologists” were mostly drudges who compiled statistics about weather conditions in regions of interest—the average temperatures, extremes of rainfall, and so forth.

__Climatology could hardly be scientific when meteorology itself was more art than science.

__(Aside)…..meteorology was scarcely seen as a field of science at all, let along a science firmly based on physics. Meteorology, one academic practitioner complained to another in 1950, “is still suffering from the trade-school blues.”

More about the work of Dr. Arnd Bernaerts

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Roger Pielke Sr. and Climate Definition
-A field of jargon words and misuse of definitions –
-- Rubbish terms: Climate and Climate system --

December 2012, by Dr. Arnd Bernaerts  
ADDENDUM 07. August 2013 (below)

It is a pity. Prof. Roger Pielke Sr ended to run his invaluable weblog “Climate Science: Roger Pielke Sr.“ on November 13, 2012, which he had started with a post on the topic  “What is Climate? Why Does it Matter How We Define Climate?” on July 11, 2005. We discussed his consideration critical in 2007 (here B-211; and B-330). He, as well as his son Roger Pielke Jr. (here E-510), belong to the very few scientists that have addressed the climate definition issue critical. In the last seven years R.  Pielke Sr. did it frequently. In a  post on June 15, 2012 (HERE) he commended once again: “The terminology in the field of climate and environmental science is filled with jargon words and the misuse of definitions.” Particularly he opposes the term “climate change”, because the term is being extensively used to mean “anthropogenic caused changes in climate” from nearly ”static“ climatic conditions. Instead only the term “climate” or “climate system” should be used, concluding that the post shall “alert others to the frequent mischaracterization of the climate system”. Regrettably his considerations lack even basic clarity and do not end the mischief in the disastrous climate terminology.  Nothing is solved if “climate change” is replaced by “climate system”. It would require saying precisely and in a meaningful way what “climate” is.

Back in 2005 Roger Pielke Sr. assumed in his first post (see above) that “the climate is the system consisting of the atmosphere, hydrosphere, lithosphere, and biosphere”. Later he merely presented it more detailed definition without altering the basics.  For example, in “Physics Today” (Nov.2008, p.54f) he wrote:

    “For many, the term “climate” refers to long-term weather statistics. However, more broadly and more accurately, the definition of climate is a system consisting of the atmosphere, hydrosphere, lithosphere, and biosphere. Physical, chemical, and biological processes are involved in interactions among the components and the climate system. Vegetation, soil moisture, and glaciers, for example, are ass much a part of the climate system as are temperature and precipitation.” 

The definition is meaningless. It explains nothing. Beside from not mentioning the fundamental relevance of sun ray, “weather” can either be defined as: a system consisting of the atmosphere, hydrosphere, lithosphere, and biosphere. In the same way “nature” can be defined. If weather, climate, nature, need or can only be defined in the same way, than it is misleading to use different words, but claim that there is a distinction. Nevertheless one can often read: “weather is not the same as climate”. That is talking rubbish.  

The starting point is that “climate” is generally defined as average weather (by WMO and others) without defining “weather” in the first place (discussed HERE and HERE). It is a comparison between apples and pears. One item has a physical background; the other item is a ‘man-made’ technical mean, which we know as “statistic”. “Weather” consists of many dozen components (AMS-Glossary), which can be described in many hundred ways (see HERE). The statistic of single physical element, or specification of atmospheric behaviour, remain an abstract mean.  

On first view Roger Pielke Sr. seems to be aware of it when he writes (June 15, 2012, HERE):  

When change is discussed, the specific component that is being discussed should be presented, such as an increase in annual averaged surface air temperatures, a decrease in the length of growing season etc. 

Unfortunately, he spoils this approach by the subsequent sentence:

Phrases such as “changes in regional and global climate statistics” could be used.

This assumption is wrong. Regardless what kind of regional or global weather statistic is at stake, it is necessary to name the “specific component” individually and precisely.  Assuming that one or several statistical components are able to make-up a weather or a nature “system consisting of the atmosphere, hydrosphere, lithosphere, and biosphere” would always result in a failure. “Climate” is a meaningless term, and scientifically incomprehensive in what ever combination with other words.     

The failure of science to come up with appropriate climate definitions misleads the general public and politicians on how the prevent man-made changes in the atmosphere (more HERE and HERE). The oceans drive the weather and are the main source of changing statistic values. Roger Pielke Sr. addressed this aspect only partly (July 11, 2005; HERE):

“Ocean heat content changes are the much more appropriate metric than a globally-averaged surface temperature when evaluating “global warming” in any case.”

Ocean input is much more relevant than this statement suggests, but is too complex to be outlined here any further. Nevertheless, we appreciate his statement highly, as he is one of the very few scientists who have given the ocean more weight. In his closing post Roger Pielke Sr. expressed his intention to “… spend more of my time on research papers.” We wish him well and all success.   



The climate definition by Roger Pielke Sr. in his essay concerning the
“AGU Statement on Climate Change”,
as published by Judith Curry on August 5, 2013.
HERE: http://judithcurry.com/2013/08/05/agu-statement-on-climate-change/
Posted: 07. August, 2013

Roger Pielke Sr is a dissenting voice on the panel that wrote the statement. His response to the “AGU Statement on Climate Change” (Adopted December 2003; Revised and Reaffirmed 2007, 2012, August 2013) was posted by Judith Curry on 5th August 2013 at: http://judithcurry.com/2013/08/05/
. In his view the Statement accepted by the Committee incompletely does and/or does not address at all a number of issues. As first point of six he addresses is the question:  
                          “1. What is the definition of climate and climate change?”,
which he subsequently describes as:

         Climate is defined here as the statistical description of all the elements in the climate system (including the atmosphere, ocean, land surface and cryosphere), including both the mean state and any variations over time.  

         Climate change is defined as a shift in the statistical description of climate.

A statistic is a statistic of the ‘element’ in question. To say climate is the “statistical description of all elements in the climate system” is circularity, obscure and explains nothing. The common explanation “climate is average (statistical) weather” is scientifically meaningless, if “weather” is not defined in the first place. Circumventing the problem “weather” by replacing it with indefinite “elements” (which can be several thousands) solves nothing. The collection, organization, analysis, interpretation and presentation of data (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Statistics ) from the atmosphere, ocean, land surface and cryosphere does neither represents: weather or climate.
Posted at: http://judithcurry.com/2013/08/05/agu-statement-on-climate-change/#comment-361136 ]

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Everything comes from water!!
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Ocean, give us your eternal power.

Drama: Faust II; Act 2, J. W. v. Goethe (1749-1832)  

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“Is the term ‚climate’ too unspecific for a fruitful discussion?”
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Failures of Meteorology!  Unable to Prevent Climate Change and World Wars? 
Oceans Make Climate!

online at: http://www.seaclimate.com/

Book details:
Author Dr. Arnd Bernaerts; Manufactured and published by:
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232 pages, about 150 figures.


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Dr. Arnd Bernaerts

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