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

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


Reference links:






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     By Dr. Arnd Bernaerts  

Silly? Very Silly?? Naive???
„Climate“defined by IPCC
Posted by Dr. Arnd Bernaerts, 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.    

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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!!
Everything is maintained through water!
Ocean, give us your eternal power.

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

Further related posts at: www.whatisclimate.com:

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


 Published 2012
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:
Books on Demand GmbH, Norderstedt ; ISBN 978-3-8448-1284-8

232 pages, about 150 figures.


About the author
Dr. Arnd Bernaerts

New February 2015

Offshore Wind-parks and mild Winters.
Contribution from Ships, Fishery, Windparks etc.
Online - HERE

How man makes climate!
A few examples in 

8 PPT/PDF lectures - 2013

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Three Extreme Winter 1939/40, 1940/41 & 1941/42 Man Made
Due to Naval Warfare

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Only four months needed for a man made extreme winter 1939/40?
The naval war share – A proof in three steps!


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Cold Pole over Skagerrak  Winter 1940/41.
Occupation of Norway contribute to extreme winter.

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Worst weather forecast ever finished Blitzkrieg on 5th December 1941!
How Hitler shot himself in the foot! Failure of meteorology - a boon to mankind!

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3rd Extreme War Winter 1941/42 was predictable! Naval war caused weather that stopped Wehrmacht to reach Moscow !

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Two World Wars! Two Climate Changes!
The Role of Naval Warfare!

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Did Naval War in the Pacific 
contribute to climate change?
PDO shift 1943/46 & Japan ’s record temperatures 1945. 

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Arctic Warming 1919-1939. Did Four Years Naval war Started it?

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