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The Term “Climate System” is an empty phrase – But Richard Lindzen uses the term!

The 2018 Annual GWPF Lecture: “Global Warming for the Two Cultures”
provides no clue

Post Friday 26th October 2018

It sounds though when a speaker announces:  “This lecture attempts to force the scientists in the audience to come to grips with the actual nature of the climate system”. Indeed one should wonder when someone is talking about the “actual nature of the climate system”, without telling in the first place, how he would like to define the term, as those commonly used are of little help. But let’s start with the recent lecture.

Definitions: IPCC, AR5, 2013, Glossary, p. 1450
As always, Richard Lindzen was blunt, when telling the 2018 Annual GWPF Lecture: “Global Warming for the Two Cultures”, that man-made climate change does not appear to be a serious problem.  The Professor (emeritus) of Meteorology for Massachusetts Institute of Technology says that much of accepted ‘politically correct’ knowledge is nonsense.
The lecture (55 min) is HERE. The text in PDF: HERE.

Indeed many aspects concerning the global warming issue could turn out to be nonsense. He indicated by saying:  “Of course, the climate system is driven by the sun, but even if the solar forcing were constant, the climate would still vary. In this respect, the climate system is no different from other natural systems.”

But here we have to start wondering how carelessly Prof. Lindzen is using the term “climate system”. In the beginning he talked about the actual nature of the climate system”, suddenly he assumes that “climate system is no different from other natural systems”. That sound great but is scientifically of no help. It is too superficial. How do “other natural systems” look like?   Would they indicate any distinction to a “climate system”? Hardly! Article 1 of the 1992 ‘UN Framework Convention on Climate Change,’ ( UNFCCC) says that:

“Climate system” means the totality of the atmosphere, hydrosphere, biosphere and geosphere and their interactions.

Would anyone object if someone would regard that as: “Natural system” means the totality of the atmosphere, hydrosphere, biosphere and geosphere and their interactions. According common definition: Nature is the phenomena of the physical world collectively, including plants, animals, the landscape, and other features and products of the earth. It seems difficult to detect a difference to a climate system.  However, both refer to the world of physics.

The problem with climate science is that they fail to understand that the term “climate” is a mere statistical tool, in short “Climate is average weather”, as still enshrined in a longer version:

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. (Source: IPCC, AR5, 2013,  Glossary,  p. 1450)

The sea is by far the biggest generator of vapor
That physical- interaction play a role is nowhere mentioned. The reference to “average weather” is still only statistic, and “surface variables such as temperature, precipitation and wind” is not weather, but mere, although important parts – of many dozen weather criteria. Assessing by “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”, has little chance to produce a useful and serious discussion.

Only by such negligence Prof. Lindzen could assume that his “description of the climate system contains nothing that is in the least controversial, and he expects that anyone with a scientific background will readily follow the description.”  Here is one of his examples that show what is wrong with such much too general approach:

1st statement: The system we are loking at consists in two turbulent fluids (the atmosphere and oceans) interacting with each other…

2nd statement: It is important to note that such a system will fluctuate with time scales ranging from seconds to millennia, even in the absence of an explicit forcing other than a steady sun. Much of the popular literature (on both sides of the climate debate) assumes that all changes must be driven by some external factor. Of course, the climate system is driven by the sun, but even if the solar forcing were constant, the climate would still vary.

First Remark: When mentioning that “The atmosphere and oceans interacting with each other…”it would be helpful to express clearly, that it happens due to water, which comes from the ocean, which governs the earth by a ratio of 1000:1.

Second Remark: The mentioned time scale up to millennia is only due to one turbulent fluid, namely the ocean, while the atmosphere without the ocean input would last for hardly more than a few weeks.

Third Remark: More than 70% of all sun radiation is received by the ocean, which has a higher storage capacity than the continents that makes the oceans to the driver of the global weather system (See last box below).

Further Reading: Ever closer to reality – Global warming caused by the oceans

Ditto – Ron Clutz (26th October 2018): Bill Gray: H20 is Climate Control Knob, not CO2


           A slowing down of the global ocean’s MOC is the likely cause ofmost of the global warming that has been observed since the latter part of the 19th century.15 I hypothesize that shorter multi-decadal changes in the MOC16 are responsible for the more recent global warming periods between 1910–1940 and 1975–1998 and the global warming hiatus periods between 1945–1975 and 2000–2013.
          Solar variations, sunspots, volcanic eruptions and cosmic ray changes are energy-wise too small to play a significant role in the large energy changes that occur during important multi-decadal and multi-century temperature changes. It is the Earth’s internal fluctuations that are the most important cause of climate and temperature change. These internal fluctuations are driven primarily by deep multi-decadal and multi-century ocean circulation changes, of which naturally varying upper-ocean salinity content is hypothesized to be the primary driving mechanism.
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Poor science plagues climate science!

Climate models are junk, if not primarily based on data from the ocean

Post: 03 September 2018

The greatest scientist of the last century, H.H. Lamb (1913-1997), felt that modeling was too uncritically. One reason was presumably that he started to make the first connections between sea-surface temperatures and the atmospheric circulation (The Independent, 1997). He was also the one who observed in 1969 that “Only thirty years ago climatology was generally regarded as the mere dry-as-dust bookkeeping end of meteorology (NATURE). It seems little has changed during the last 50 years. Actually it got much worst. Science used to define climate as ‘average weather over a period of 30 years versus the period from 1901 to 1930, but consider the term climate now “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.” (DETAILS HERE) This is poor science and makes climate science a joke. Even the most incomplete definition would require that the impact of the ocean be greatly emphasized (see the Fig. 1 & 2).

The tragic of the climate change debate is that climatology is not willing or able to the accept a basic notion by  Voltaire (1694 – 1778)

                “If you wish to converse with me, define your terms.”

Recently Tim Ball used this quote out of his observation that  “Explaining Global Warming to the Public is Impossible Because We Are Not Talking the Same Language” (WUWT, 23 Sept.2018) Although he touches the problem frequently (e.g. WUWT, 28 May 2018) he misses the crucial point to understand climate change and what human kind is contributing – the role of the oceans.

It is not too difficult to imagine why H.H. Lamb felt that climate modeling was too uncritically, as he was serious on the connections between sea-surface temperatures and the atmospheric circulation. By the time Lamb would have realized that ‘global climate’ [regardless of a definition] depends on the status of the sea –from top to bottom – to 95%+! But climatology works to 95%+ with data from the atmosphere, respectively ‘weather data’. Why is Tim Ball wondering that climate skeptics and mainstream climatology are not talking the same language, although both fail grossly when it comes to the ocean? The main division comes from believing in or being skeptical of climate models. Those produce scrap if not fed with ocean data, which at best exist only randomly.  Sceptics fail to make this their main argument.

Even the former director of the Royal Dutch Meteorological Institute, Henry Tennekes, takes a too narrow view (from: A Climate of Stage Angst) :

    • Climate models are quasi-deterministic and have to simulate daily circulation patterns for tens of years on end before average values can be found. The much more challenging problem of producing a theory of climate forecast skill is left by the wayside.

      The horrible predictability problems of turbulent flows then will descend on climate science with a vengeance.

Indeed it will not work if the focus is not the ocean. For climate models one need primarily ocean data. Tennekes himself was hardly aware what that actually means, when he wrote the essay: “Karl Popper and the accountability of numerical Weather forecasting” (in: Weather, Vol. 47, p.342-6, 1992):

  • “Popper’s interest in predictability…in meteorological terms, a perfect model of the atmosphere, initialized with perfect data from an observation network of infinitive resolution, and run on an infinitely powerful computer, should in principle produce a perfect forecast with an unlimited range of validity”.

Popper understands the problem of modeling perfectly. But if he restricts the problem to the atmosphere he is lost to forecast weather and climate over more than a few weeks. H. Tenneken hardly looks a little bit further, when he assesses:

“…..[those] that advocate the idea that the response of the real climate to radiative forcing is

adequately represented in climate models have an obligation to prove that they have not overlooked a single nonlinear, possiblychaotic feedback mechanism that Nature itself    employs.”

Nature does not overlook anything. Nature is driven by water and energy, both of which is up to one-thousand times more relevant as those in

the atmosphere, at least if talking about a longer period of time. It is high time to ensure that any climate definition or climate models put the oceans first.

Talking about climate change would become easier and raise the chance to understand, when and why man has change climate during the last 100 years – for example – by global cooling from 1940 to the mid-1970s, as indicated in the above Figure ‘ocean-temperature’ (see .

What happened when World War II commenced on 1st September 1939. A global cooling
started from winter 19391940 lasting to the mid-1970s.

If the reason was the war at sea it would prove that man can
change climate in a short period of time of few months or years!