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Climate – A never ending Story?

Never for layman! – For science it should soon!

Posted 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 politicians 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. below).

  • Definitely 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. below).

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 and 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:

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 (AMS et al.-letter) 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 (AB-letter), 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“ has 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.