Roger Pielke Sr. and Climate Definition
- A field of jargon words and misuse of definitions –
-- Rubbish terms: Climate and Climate system --
Roger Pielke Sr.
concerning “AGU Statement on Climate Change”;
by Dr. Arnd Bernaerts
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)
“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 “statistics”. “Weather” consists of many dozen components (AMS-Glossary), which can be described in many hundred ways (see HERE). The statistics 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 statistics 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.
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)
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.
Posted: 07. August,
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/agu-statement-on-climate-change/.
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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