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. Read the rest of the entry
The UNFCCC does not define ‘climate’ at all, while
WMO says: 'climate' is average weather.
This website will provide information and ask, does science know what climate is?

Reference links :
How Spitsbergen Heats the World
NEW 2009


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


The American Meteorology Society (AMS) is a heavy weight in the field of atmospheric science. So it should not come as too much a surprise that their Glossary[1] is a heavy weight as well, unfortunately only with regard to the number of terms presented, namely ca. 12’000 terms[2], and the number of names acknowledged for having contributed, circa 300 at least[3]. The reader will quickly realize that the Glossary is extreme weak when it comes to the three central terms in the field of atmospheric science: Weather, Climate, and Climate Change. Each term as understood by AMS will be discussed in the following.

WEATHER: One can only wonder that AMS publishes a comprehensive Glossary of Meteorology with the claim that “it should be the authoritative source for definitions of meteorological terms for many years to come”, by coming up with an explanation for weather saying it is: “the state of the atmosphere”, which can be found as well in other US Glossaries, for example: EPA and NASA[4]. This seems not being enough as a reasonable scientific term, as will be elaborated, whereby it should be kept in mind that: “Meteorology is the scientific study of the atmosphere that focuses on weather processes” [5] .

The term weather as explained by

the American Meteorology Society


Weather - The state of the atmosphere, mainly with respect to its effects upon life and human activities.






__Does this explanation makes any sense?

__Does the state of the atmosphere have no effect on the Arctic sea ice, the Amazon forest, on clouds, etc, etc.?

__The Glossary says: “Atmosphere is: A gaseous envelope gravitationally bound to a celestial body”, so that it seems reasonable to ask how one can anticipate that weather is the ‘state of the atmosphere’?

__Why avoids the Glossary to explain ‘weather’ in relation with ‘weather processes’ as considered the task of meteorology (see. FN5)

As distinguished from climate, weather consists of the short-term (minutes to days) variations in the atmosphere.



__What means here ‘distinguished from Climate’, when climate is defined (see below) as: “The slowly varying aspects of the atmosphere–hydrosphere–land surface system.”

__How can a Glossary say in one sentence:

  • Weather is the state of the atmosphere, and in the next sentence:
  • Weather consists of variation in the atmosphere?

Popularly, weather is thought of in terms of temperatures, humidity, precipitations, cloudiness, visibility, and wind.



__What is meant with ‘popularly’? The Glossary explains the term weather as any laymen understands it?

__Are the enumerated six subject already fully describing the ‘state of the atmosphere’ as required only few lines earlier, and indicated in the subsequent text whereby ‘present weather table consist of 100 possible conditions’?

Listed weather types include tornado, waterspout, funnel cloud, thunderstorm and severe storm, liquid precipitation (drizzle, rain, rain showers), freezing precipitation (freezing drizzle, freezing rain), and frozen precipitation (snow, snow pellets, snow grains, hail, ice pellets, ice crystals).


__ Is the Glossary consequent if it lists ‘weather types’, although it said earlier that weather is the status of atmosphere, defined as “a gaseous envelope”?

__Can weather types define: Weather?

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


__Should term weather is used if it is difficult to define a laymen’s term in a scientific manner?


Seven Examples from AMS’s Glossary concerning the term “Weather”?


( 1)weather advisory—Meteorological information issued when actual or expected weather conditions do not constitute a serious hazard but may cause inconvenience or concern.



The reader is kindly advised to consider the inconsequent reasoning, which derives from claiming that weather is the state of the atmosphere, which is not necessarily reflected in the given examples.

(2) weather analysis—See analysis

(3) weather forecast—An assessment of the future state of the atmosphere with respect to precipitation, cloud, winds, and temperature..


(4) weather forecaster—A person who predicts the weather.

(5) weather modification—(Also called weather control.) In general, any effort to alter artificially the natural phenomena of the atmosphere..

(6) weather observation—In general, an evaluation of one or more meteorological elements that describe the state of the atmosphere either at the earth's surface or aloft.

(7) weather service—The provision of weather forecasts, warnings about hazardous conditions, and the collection, quality control, verification, archiving, and dissemination of hydrometeorological data and products.

CLIMATE: It should be noted that the AMS’s Glossary seems trying to avoid to indicate any interrelation between ‘weather’ and ‘climate’, although there is only physical-dynamical process, regardless whether short or long, or how it is named, e.g. ‘state of the atmosphere’, weather, climate. However, it should be at least acknowledged that the Glossary is coming up with an explanation for climate, while the UNFCCC[6] failed to do so.

The term climate as explained by

the American Meteorology Society


climate —The slowly varying aspects of the atmosphere–hydrosphere–land surface system.


WIC: Does this explain anything?

WIC: What is –for example - a slowly varying hydrosphere aspect?

WIC: Is the building of a highway: climate?

WIC: Since when are ‘slowly varying aspects’ in the natural commons: Climate?

WIC: Why does the Glossary avoid to make any reference to: ‘the state of the atmosphere’, respectively weather?

WIC: Is this text more than plain nonsense?

It is typically characterized in terms of suitable averages of the climate system*) over periods of a month or more, taking into consideration the variability in time of these averaged quantities.

Climatic classifications include the spatial variation. …(not reproduced)





WIC: Is climate ‘varying aspect’, or ‘average’?

WIC: What is typical?

WIC: Who defines (selects, determines) typical?

WIC: What is suitable?

WIC: Who defines (selects, determines) suitable?

WIC: What is a climate average?

WIC: Who defines (selects, determines) a ‘climate average’?

*) 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.

WIC: Does not the global natural system also consist of the

__ atmosphere, hydrosphere, lithosphere, and biosphere, __determining the earth's short and long term weather

__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 weather system.

CLIMATE CHANGE: It should be noted how much the AMS’s definition (following box) is different from the ‘official’ by the UNFCCC which says that:

  • "Climate change" means a change of climate, which is attributed directly or indirectly to human activity that alters the composition of the global atmosphere and which is in addition to natural climate variability observed over comparable time periods.

The term climate change as explained by the American Meteorology Society


climate change —(Also called climatic change.) Any systematic change in the long-term statistics of climate elements

WIC: What is a systematic change?

WIC: What are climate elements?

WIC: Who determines what are climate elements?

WIC: How would the following reading sound?

__climate change is any systematic change in the long-term statistics of slowly varying aspects of the atmosphere–hydrosphere–land surface system’s elements. .

(such as temperature, pressure, or winds) sustained over several decades or longer.

Climate change may be due to natural external forcings, such as changes in solar emission or slow changes in the earth's orbital elements; natural internal processes of the climate system; or anthropogenic forcing.


WIC: Did not the Glossary earlier said, that ‘The “present weather” table consists of 100 possible conditions’.

WIC: Is ‘such’, or the selection of three conditions a reasonable explanation?

WIC: Is ‘climate change’ not an insufficient generalization ( or misleading) of a precise description of short or long-term weather changes (respectively, for example, physical dynamics within the status of the atmosphere) - Oct.2007- Amendments and changes reserved



[2] See the Introduction (Home) saying: This is the electronic version of the second edition of the Glossary with more than 12,000 terms.

[3] The ‘Acknowledgment’ starts with the paragraph: The development of the second edition of the Glossary of Meteorology is the combined efforts of hundreds of individuals, the majority of whom have volunteered their time and wisdom over a multiyear period in support of this project.

[4] See: A_112 and A_113 on this website;

[5] Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia says: Meteorology (from Greek: μετέωρον, meteoron, "high in the sky"; and λόγος, logos, "knowledge") is the scientific study of the atmosphere that focuses on weather processes and forecasting. See:

[6] United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, 1992.


Essay 2010
Is the term ‚climate’ too unspecific?
Pages 10

Chronicle Archive
Talk About Topics
Click for archive 2012
Click for archive 2011
Click for archive 2010
Click for archive 2009
Click for archive 2008
Click for archive 2007

Want to comment?
Email us!

Previous archives Year 2010
Year 2009

Essays from 1992 to 1997 on CLIMATE
by Dr. Arnd Bernaerts
“Legal Means for Understanding the Marine and climatic Change Issue”,
p.24 presented at the 28th Annual Conf. of the Law of the Sea Institute, Honolulu

“Conditions for the protection of the global climate”,
p.53 presented at GKSS Research Center Geesthacht


Black Sea-Model Case
--Paper, p.53
--Conf-Paper, p. 6


Four short texts
1994 Moscow

1994 LOS

1993 LOS

1992 Nature

Note to User
Kindly indicate:
as source
Terms & Conditions