Just a word on the words "weather" and "climate". Here science fails
Posted: 01 February 2011, by Arnd Bernaerts
This two words "weather" and "climate" originate in the layman sphere and are layman expression about observed, experienced, and expected conditions in the atmosphere. It can comprise one or several component, like temperature, clouds, precipitation and presumably up to two hundred or more classification, meaning, and explanation. As the life of everybody is very depended on weather and climatic conditions from childhood to death, both expressions have a great emotional component. Nothing is fixed, and the use may vary from one thought, or discussion, or day to another thought, discussion or day. This aspect is highlighted in the Glossary of the American Meteorological Society: "Weather is the state of the atmosphere, mainly with respect to its effects upon life and human activities", but without mentioning the personal component of each individual sufficiently. (More: Here)
That is fine and sufficient as long as this general expressions are kept in the layman’s sphere, but naïve and unprofessional if the words „weather“ and “climate“ are used by science without providing a meaningful and workable definition. A surprise, or a shame? The scientific community is not able or willing to provide proper definitions, but is merely using the layman’s meaning. In science climate is still defined as average weather, or statistical weather. As already mentioned ‘weather’ may comprise many dozen if not hundreds terms, meanings, and descriptions. Used as an scientific term “weather” is an empty phrase, and open ample room for speculation and misunderstanding. One condition alone (e.g. rain, wind force, temperature, cumulus clouds) is not: “the weather”. Neither can a combination of several condition, regardless how explained, e.g. in statistical numbers, be regarded as ‘weather’, but remain one or more single aspects of the weather. That applies simultaneously to ‘climate’. As long as it is not said what the meaning of weather is, ‘average (statistical) weather’, also ‘climate’ means likewise nothing, as the word (as term) is completely unspecific. (More: Here-PDF-1MB)
This nonsense has even found its way into the highest legal instrument on atmospheric matter, the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (FCCC, 1992), which neither defines “weather”, nor “climate”. Although “climate” is not defined, the word is used to title the Convention, and it is used to defined the following terms:
• Article 1, para. 2. “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.
• Article 1, para. 3. “Climate system” means the totality of the atmosphere, hydrosphere, biosphere and geosphere and their interactions.
That top the nonsense indicated above. It is rubbish pure when it is said (para 2): Climate change means a change of climate. It is in no way better when the definition of the ‘climate system’ (para 3) does not say anything more as: the interaction of nature. (More: Here)
The terminology on key terms used by science is meaningless and a scientific disgrace. Using layman’s expression in the public and political debate is irresponsible, as it may convey the impression that science knows what it talking about. It distracts the attention from issues that matter much more (see: HERE) Keep distance to such talking. Protest the misuses of layman’s terms. Regard with suspicion an academic discipline which is not able to define what it is talking about.
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