IPCC tricks with terminology
Post: 01 November 2018
Any reasonable academic would agree that unequivocal terminology matters. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) seems no exception as their 55 pages long Glossary (IPCC SR1.5- 2019) covers several hundred explanations, the equivalent of the American Meteorology Society (AMS) covers more than 10’000 terms.
But if it comes to the central terms in the climate change debate, Climate & Global Warming, the terminology is a shame. The former subject is a lasting story since the debate started in the 1970/80s, the warming issues has a shorter history and substantially changed very recently. Firstly a few words on the term: climate.
Hubert Horace Lamb (1913 – 1997) founder of the School of Environmental Sciences at the University of East Anglia experienced ‘climatology’ as the mere dry-as-dust bookkeeping end of meteorology up to the 1950 (NATURE, 1992), The rule was simple: “Climate is the average weather”. It was a layman term since ancient times, And what has changed? The text is longer with little substance, as the IPCC-Glossary is silent on the meaning of ‘weather’. IPCC (and WMO) tell us, that they want to handle weather as “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”. And it gets worst when the last sentence of their definition states that “Climate in a wider sense is the state, including a statistical description, of the climate system.” It is absolute meaningless for any scientific work or as basis for any discussion with the general public and politicians. According the AMS-Glossary ‘weather’ presumably consists of up to several hundred parameters or descriptions. More details HERE and HERE.The current AMS explanation is as it follows (bold and color RED added):
weather [ http://glossary.ametsoc.org/wiki/Weather ]
- The state of the atmosphere, mainly with respect to its effects upon life and human activities.
As distinguished from climate, weather consists of the short-term (minutes to days) variations in the atmosphere. Popularly, weather is thought of in terms of temperature, humidity, precipitation, cloudiness, visibility, and wind.
- As used in the taking of surface weather observations, a category of individual and combined atmospheric phenomena that must be drawn upon to describe the local atmospheric activity a the time of observation.
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). These elements, with the exception of the first three, are denoted by a letter code in the observation. With the METAR code, reporting weather also includes an intensity qualifier (light, moderate, or heavy) or proximity qualifier. The weather used in synoptic weather observations and marine weather observations is reported in two categories, “present weather” and “past weather.” The “present weather” table consists of 100 possible conditions, with 10 possibilities for “past weather”; both are encoded numerically. Another method, which has the advantage of being independent of language, is the recording of weather types using symbols. There are 100 symbols that identify with the numeric codes of the synoptic observation.
- To undergo change due to exposure to the atmosphere.