Climate is the continuation of the oceans by other means

What is climate?
March 8, 2007, 2:16 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Extract from: “Ocean Governance: Strategies and Approaches for the 21st Century”, Conference paper, Honolulu/Hawaii, 1994 (FN 1)


What is Climate? (FN 2)

A simple definition of climate is average weather (FN 3).  Surprisingly, the Convention on Climate Change (FN 4) has no definition of the term climate at all, but defines “climate change” and “climate system.” These terms contribute little to understanding the meaning of climate. The definition of “climate change”(FN 5) is flawed in two ways. First, it states that “’climate change’ means a change of climate” and, second, it compares two things that have nothing in common: atmospheric pollution by humans and statistical weather records. (FN 6) The definition of “climate system” (FN 7) is also nonsensical as its meaning boils down to “interactions of the natural system.” (FN 8 ) Climate is a matter of water (in the air, ice, soil, and ocean) and its thermal efficiency and heat contribution. The factors related to quantity, aggregate, and temperatures of water are the most influential ones. In every respect the sea governs the global natural commons. Thus, climate is the blueprint of the oceans (FN 9), or as the speaker before me, Dr. Hans-Jurgen Krock, put it: The ocean is the principal actor in the global climate and weather drama. (FN 10)  A simple definition could therefore be:


Climate is the continuation of the oceans by other means. (FN 11)

NOTE: The sea surface temperature is +15° Celsius (C). The average temperature of the atmosphere is -17°C, raising the overall difference between the two media to 32º Celsius. The thermal efficiency of a surface layer of the oceans of three meters depth is as high as the efficiency of the whole atmosphere. (Footnote 23 in the essay)

The oceans run the global climate system, while the continents do little more than slow down “climatic dynamics.” Land areas, in particular if dry, are anti-climate. A simple demonstration is the well known sea wind emerging only a few hours after sunset. Correspondingly, the oceans could have kept the climate and temperature stable after Krakatoa erupted in 1883 and reduced average global sun radiation by 10 percent over 3 years. (FN 12)  The basic factors for the development of the global climate are sketched in the sea on a time scale ranging from a few seconds to many hundreds of years. Thus, the oceans are like a magnifying glass for long-term tendencies.


FN 1: The full essay on ; or  at:

FN: 2; 7Actually, to Kenneth Marc, climate is a layman’s word not used professionally untilrecently. Cf. Kenneth F. Hare, The Vaulting of Intellectual Barriers: The MadisonThrust in Climatology,” Bulletin American Met. Society, 60 (1979): 1171-1174, and H.H. Lamb, The New Look of Climatology,” Nature, 223 (1969): 1209-1215.

FN: 3;   8J.T. Houghton, GJ. Jenkins, and JJ. Ephraums, (cds.), Climate Change – VieIPCCScientific Assessment (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990), p. xxxv (hereaftercited as Houghton, Climate Change}.. According to W. Scherer ct al., “Approach toGOOS,” WMO Bulletin, climate may also be defined as: “the synthesis of weatherconditions in a given area, characterized by long-term statistics (such as mean values,variances of the variables of the state of the atmosphere in the area.” Cf. for furtherclimate definitions: Landolt-Bornstein, Meteorology/Climatology, Vol.4, subvol.c, (Berlin:1987): 1-5.

FN: 4; 9 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, May 9, 1992 (UN Doc.A/AC 237/18 (Part It) Add.l), (hereafter cited as UN Framework); in 311.L.M. 849; in Robinson, (ed.), Agenda 21 & UNCED, Vol.3, pp. 1685-1713.

FN: 5; 10 Ibid., Article 1, para. 2: “Climate change” means a change of climate, which isattributed directly or indirectly to human activity that alters the composition of theglobal atmosphere and which is in addition to natural climate variability observed over comparable time periods.

FN: 6; 11The background of the “new” climate change definition follows the first WorldClimate Conference 1979 definition of climate change as “the difference between long term mean values of a climatic parameter or statistic, where the means is taken over a specified interval of time, usually a number of decades,” see W. John Maunder, Dictionary of Global Climate Change (London: Chapman & Hall, 1992), p. 34. Now “one long term mean value” was replaced by “a human activity that alters the atmosphere.” While the 1979 definition was clear but useless, the 1992 definition is nonsensical and ridiculous.

FN: 7;  12 Article 1, para. 3 of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, “Climate system” means the totality of the atmosphere, hydrosphere, biosphere, and geosphere, and their interactions.

FN: 8; 13 A. Bernaerts, “Climate Change,” Nature 360 (1992): 292. A. Bernaerts, “Warming up-Science or Climate,” in L.O.S. Lieder, Vol-5, No.5., Honolulu 1993, p. 6.

FN: 9;   14 Ibid.

FN: 10; 15 Cf. Victor D. Phillips, ct al., “Oceans – A Global Thermostat,” Sea Technology,(September 1992): 29-35. R.W. Stewart, The Role of the Oceans in Climate and Climate Change,” in K. Takeuchi and M. Yoshino, The Global Environment, (Berlin: Springer-Verlag, 1991), pp.118-126.

FN: 11; 16 A. Bernaerts, “Climate Change,” Nature 360 (1992): 292.

FN: 12; 17 A. Bernaerts, “Voraussetzungen fur den globalen Klimaschutz aus der Sicht einesNautikers und Juristen,” Heft 4, Freunde und Forderer dcs GKSS-Forschungszentrumse.V. (1992): 1-42. in English:   


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