Received: 15 May 2014 – Accepted for review: 24 May 2014 – Discussion started: 10 Jun 2014
Abstract. Commonly, definitions of climate are endorsed where the external conditions are held constant. This paper argues that these definitions risk being empirically void because in reality the external conditions vary. As a consequence, analogous definitions for varying external conditions are explored with help of the recently developed theory of non-autonomous dynamical systems, and the similarities and differences between the cases of constant and varying external conditions are discussed. It is argued that there are analogous definitions for varying external conditions which are preferable to the definitions where the external conditions are held constant. In this context, a novel definition is proposed (namely, climate as the distribution over time under a regime of varying external conditions), which is argued to be promising.
How to cite: Werndl, C.: Definitions of climate and climate change under varying external conditions, Earth Syst. Dynam. Discuss., 5, 683–719, https://doi.org/10.5194/esdd-5-683-2014, 2014.