Quoting from the the manual:
This parameter is an exception in that it does not specify a time to wait before starting a new local checkpoint; rather, it is used to ensure that local checkpoints are not performed in a cluster where relatively few updates are taking place. In most clusters with high update rates, it is likely that a new local checkpoint is started immediately after the previous one has been completed.
The size of all write operations executed since the start of the previous local checkpoints is added. This parameter is also exceptional in that it is specified as the base-2 logarithm of the number of 4-byte words, so that the default value 20 means 4MB (4 × 220) of write operations, 21 would mean 8MB, and so on up to a maximum value of 31, which equates to 8GB of write operations.
Any suggestions for taking this definition down to planet Earth?