U.S. government climate scientists took the unprecedented step of tweeting out a rebuttal to President Donald Trump’s recent tweets implying that winter storms and cold weather in the U.S. somehow disprove global warming.
“Large parts of the Country are suffering from tremendous amounts of snow and near record setting cold,” Trump tweeted out last week. “Wouldn’t be bad to have a little of that good old fashioned Global Warming right now!”
On Monday evening, he tweeted again: “What the hell is going on with Global Waming? [sic] Please come back fast, we need you!”
And now, with government staffers back to work after a 35-day-long partial government shutdown, it appears even the administration’s own scientists have had enough of this long-debunked denial of climate science.
On Tuesday morning, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Climate.gov twitter account tweeted out that “Winter storms don’t prove that global warming isn’t happening.” Accompanying this was a cartoon of a kettle releasing cloud-forming moisture from the ocean.
— NOAA Climate.gov (@NOAAClimate) January 29, 2019
Global warming means higher ocean temperatures and thus more moisture in the air, which then gets swept into major storms, resulting in greater precipitation. This time of year that means more intense winter storms.
Of course, it’s called “global” warming for a reason — as this map shows, even though it’s very cold in the Midwest, it’s unusually warm in a great many other places, including Alaska.
The notion that winter storms or cold weather in this country somehow disproves global warming has been a myth that Trump has been pushing for many years.
But now Trump is president, and even his own White House approved the congressionally mandated National Climate Assessment (NCA), which also debunks the myth in detail.
The NCA explains the growing scientific evidence that even as the world warms, we will still see extended regional cold spells “associated with persistent, slow-moving high pressure systems that obstruct the prevailing westerly winds in the middle and high latitudes and the normal eastward progress” of major storm systems.
This stalling of weather patterns, it states, “can cause long-lived weather conditions such as cold spells in winter and heat waves in summer.”
With his tweets — pleading “Please come back fast, we need you!” — Trump’s efforts to trivialize global warming are especially irresponsible.
After all, his own scientists project that if his efforts to undermine national and global climate action prove successful, the country will face catastrophic impacts, from multi-feet sea level rise to dust-bowl level droughts, and much more extreme weather.
That’s why it’s so important that NOAA and other agencies keep focusing their efforts on explaining climate science to the public — even when it means debunking the president himself.