Just as spring means the flowers bloom, winter means Donald Trump’s climate denial blossoms.
On Thursday, President Trump posted a tweet suggesting that the current cold snap across the United States disproves evidence of climate change.
Of course, it’s called “global” warming for a reason — as this map shows, even though it’s cold here, it’s unusually warm pretty much everywhere else in the world.
The Washington Post’s Capital Weather Gang noted shortly before Trump posted his tweet that the United States’ recent bout of cold weather may be taken out of context to “irresponsibly” undermine the evidence about global warming.
It’s also called “climate” change for a reason — the short-term weather fluctuations will always be much larger than the slow rise in average annual mobile temperatures. Indeed, Climate Nexus had just put together this chart showing that in the past 365 days the United States saw 3.03 times as many high temperature records as low temperature ones, whereas if the climate weren’t warming, we’d expect a 1 to 1 ratio.
The main difference now is that the president is repeating his claims even after his own White House approved a massive climate report that debunked everything Trump wrote on Thursday.
Last month, The Trump administration released the congressionally mandated National Climate Assessment (NCA), the “authoritative assessment of the science of climate change, with a focus on the United States,” as the 600-page report states.
The NCA is not just the work of scientists from 13 federal agencies peer-reviewed by the National Academy of Sciences. The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) itself also oversaw the final review and clearance process of the report.
As the report explains, “Based on extensive evidence… it is extremely likely that human activities, especially emissions of greenhouse gases, are the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century” (emphasis in original). “For the warming over the last century, there is no convincing alternative explanation supported by the extant of the observational evidence.”
The report’s Executive Summary notes, “Heatwaves have become more frequent in the United States since the 1960s, while extreme cold temperatures and cold waves are less frequent (emphasis in original).
Finally, the report 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 extratropical transient storm systems. It is an important component of the intraseasonal climate variability in the extratropics and can cause long-lived weather conditions such as cold spells in winter and heat waves in summer.”