Existence of Climate Change Questioned by President Trump
Date: January 28th, 2019
Agency: Federal, White House
Explanation: Bias and Misrepresentation
In a tweet on January 28, 2019, President Trump suggested that recent cold weather in the U.S. disproves the existence of climate change. He wrote:
“In the beautiful Midwest, windchill temperatures are reaching minus 60 degrees, the coldest ever recorded. In coming days, expected to get even colder. People can’t last outside even for minutes. What the hell is going on with Global Waming? [sic] Please come back fast, we need you!”
The President made similar claims after cold weather events in November 2018 and early January 2019. On each occasion, scientists criticized the President’s statements, arguing that they confuse short-term weather patterns with longer-term changes in climate.
Update: On January 29, 2019, in an apparent response to President Trump’s statement, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) tweeted: “Winter storms don’t prove that global warming isn’t happening.” The tweet linked to an article, posted on NOAA’s Climate.gov website, titled “are record snowstorms proof that global warming isn’t happening?” The article answers that question with a clear “no” and states:
“Snowstorms require two things: moisture and freezing air temperatures. There are plenty of places where winter temperatures would have to rise by 10, 20, even 30 degrees Fahrenheit before it would stop snowing. Until then, snowstorms remain quite possible, and natural climate patterns and random variability will still lead to winters that are unusually cold and snowy in different locations.
. . .
Not only are severe snowstorms possible in a warming climate, they may even be more likely. According to the Third National Climate Assessment, there is some evidence that cold season storms in the Northern Hemisphere have become both more frequent and more intense since 1950. Extremely heavy snowstorms also increased in number during the last century in northern and eastern parts of the United States, although they have been less frequent since 2000.”