The scientific evidence for climate change is overwhelming. Not only do the vast majority of experts agree that humans are having an impact on the Earth's temperature, but we consistently live through extreme weather.
According to the World Meteorological Orginization, 2017 is set to be one of the three warmest years on record without an El Niño to bring temperatures even higher. The rise in temperature was largely responsible for the devastating hurricanes we saw in the Gulf and the raging wildfires in California.
Despite this, you often find people who refute science and claim that particularly cold winters are proof that climate change is a hoax. Today, that person is the President of the United States of America.
In the East, it could be the COLDEST New Year’s Eve on record. Perhaps we could use a little bit of that good old Global Warming that our Country, but not other countries, was going to pay TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS to protect against. Bundle up!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 29, 2017
President Donald Trump took to Twitter on Thursday to claim that Eastern America could see its "COLDEST New Year’s Eve on record." And that we need some "good old Global Warming that our Country, but not other countries, was going to pay TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS to protect against. Bundle up!"
The President is referencing weather reports that the East coast could be 20 degrees to 40 degrees colder than usual over New Year's.
The mistake the President is making is in comparing the temperature on a single day to decades of data that overwhelmingly suggests temperatures as a whole are on the rise. According to NASA, November 2017 was the third warmest November on record.
According to University of Georgia Dr. John Knox, daily or weekly weather patterns tell you nothing about trends as a whole. It's just too small of a sample size. WMAZ-Macon Meteorologist Matt Daniel summed up the problem with this comparison pretty well:
"The comment I dislike the most is when people talk about cold weather and people type 'So much for global warming...' Not really a joke to me. Also, it proves someone doesn't have the understanding of the definition of weather vs climate. You'll see people type that a lot in the next week or two on professional meteorologists' social media pages."
“It’s all in the long-term trends,” Dr. Gavin Schmidt, a climatologist at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, concurs.
Not to mention that according to Scientific America, climate change may bring harsher winters. According to one study, a weakening polar vortex, potentially the result of rapid warming and melting Arctic, could mean colder winters for the Western hemisphere.
President Trump has pulled the United States out of the Paris Climate Accord, which aimed to keep global temperature changes below a certain level. He's also opened vast swathes of protected land to fossil fuel exploitation.
Before entering office, he infamously claimed that climate change is a hoax invented by the Chinese to make American industry less competitive.
So, how did the Internet respond to President Trump's tweet? Not well.
Climate change deniers are essentially the same as war criminals. At some point in the future there will be international trials for people like you and Mr. Pruitt— UNITE & FIGHT (@stopthenutjob) December 29, 2017
This shows that Trump has a fundamental misunderstanding of Global Warming. Read a book, jeez!!— Brian Krassenstein🐬 (@krassenstein) December 29, 2017
It's an absolute embarrassment that we have you representing us to the world. They are all Laughing. One of the main causes of record weather is GLOBAL WARMING!— Brian Krassenstein🐬 (@krassenstein) December 29, 2017
Extreme temperatures are indicative of climate change, I think -/+— Kadi K D (@KKokouma) December 29, 2017
It's called climate change and it is real. Moron.— Cheryl casamento (@CasamentoCheryl) December 29, 2017
The president’s new global warming tweet is similar to arguments I often see on social media with stories about cold weather: the view that global warming, if it were happening, should be causing only warmer temperatures, not colder, because “warming” is in the term.— Micah Grimes (@MicahGrimes) December 29, 2017
Your burns are out-dated Mr. President, this wasn’t funny 10 years ago w Sen Inhofe tried it. It remains as scientifically inaccurate...— Justin Allegro (@allegrojustin) December 29, 2017
It’s global climate change. Let’s go with science on this one.— Itty Bitty Yiddies (@ittybittyyiddie) December 29, 2017
Climate Change causes both extremes of weather. It's real. I have a PhD in marine biology and oceanography and would be happy to answer any questions you may have.— BeckiiAalto 🏴🇬🇧🇪🇺🇫🇮🇺🇸 #FBPE (@BeckiiAalto) December 29, 2017
Well, that's a new one.