President Donald Trump drew eye rolls from across the scientific community this week when he suggested that climate change was a hoax because it happened to be cold outside.
“In the East, it could be the COLDEST New Year’s Eve on record,” Trump wrote. “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!”
The Weather Channel decided that it couldn’t let this particular Trump tweet stand, which is why it has posted a thorough debunking that calls out the president for being “wrong again” and for overall scientific illiteracy.
1) There is a difference between #weather and #climate.
2) Short-term #cold snaps will continue to occur in a warming climate.
3) 2017 will likely be a top three warmest year on record for the globe.
(Graphic: Univ. of Maine – Climate Change Institute) https://t.co/kzuugeXi80 pic.twitter.com/gueOsp4yvu
— The Weather Channel (@weatherchannel) December 29, 2017
The biggest error in the president’s logic, notes the Weather Channel, is that he doesn’t seem to understand the difference between the weather and the climate as a whole.
“NASA makes this distinction: ‘weather is what conditions of the atmosphere are over a short period of time, and climate is how the atmosphere ‘behaves’ over relatively long periods of time,” the Weather Channel explains. “Dr. Marshall Shepherd, director of the University of Georgia’s atmospheric sciences program and former president of the American Meteorological Society, has said that ‘weather is your mood; climate is your personality,’ meaning a single weather event like a heat wave cannot be linked to climate, but long-term trends are better indicators of a changing climate.”
In other words, it’s entirely possible for there to be cold weather on a warming planet, even as the Earth’s overall temperature rises.