Trump just hinted that cold weather disproves global warming. Here’s why he’s wrong
Trump dropped the hint in this tweet published Wednesday evening:
The tweet comes as record-breaking cold sets in on much of the northeast U.S., with New York City issuing an extreme cold weather alert and Boston bracing for what might be its coldest Thanksgiving on record.
It also comes less than a year after Trump shared a similar observation:
So why then do scientists worry about global warming when it’s cold out?
The answer lies in the fact that weather and climate aren’t the same thing.
Weather, as the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) points out, is what you experience when you step outside, and it can change quickly from one moment to the next.
For example, it might be snowing in the morning but could rain in the afternoon because of an increase in air temperature.
Climate, on the other hand, concerns weather patterns over a long period of time, measured using averages of temperature, humidity, sunshine, precipitation, fog and other factors. Climate changes more slowly, over a long period of time.
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According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, “Even though the planet is getting warmer, cold weather still happens in winter or at very high elevations or high latitudes year-round.”
Peter Frumhoff, chief climate scientist at the Union of Concerned Scientists, told CNN: “It’s like saying, ‘If everyone around me is wealthy, then poverty is not a problem.'”
According to the European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service, 16 of the 17 warmest years on record have been in this century. 2016 was the hottest year on record, followed by 2017 and 2015.
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