President Donald Trump considers himself an expert on many topics.
He’s bragged in the past about being a “stable genius,” for example, and in November he suggested that he has “high levels of intelligence,” knowing better than to believe what scientists in his own administration told him about climate change, per reporting from New York magazine.
So it shouldn’t be surprising to see Trump weigh in on the topic yet again, this time implying that extreme cold temperatures hitting our country this week is evidence that warnings of global climate change and the overall warming of our planet are overblown.
“In the beautiful Midwest, windchill temperatures are reaching minus 60 degrees, the coldest ever recorded,” Trump wrote in a tweet on Thursday evening. “What the hell is going on with Global Waming? Please come back fast, we need you!”
The coldest air in a generation will arrive in the Midwest tomorrow. Dozens of daily records will be smashed, and some lows could flirt with all-time records through Thursday AM. Check out these wind chills tomorrow AM. https://t.co/n3PhNOmYQ8 pic.twitter.com/f736rebvPb
— The Weather Channel (@weatherchannel) January 29, 2019
Is the weather that’s about to approach the Midwest a sign that the climate scientists have it all wrong? It’s not — and Twitter users far-and-wide were fast to correct Trump on his error (and not just his mistake in spelling warming as “waming”).
User @meatbirds, a self-described Wisconsinite, mentioned to Trump that weather and climate are not the same thing.
At least you didn't lie about the Midwest being beautiful, but once again, *weather is not climate.*
Wisconsin (we hate you here)
— 🍎✏ Johanna Volkova (@meatbirds) January 29, 2019
Indeed, weather is the change in temperatures and conditions you see from day-to-day, while climate are the patterns you would expect to see from season to season, year after year.
User David Slack (@slack2thefuture) also made the president aware that his tweet ignored fact-based evidence that climate change results in harsher weather conditions — stronger and more frequent hurricanes, more floodings, and yes, brutal winter storms.
Hi Mr. President. Happy to explain since you seem confused. As nearly every legitimate scientist in the world agrees, global climate changed caused by rising temperatures due to industrial emmissions results in more severe weather year-round — including harsher blizzards.
— David Slack (@slack2thefuture) January 29, 2019
A user from Australia, @vanbadham, pointed out that other parts of the world were experiencing terrifyingly high temperatures, citing 50 degree C temperatures in that nation’s summertime weather happening now (which translates to more than 120 degree F temperatures).
In Australia, our temperatures are hitting 50 degrees, fish are washing up dead by the million and Tasmania is on fire… you pig-ignorant, callous, narcissistic, wilfully deceitful lump of shit. https://t.co/1C0fQ5Hth6
— Van Badham (@vanbadham) January 29, 2019
Perhaps the most enlightening tweet came from a user named “A Science Enthusiast” (@aSciEnthusiast). In their tweet, they delved into the mechanics of why a polar vortex happens in the first place. It’s not that the world is getting colder, they pointed out, but rather that the cold air that exists elsewhere has shifted to the Midwest temporarily.
Glad you asked! The polar vortex is supposed to stay at the north pole but dwindling sea ice (from climate change) has caused the vortex to split in three places, and that's why it's cold down here. Polar vortex splits like this will become more common as climate change worsens.
— A Science Enthusiast 🚀 (@aSciEnthusiast) January 29, 2019
Jason Samenow, the weather editor for the Washington Post, explained how climate change actually creates the phenomenon in a piece he penned more than two years ago. Samenow cited a study back in 2016 that seems to confirm @aSciEnthusiast’s statement directed toward Trump, that loss of sea ice in the Arctic causes warming oceans to shift cold air temperatures southward.
Trump’s quick observation about temperatures being colder — in fact, the coldest they’ve been in generations — isn’t wrong. But his rationale for why they’re happening, and his insistence that global warming could actually make things better, is errant. As National Geographic pointed out in an article from a week ago, the world is still much hotter on average, even with the arctic air that’s hitting the U.S.
Global warming wouldn’t “fix” the cold snap affecting the Midwest this week — in actuality, it’s partly to blame for the mess in the first place, according to scientific consensus on the matter.