Scientists Just Politely Offered To Help President Trump ‘Clear Up Any Confusion’ About Climate Change

“There is a wealth of comprehensive and accurate information on climate change available to you and your staff.”

The American Meteorological Society "stands ready" to help President Donald Trump and his staff understand how human-caused climate change is wreaking havoc on the environment and causing extreme weather worldwide. In a decidedly cordial letter sent to the Oval Office on Jan. 30, AMS Executive Director Keith L. Seitter said Trump's comments about climate change during a Jan. 28 interview "are not consistent with scientific observations from around the globe, nor with scientific conclusions based on these observations."

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In an ITV interview that aired on January 28, British journalist Piers Morgan asked Trump if he believed in climate change

"There is a cooling, and there's a heating," the President responded. "I mean, look, it used to not be 'climate change,' it used to be 'global warming.' That wasn't working too well because it was getting too cold all over the place. The ice caps were going to melt, they were going to be gone by now, but now they're setting records, OK? They're at a record level. There are so many things happening, Piers. I will tell you what I believe in. I believe in clean air, crystal clear, beautiful water, and having good cleanliness in all."

Unfortunately, human-caused climate change is very real, and scientist do tie it to extreme weather events including extreme cold. NASA reported 2017 was the second-hottest year on record, the six hottest years on record have occurred since 2010, and 17 of the hottest 18 years on record have occurred since 2001.

Meanwhile, if Trump used the term "ice cap" to refer to the ice sheets around Greenland and Antartica — as common parlance often does — those sheets are indeed at a "record level," but not a record high, as he seemingly implied. Instead, they're reaching record lows, FactCheck.org pointed out. NASA reported both sheets have declined in mass since 2002 and "have seen an acceleration of ice mass loss since 2009."

And according to a recent study published in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, sea ice north of Scandinavia and Russia is also melting, meaning warmer air is reaching the stratosphere and weakening the counter-clockwise airflow that keeps the polar vortex confined, thus making winters in the Northern hemisphere more severe.

"There is a wealth of comprehensive and accurate information on climate change available to you and your staff within government agencies, as well as from experts in academic institutions and other organizations," Seitter told the president in the letter.

Bernhard Staehl / Shutterstock


"The American Meteorological Society stands ready to provide assistance in connecting Executive Branch staff with that knowledge and expertise to ensure that you and your staff are working with credible and scientifically validated information as you navigate the many difficult policy areas impacted by the Earth's changing climate."

As The Hill notes, Trump previously voiced skepticism about global warming in 2012 when he referred to it as an invention of China "to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive" and then again in 2017 when he commented on the cold winter weather. And as BuzzFeed News notes — in reference to this AMS letter — Trump has yet to appoint a White House science adviser.

Read the letter in full below.

Dear President Trump,

In an interview with Piers Morgan on Britain's ITV News that aired Sunday, 28 January, you stated, among other comments: 

"There is a cooling, and there's a heating. I mean, look, it used to not be climate change, it used to be global warming. That wasn't working too well because it was getting too cold all over the place" 

Unfortunately, these and other climate-related comments in the interview are not consistent with scientific observations from around the globe, nor with scientific conclusions based on these observations. U.S Executive Branch agencies such as NASA and NOAA have been central to developing these observations and assessing their implications. This climate information provides a robust starting point for meaningful discussion of important policy issues employing the best available knowledge and understanding.

There is a wealth of comprehensive and accurate information on climate change available to you and your staff within government agencies, as well as from experts in academic institutions and other organizations. The American Meteorological Society stands ready to provide assistance in connecting Executive Branch staff with that knowledge and expertise to ensure that you and your staff are working with credible and scientifically validated information as you navigate the many difficult policy areas impacted by the Earth's changing climate.

Cover images via  Andrew Cline / Nicole Glass / Shutterstock.com

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