President Donald Trump, in an interview with British broadcaster Piers Morgan at the World Economic Forum in Davos on Sunday, falsely claimed that the polar ice caps, which have been melting at historic rates, were in fact “setting records.”
“Do you believe in climate change,” Morgan asked Trump. “Do you think it exists?”
“The ice caps were going to melt, they were going to be gone by now, but they’re setting records, OK? They’re at a record level,” Trump said.
“There is a cooling, and there’s a heating,” Trump added. “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.”
Abnormally mild temperatures in the Arctic help explain the record low sea ice extent, now trailing last year’s record low for the date by 300,000 km2! pic.twitter.com/AJhy9rI6tj
— Kees van der Leun (@Sustainable2050) January 31, 2018
Last year, NASA found that “Arctic sea ice appears to have reached on March 7 a record low wintertime maximum extent.”
The same NASA study found that “on March 3 sea ice around Antarctica hit its lowest extent ever recorded by satellites at the end of summer in the Southern Hemisphere, a surprising turn of events after decades of moderate sea ice expansion.”
The American Meteorological Society (AMS) called out Trump’s factually incorrect statements about climate change and polar ice caps in a letter sent to the White House addressed to Trump.
“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,” wrote Keith L. Seitter, executive director of the AMS. “U.S Executive Branch agencies such as NASA and NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) 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.”
Seitter also reminded the president in his letter that 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,” Seitter wrote.