The letter was sent in the wake of Trump’s extraordinary statements concerning climate change in his interview Sunday with British journalist Piers Morgan. The president insisted that the polar ice caps were “going to be gone by now” due to global warming. Instead, they’re “setting records,” he said. They are, in fact, setting records — for melting rates, according to data tracked by his own federal agencies.
Trump also insisted that no one uses the phrase “global warming” any longer because “it was getting too cold all over the place.” The last four years have been the hottest on record, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association. And there hasn’t been a cooler-than-average year since 1976, according to more than 135 years of records kept by NASA and NOAA.
“Unfortunately,” the AMS letter to Trump states, “these and other climate-related comments in the interview [by you] are not consistent with scientific observations from around the globe — nor with scientific conclusions based on these observations.”
The letter, written by AMS Executive Director Keith Seitter, points out that the president’s own “U.S. Executive Branch agencies such as NASA and NOAA have been central to developing these observations and assessing their implications” — and the AMS offers to put Trump and his staff in touch with that expertise.
The nonprofit and nonpartisan AMS, founded in 1919, is the largest and preeminent organization of weather and climate scientists in the nation. It considers climate change one of the “most pressing” issues confronting the world.
Several other scientists criticized Trump’s statements after the ITV interview with Morgan.
“Glaciers and ice caps are globally continuing to melt at extreme rate,” Dr. Michael Zemp, director of the World Glacier Monitoring Service, told Reuters. He called any implication that ice caps are increasing in size “simply wrong.” Or maybe the president was “referring to a different planet,” Zemp quipped.
An AMS post on the organization’s website also discussed the president’s remark about “global warming” switching to the term “climate change.” In fact, climate change has been used as far back as the early 20th century to refer to events such as the Ice Age.
“Obviously, the term still applies,” notes the post quoting Bob Henson of the Weather Underground Category 6 blog. “So does ‘global warming.’ In 2018 already, “global warming” is in the title of several scientific papers accepted to AMS journals,” notes the blog.
Trump recently pointed to a winter cold snap on the East Coast as disproving climate change, apparently confusing climate — long-term trends — and weather, which varies from day to day.
Trump has also called climate change a Chinese hoax.