“In the beautiful Midwest, windchill temperatures are reaching minus 60 degrees, the coldest ever recorded. In coming days, expected to get even colder. People can’t last outside even for minutes. What the hell is going on with Global Waming? [sic] Please come back fast, we need you!“ – President Trump tweeted on January 28th.
It’s unclear whether President Trump, time and time again, publishes inane (and typo-laden) tweets about global warming because he really believes what he is writing or if he simply can’t resist his troll-like impulses to deny any issue that might be considered “liberal” (though science is not a partisan phenomenon). Neither explanation is particularly presidential but that’s beside the point. Broadcasting climate denial to the world does a major disservice to a very real issue that has deadly consequences. Just this week, the polar vortex hovering over the Midwest has so far claimed eight lives.
Following Trump’s stubbornly uneducated climate tweets sometimes leaves me wondering if I’m living in an alternate universe — how can something as obvious as global warming escape his comprehension? Am I the one that is missing something major here?
For those of you who also need a little reassurance that global warming is indeed really real despite our President’s tweets, here are three tangible things that you can cling to this week:
NOAA Reminds Us Climate is Not Interchangeable With Weather
Global warming doesn’t necessarily mean that the weather is going to be hot in every locality of the world at any given time.
Instead, global warming describes overall shifts in climate rather than isolated weather forecasts. We’re seeing this play out in the increasing frequency of extreme weather incidents like the polar vortex that has dipped down into the Midwest. “Winter storms don’t prove that global warming isn’t happening,” tweeted out the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The NOAA kindly attached an illustration simple enough for a child to grasp the concept that the two phenomena are not mutually exclusive.
Leonardo DiCaprio’s Version of the Ten-Year Challenge
If the existence of global warming is still hard to wrap your head around from today’s vantage, look to last week’s “100-year challenge” Instagram post from the avid environmental activist Leonardo DiCaprio.
The two photos, taken from the same spot in the Arctic, demonstrate how warm the planet has become. In the first, we barely see the peaks of a mountain peeking over a massive expanse of glacier. The second photo shows how much mountain we can see today: all of it, with no glacier in sight. It’s as if we’re currently living in The Upside Down.
It’s Dangerously Hot and Dry AF in Australia
While the United States has been contending with the polar vortex, Australia has been subject to record hot temperatures and drought. Again, while isolated hot temperatures don’t necessarily indicate that global warming is happening, the continent has never seen weather so extreme. It has become an unlivable ecosystem for many of Australia’s native species.
Some regions saw temperatures as high as 121 degrees Fahrenheit in this month’s heat wave, while extreme drought has led to the death of nearly 100 wild horses in the outback. Dozens of horses were found already dead in a bone-dry watering hole; the remaining were mercifully shot and killed by rangers along with thousands of camels. Millions of fish have also washed up dead on the shores of the Murray Darling River Basin, and thousands of bats fell to their deaths from their perches earlier this month, unable to handle the high temperatures. “With climate change well and truly upon us, we expect these emergencies to occur with increasing frequency and nobody is truly prepared and resourced to respond to them,” said a local authority.
The United States has experienced unprecedented heat waves in the recent past too — remember the 2017 heat wave in Arizona that inspired some people to drive with oven mitts? Let’s hope it doesn’t take deadlier ones to signal to the President that global warming is, in fact, real.