Utah doctor's response to Trump tweet on climate change goes viral

Utah doctor's response to Trump tweet goes viral (Photo: KUTV)

(KUTV) - President Trump's Thursday tweet about how "we could use a little bit of that good old Global Warming [sic]" set off a not-uncommon firestorm on social media.

One response by University of Utah Doctor identified only as "Dr. K Nicoll, Ph.D., University of Utah" went viral on Facebook with 13,222 shares at the time this article was written.

As a scientist and educator, I want to clearly communicate that this tweet is misinformed and conveys incorrect content. To clarify:

Some basic definitions. Weather is the day-to-day state of the atmosphere and its short-term variation in minutes to weeks. People generally think of weather as the combination of temperature, humidity, precipitation, cloudiness, visibility, and wind. Climate is the weather of a place location, averaged over a period of time, often over a 30 year period. The tweeter confuses weather and climate, which are not the same.
For assessing climate patterns, I recommend the NOAA summaries and monthly maps that they compile for the USA and the globe. Here is the link to their great website. You can check out the December and January temperatures, for example by year.
Summaries of satellite temperature data and direct measurements in the boundary level of our atmosphere do indicate a general warming trend -- overall. See the primary sources in the link above.
The coldest New Years Eve on record would, in fact, vary by location. It is necessary to specify the location. In NYC, the new year 1917 happened to be quite cold, ringing in with a temperature of around 1 deg F at the Ball Drop ceremony. We have records that go back further in time. Most meteorologists think that this year, NYC will experience an "Arctic Blast" that will bring cool air into NYC, rendering temps cooler than average this New Years weekend 2017-2018. This cooling is a weather event that will likely not persist for long. The overall climate trend has been warmer conditions in NYC since the 1960s. With this forecast for the "Arctic Blast", one should expect cold temps in the NE USA, and dress warmly for the celebrations in Times Square this weekend.
The cost of global warming is already expensive. We are paying it, in many ways. ( I do not have enough time or space to be more specific here.)

Dr. Nicoll cites a related story from Vox.com.

I am a University Professor who teaches about Earth Environments and Global Change. Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) is happening and threatens our sustainability, and we can and should work together to mitigate the effects. *Please Repost* this message to help broadcast the message widely. The world needs better and accurate science messaging. Thank you

-- Dr. K. Nicoll, Ph.D. University of Utah."


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