Guys, did you hear that a "global warming" expedition got trapped in ice and also it's been pretty cold recently? Yes, you did, because both stories have been used as a rationale to deny the existence of climate change, because people are disingenuous or misinformed or both. But, fine, let's explain it to them one more time.
This very expensive GLOBAL WARMING bullshit has got to stop. Our planet is freezing, record low temps,and our GW scientists are stuck in ice— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 2, 2014
For example, Donald Trump! Trump, a former reality television star, tweeted on Thursday morning that global warming is "bullshit" for the reasons you can see at right. Trump's previous environmental activism has been mostly focused on being mad at wind turbines that are interfering with a golf course he wants to build. Suffice it to say his foray into the broader sphere of environmental science has been equally dumb.
But he's not alone. Deniers of global warming like Breitbert.com and Newsmax and a host on Fox Business and the Drudge Report have seized on the two occurrences to prove their point, or bolster their point, or just insult their opponents, whichever. Breitbart's John Hayward even wrote a poem about the ship, which was in the Antarctic to investigate sea ice levels. "The water started getting cold / The frozen ship was stuck / Their theories called for melting ice / But they were out of luck... yes, they were out of luck…" Lol, etc.
The Guardian explains why this argument is incorrect. The Arctic, where sea ice melt has rapidly accelerated in recent years, is very different than ice in the Antarctic. There's no land, no continent in the Arctic, just ocean, which leads to a different pattern of melt than on Earth's southern pole. As the University of Tasmania's Tony Press told the paper, "[Antarctica] is losing continental ice while sea ice has been increasing by about 1% a decade." This has been known for a long time. Oh, and the ship wasn't frozen in; it was trapped by shifting ice.
How bad is Arctic ice melt? As The Hill reports, Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski is mad that the United States isn't moving faster to stake a claim in regions of the Arctic Circle that have become accessible due to warming temperatures. In 2012, a U.S. major general referred to the creation of a "northern coast" — that is, a new sea border for the continent as the Arctic opens up to sea travel. That is all thanks to global warming. Hayward didn't make up funny poems about it.
But the much dumber argument is the one that it is cold therefore there is no global warming. As it turns out, it is winter. Even as temperatures warm, winter will still be colder. There will still be snow! It will just be wetter and in different places, and the cold nights will not be as cold on average. Take the mangrove trees in Matt Drudge's home state of Florida. They're suddenly being found further up the state's coast, thanks to a decreasing number of cold winter nights that would normally kill off the plants.
New research suggests that the predicted increases in global temperatures have been underestimated, meaning that our expectations for what's to come are probably too optimistic. That's what the Drudge headline in the image above was linking to, but Drudge added the quotation marks, because who believes "scientists"? Losers. People who are "Fired™."
Climate change's reality is obvious to anyone paying attention or who isn't motivated by trying to score political points. Meaning that our counter-arguments, as always, are falling on deaf ears. Or, perhaps, covered eyes. This is going to be the most bittersweet "we told you so" in world history.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to firstname.lastname@example.org.