Step one foot — one toe, even — outside, and you’ll notice the chill. It’s frigid, and after experiencing the most widespread White Christmas in five years, temperatures in much of the U.S. have only dropped.
On the morning of Dec. 29, record lows hit the New York metropolitan area.
Islip, NY tied a daily record this morning with a low of 11, while JFK and LGA set new daily record lows of 12. Bridgeport, CT also set a new daily record with a low of 8 this morning!— NWS New York NY (@NWSNewYorkNY) December 29, 2017
Check out the map with lows from this morning across the region. pic.twitter.com/9cB2rtxNMz
And with the wind chill, it's even colder.
Here are the 7am wind chill readings, bundle up as it continues to be bitterly cold! pic.twitter.com/UX5j7CVPNC— NWS New York NY (@NWSNewYorkNY) December 29, 2017
The National Weather Service reported that blasts of arctic air will also bring record lows to areas across the Plains, Midwest and East this upcoming weekend. Wind chill advisories have been posted in New England and the northern Plains as well.
Some places are bracing for the coldest New Year’s Eve in over half a century.
The last four runs of the GFS show the eastern half of the Lower 48 ringing in the New Year with the lowest average temperature in at least 70 years – edging out 1977 by just over 2°F. @capitalweather pic.twitter.com/efXAzn2weM— Brian Brettschneider (@Climatologist49) December 29, 2017
From the warmth of West Palm, Trump tweeted: "In the East, it could be the COLDEST New Year’s Eve on record. Perhaps we could use a little bit of that good old Global Warming that our Country, but not other countries, was going to pay TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS to protect against. Bundle up!"
In the East, it could be the COLDEST New Year’s Eve on record. Perhaps we could use a little bit of that good old Global Warming that our Country, but not other countries, was going to pay TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS to protect against. Bundle up!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 29, 2017
Here, Trump is referring to the Paris accord, the largest international agreement dedicated to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, which he announced the U.S. was backing out of in June. He claimed the agreement was "a massive redistribution of United States' wealth to other countries." Come December, the president reportedly did not receive an invitation to a climate change summit hosted by French President Emmanuel Macron.
Trump has tweeted about "needing" global warming during cold temperatures before. Back in 2012, he wrote, "It’s freezing and snowing in New York—we need global warming.” And in 2015: "It's really cold outside, they are calling it a major freeze, weeks ahead of normal. Man, we could use a big fat dose of global warming!"
It's really cold outside, they are calling it a major freeze, weeks ahead of normal. Man, we could use a big fat dose of global warming!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 19, 2015
By saying that global warming is "needed" to fix cold weather, Trump is scientifically incorrect — here’s why.
There’s a difference between weather and climate
Weather and climate aren't the same thing. As NASA puts it: "Weather is what conditions of the atmosphere are over a short period of time, and climate is how the atmosphere 'behaves' over relatively long periods of time."
Weather.com cites an analogy from the former president of the American Meteorological Society, Dr. Marshall Shepherd: "weather is your mood; climate is your personality." In other words, no one mood (bout of weather) is an indication of your long-term personality (climate).
But this record cold doesn’t mean the climate hasn’t warmed
"To be clear, we are forecasting daily record low temperatures New Year's morning in parts of the Upper Midwest and Northeast," Jonathan Erdman, senior digital meteorologist with Weather.com, told Metro. "However, despite lasting into the first week of 2018, this cold snap, as all weather, is just a short-term blip on an overall warming planetary signal that has been ongoing for decades."
Erdman further explained that Earth "is still on pace for at least its third warmest year in records dating to 1880."
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the warmest years were (in order): 2016, 2015 and 2014. Erdman noted that 2017 is "likely to finish at least warmer than 2014, but may not be as warm as 2016 or 2015."
Another way of looking at this concept is in comparison to a "bullish stock market" (read: rising).
"The market may have days with pronounced sell-offs due to short-term hiccups, but an overall bull market features long-term stock price rises over months and years," Erdman stated. "So, too, goes the earth's climate despite short-term cold snaps in some areas."
And despite what Trump has said, global warming is real
Though Trump tweeted that we "need" global warming, he's made comments in the past claiming it's a "hoax." He has even said that it "was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive."
The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 6, 2012
But, as one climatologist, Dr. Brian Brettschneider, tweeted: "PS. It goes without saying that a cold snap or two says zero about global warming. It's real and it's happening. For those who see the chart as an a-ha moment about global warming, you do not understand science."
PS. It goes without saying that a cold snap or two says zero about global warming. It's real and it's happening. For those who see the chart as an a-ha moment about global warming, you do not understand science.— Brian Brettschneider (@Climatologist49) December 29, 2017
In fact, some scientists have suggested that these cold snaps are caused by the changing climate. As Weather Underground meteorologist and journalist Bob Henson told Weather.com, these scientists "have found that warming in the Arctic and the resulting loss of sea ice are making it more likely that the jet stream will take dramatic wintertime dips and push intense cold outbreaks into midlatitude areas, such as the eastern U.S." And he reiterates what Erdman stressed to Metro, that "these cold waves aren’t enough to compensate for the overall warming of the climate across the whole planet."
What to remember
Here are important points to keep in mind, as tweeted by Weather.com:
1) There is a difference between #weather and #climate.— The Weather Channel (@weatherchannel) December 29, 2017
2) Short-term #cold snaps will continue to occur in a warming climate.
3) 2017 will likely be a top three warmest year on record for the globe.
(Graphic: Univ. of Maine - Climate Change Institute) https://t.co/kzuugeXi80 pic.twitter.com/gueOsp4yvu
And with that, have a healthy, happy (and warm) New Year’s!