The current announcement calls greenhouse gases “long-lived.” It acknowledges those emissions influence the climate, but sidesteps the scientific consensus that humans are primarily responsible for them.
Theo Stein, a NOAA spokesman, acknowledged in an email that phrasing about humans causing greenhouse gas emissions did not make it into the announcement but noted a second news release that was published on the website of the agency’s office of oceanic and atmospheric research that lists “climate change indicators.”
Scientists noted that emissions tend to rise more quickly during an El Niño weather pattern. The El Niño phenomenon, which was unusually strong in 2015-16, warms the Pacific Ocean, bringing heavy rains and droughts to different parts of the world. Scientists say the increase in sea surface temperatures that occurs during an El Niño causes less carbon dioxide to be dissolved in the oceans and, as a result, more accumulates in the atmosphere.
The report comes as the Trump administration dismantles many of former President Barack Obama’s climate change policies and scrubs most mentions of global warming from government websites. Within hours of President Trump taking the oath of office on Jan. 20, a White House website on climate change was replaced by a promise to eliminate key portions of Mr. Obama’s environmental agenda.