New research shows your TV weather person may have some serious issues with prevailing climate science
Americans are increasingly turning to their TV weather personalities for information on climate change -- and increasingly those weathercasters are more than happy to oblige. The problem, some might argue, is that many of those TV weather people have serious doubts about the prevailing science behind climate change.
In what is being billed as "the largest and most representative survey of television weathercasters to date," researchers at George Mason University found that two-thirds of television weathercasters are interested in reporting on climate change. And while that sounds encouraging on the surface, they also found that 1 in 4 don't even believe global warming is happening.
The survey (pdf), released by George Mason's Center for Climate Change Communication found that climate change is already one of the most common science topics TV weathercasters discuss. But most of that discussion is happening at speaking engagements, in newspaper columns and in blogs. The survey found that when climate change issues were addressed during the on-air broadcasts, they were usually squeezed in toward the end of the weather segment.
“Our surveys of the public have shown that many Americans are looking to their local TV weathercaster for information about global warming,” says Edward Maibach, director of the Center for Climate Change Communications at George Mason University. “TV weathercasters play—or can play—an important role as informal climate change educators.”
Despite their enthusiasm for reporting on the climate change issue, however, a majority (61%) of the over 500 individuals surveyed feel there is still a lot of disagreement among scientists about the issue of global warming. An almost astonishing one-quarter of the respondents said they believed global warming isn’t happening at all.
George Mason University has indicated Maibach and his team will now use the data to create a series of 30-second, broadcast-quality educational segments for TV weathercasters "to use in their daily broadcasts to educate viewers about the link between predicted (or current) extreme weather events in that media market and the changing global climate."
But if these new survey numbers are any indication of the level of belief in global warming/climate change among American TV weathercasters, Maibach and his team should expect that only 3 out of 4 TV weathercasters will even want a copy.
Photo: Wikimedia Commons