Consensus About Climate Change Among Weathercasters Nearly Unanimous
As severe storms, extreme temperatures, and other climate-related weather events grow more common, climate awareness among weathercasters continues to rise. A new survey from George Mason University’s Center for Climate Change Communication found that 99 percent of U.S. weathercasters accept the existence of climate change (an increase of nearly 9 percent since May of last year).
This is a big deal because, as the study’s main author, Ed Maibach, points out, weathercasters have direct, widespread access to the public, unlike climate scientists. Not only, that, he says, but “the public thinks of TV weathercasters as a trusted source of information about global warming.” So just as physicians can help their patients make the link between climate change and health, weathercasters can help raise awareness and concern about climate impacts like droughts and floods, and inspire action among their audiences.
As this ThinkProgress article explains, there is still a lag among weathercasters and meteorologists in accepting that climate change is caused by humans. But Maibach says this is natural – people need to be presented with evidence multiple times before they will shift a long-held viewpoint. “The kind of evolution that we are seeing in meteorologists is the kind of evolution we would expect.”
By Alejandro Davila Fragoso, contributor to ClimateProgress
Among climate scientists, there’s a consensus that climate change is real and driven by human activity. Among meteorologists and weathercasters, however, that acceptance of climate science has historically been harder to find. That may have finally changed.
Some 99 percent of U.S. weathercasters — those who communicate weather forecasts on TV or radio, but who aren’t always trained meteorologists — accept the fact that climate change is happening, according to preliminary findings from a George Mason University’s Center for Climate Change Communication study released Thursday. The study, which has yet to go through the peer review process, comes days after George Mason University released a similar survey that shows that some 96 percent of American Meteorological Society members think climate change is real.
Edward Maibach, the lead author of both studies, said the findings are not surprising because the evidence of climate change has been mounting.
“That just directly follows from the fact that the science is getting clearer,” he told ThinkProgress.
Image credit: Kevin Wolf / AP Images for The Weather Channel