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Why are local TV weather forecasters generally global-warming deniers?

Let me state at the outset here that I don’t know if THIS applies to weather forecasters in the Rockford television market (or to the guy in the photo above):

[A] new study by researchers at George Mason University and Yale University [has] found that those with a “low engagement on the issue of global warming … are more likely to be influenced by their perceived personal experience of global warming than by their prior beliefs.” Summarizing the findings, Grist.orgreporter David Roberts writes that “people who have made up their mind have made up their mind,” but for those in the “mushy middle,” personally facing severe weather — and being exposed to facts about what that weather really represents — “can make a real difference.”

The bad news is that this “mushy” group probably cannot be reached by the real experts, as 1 in 3 of those surveyed in the AP poll say they simply do not trust scientists. That leaves local television weather forecasters (many of whom are not actual scientists), national news outlets and Washington political leaders to the task — and up to this point, many of them have played the opposite of a constructive role in climate education.

For instance, when it comes to weather forecasters, a recent Rolling Stone magazine assessment of the local news scene found that “there’s a shockingly high chance that your friendly TV weatherman is a full-blown climate denier.” The report cited a 2010 survey finding that in the vast wasteland of Ron Burgundys, only half of all local weather forecasters believe climate change is even happening, and fewer than a third acknowledge the scientific evidence proving that it is “caused mostly by human activities.” Not surprisingly, their forecasts often omit any discussion of climate change’s effect on the weather systems, thus forfeiting a chance to properly contextualize severe weather events.

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11 Comments

  1. These are the forecasters that tell you to wear a light jacket if you are going outside to watch the tsunami.

  2. Milton Waddams

    Technically, it would be the vast wasteland of Brick Tamlands. However, this is not all that surprising. Many weather people do not have BS degrees in Meteorology. Then again even if they did, meteorology is not climatology either. I took courses in both in college and the Met courses don’t get into long term stuff at all.

  3. “Not surprisingly, their forecasts often omit any discussion of climate change’s effect on the weather systems, thus forfeiting a chance to properly contextualize severe weather events.”

    Properly contextualize. I like that term, its an euphemism for ‘properly bias’.

    Nice article, you asked the question ‘Why are local TV weather forecasters generally global-warming deniers’ and managed to provide no answer at all.

    cheers

  4. klem: That question wasn’t rhetorical. I was asking readers for their answers on the matter.

    Apparently, you don’t have any answer.

    Wait! I forgot. You’re a global-warming denier, too.

  5. It’s got something to do with inhalation of massive amounts of hairspray.

  6. The premise of this blog piece implodes because of the preposterously false and too-simplistic “global warming denier” label. It is an effective talking point, no doubt somebody needs credit for inventing the label long ago, but as more and more people see how paper-thin it is, the more preposterous it appears.

    As global warming skeptic scientist Dr William Gray said so succinctly back in 2000 in a New York Times article, “I don’t think we’re arguing over whether there’s any global warming, the question is, ‘What is the cause of it?’ ” http://www.nytimes.com/2000/02/29/science/global-warming-the-contrarian-view.html

    Quote far-left liberal magazines all you want, astute readers will check to see if those and the papers they cite ever describe in detail how skeptic climate scientists and people associated with them have failed to make the case that the IPCC’s climate assessments and methodologies are highly suspect, in regard to their science conclusions and the manner in which the assessments were made.

    As more and more see where such ‘psychoanalysis’ of skeptics fails to undertake that basic bit of due diligence, your problem with defending the idea of man-caused global warming grows, particularly when your next fallback position is to say that skeptic scientists are corrupted by fossil fuel industry money – yet another literally unsupportable accusation. Not one bit of this bolsters the issue, it constantly undermines it, like a death of a thousand cuts.

  7. AmazingScott

    I have very little faith in any media; we’re talking about the same people who routinely try to convince us that the world is coming to an end when a bad storm is forecast. I don’t think that they really care much about the science, all they care about is viewers so if that means that they simply avoid discussing a controversial subject (or adopt a neutral stance) in an attempt to avoid alienating viewers then that’s what they do. They aren’t in the business of accurately forecasting the weather, they make their living by saying whatever is necessary to get people to watch the commercials.

  8. This letter was interesting in the WSJ today. I wonder if the author is a weatherman?

    Rational Look at Global Warming

    In your Jan. 5 editorial “The Kyoto Scorecard” you notes the expiration of the Kyoto Protocol, which sought to limit carbon-dioxide emissions in order to stop increases in global temperature allegedly caused by human activity.

    Unfortunately, you cite various increases in such emissions in contravention of the protocol while neglecting to cite figures on the actual amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and the percentage of increase caused by human sources.

    Citing the former, including increases of 20% in the Netherlands, 24% in Canada and 10.3% in the U.S. (which declined to sign the protocol), will only add to the hysteria of calling for carbon taxes and other economically ruinous measures. However, citing the latter will add much-needed rationality to the debate on climate change.

    Carbon dioxide is a trace gas currently occupying less than 4/100ths of 1% of atmospheric volume. Although atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide may have doubled since 1950, less than 5% of this increase is attributable to burning of fossil fuels by humankind. This human-caused increase amounts to less than 1/1,000th of 1% of atmospheric volume. The oceans and the so-called “biosphere”—the amalgam of respiration and decay of living organisms—account for the overwhelming remainder of this increase.

    Clearly, the national debate on climate change should contemplate these facts and the likely cause of increased carbon emissions from sources other than human consumption of fossil fuels. This likely cause is increased solar activity, which is simultaneously increasing the temperature on Mars. Unless there is an advanced Martian civilization burning vast amounts of coal and oil, global-warming alarmism needs some serious re-evaluation.

    Robert M. Petrusak

    Fairfax, Va.

  9. “klem: That question wasn’t rhetorical. I was asking readers for their answers on the matter. Apparently, you don’t have any answer.”

    I do though. Its simply because weather forecasters know the wide natural variabiltiy of global weather and understand that future climate predictions need time and imperical evidence to prove correct. Neither of which climate science has sufficiently.

    They also are in the news business, with the emphasis on business, which means the more weather related fear mongering they provide to their viewers (Eg Sandy), the more beer and Chevty truck advertising they can sell. Its just business.

    cheers

  10. klem: The third paragraph of your comment above makes absolutely no sense.

    The point of this post is that TV weather forecasters generally DO NOT subscribe to mainstream scientific theories regarding global warming. You seem to agree with that point in your second paragraph when you say that “weather forecasters know the wide natural variabiltiy of global weather and understand that future climate predictions need time and imperical evidence to prove correct.”

    But then, in your third paragraph, you suggest that weather forecasters DO, in fact, believe in global warming. You say “the more weather related fear mongering they provide to their viewers (Eg Sandy), the more beer and Chevy truck advertising they can sell.”

    You’re contradicting yourself.

    Logic is not your long suit, is it, klem?

  11. oh yea, you’re right. It looks like I suddenly changed into a climate alarmist, whoa. Must have been asleep at the wheel. Try not to let that happen again. My reputation and all.

    thanks

    cheers

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