Forecasting Climate With A Chance Of Backlash
When it comes to climate change, Americans place great trust in their local TV weathercaster, which has led climate experts to see huge potential for public education.
The only problem? Polls show most weather presenters don’t know much about climate science, and many who do are fearful of talking about something so polarizing.
In fact, if you have heard a weathercaster speak on climate change, it’s likely been to deny it. John Coleman in San Diego and Anthony Watts of Watts Up With That? are among a group of vocal die-hards, cranking out blog posts and videos countering climate science. But even many meteorologists who don’t think it’s all a hoax still profoundly distrust climate models.
"They get reminded each and every day anytime their models don’t prove to be correct," says Ed Maibach, who directs the Center for Climate Change Communication at George Mason University, and has carried out several surveys of TV weathercasters. “For them, the whole notion of projecting what the climate will be 30, 50, a hundred years from now, they’ve got a fairly high degree of skepticism.”
And yet, Maibach has found that many meteorologists would like to learn more and would like to educate their viewers. A few years back, he hatched a plan and found a willing partner in an unlikely place.
Prepared For Backlash
"I loved it. That’s exactly what I wanted to do," says Jim Gandy, chief meteorologist at WLTX in Columbia, S.C.
Gandy had actually begun reading up on climate change several years earlier, when — to his surprise — a couple of geology professors at a party asked whether he thought global warming was real. Gandy was disturbed by what he learned and was game to go on air with it, even in what he calls a “dark red” state with a lot of “resistance” to the idea of climate change.
"We talked about it at length," he says, "and we were prepared for a backlash." Via