13 July 2016
Jason Samenow over at Capital Weather Gang (Washington Post) has a great piece today, and it has led to a wide discussion among broadcast meteorologists. I’ve written before about this subject, and while coverage of climate issues has increased dramatically over the past few years, there are some on air forecasters who for one reason or another are loathe (or even forbidden) to mention it. One station in Little Rock Arkansas forbids its weather folks from any mention at all of climate change. Many others are afraid that it will turn off viewers, although my experience (One of my first reports in 2010), and that of my friends Jim Gandy (Columbia,SC), and Greg Fishel (Raleigh, NC), and John Morales (NBC Miami), prove conclusively that the public is actually searching for reliable, non politicized, information on the subject.
A study released today by the Yale Program on Climate Change reinforces this view, and it shows that the number of folks who think this is all a hoax has dropped to ten percent, its lowest level ever.
Jason Samenow makes an excellent case for giving more info on how our climate is changing during on air weather, and I just finished an on air report in May showing the dramatic increase in flood days here in Maryland and Delaware. The folks at Climate Central help weathercasters put the changes into perspective, and they are out with some interesting data that many will find surprising. I’ll share it below, but I wonder how many folks in these cities will be told about this, either on air or on social media/station weather blogs.
So take a gander at some of the data below. Much of this is quite recent:
First, is that 2016 will be yet another hottest year on record. We can say that now, even though the data is only in for January through May. It’s been that hot!
How does this stack up with the previous hot years? The graph below answers that question-
Take a look at how things have changed since 1970. Climate Central looked at the increased number of hot days in different cities.
Wondering about the heat records versus the cold records? Those numbers alone will fry an egg on your sidewalk. Thanks to Guy Walton for this:
Arctic sea ice set a record low in June as well, and next week, much of the country is really going to bake. That will have a real impact on the record high vs. record low imbalance. Think these changes are not impacting you. Read this.
To quote Jason Samenow:
“Every meteorologist who is in the business of communicating weather information has an obligation to explain why the weather does what it does, and climate change is playing an ever-increasing role in this story. Ignoring climate change in weather reporting is anti-scientific by omission, and it’s irresponsible.”
The data overwhelmingly supports his conclusion.