22 August 2018

This is How You Communicate Science

Posted by Dan Satterfield

Dense wildfire smoke covers much of America Tuesday night and this will be the new normal if we don’t change how we produce our energy.

Two separate videos from two different climate experts.

Katharine Hayhoe has the rare quality of being an excellent scientist and a great communicator. You should watch her Global Weirding videos on YouTube. (Teachers, these are great resources.)

Dr. Hayhoe’s recent video about taking the politics out of energy is superb, and I urge you to share it. I’ll let you in on a little secret: Meteorologists like me who work on TV are impressed by anyone who is really good at science communication because we do it every day and know how hard it is. Dr. Hayhoe has rock-star status among us because she’s so good at it.

Now, here’s a history lesson on climate with not a word spoken. Climate Scientist Patrick Brown at Stanford posted it on his Twitter account tonight. It illustrates a common misconception about our climate: No one argues that our climate has not changed dramatically in the last few million years, it has! The problem is that we are causing it this time, and even more importantly:

How Fast It’s Happening.

This animation illustrates it perfectly:

Plant, animals, cities, and people cannot react fast enough to a new climate that changes (in geological terms) a blink of the eye. This graphic also slays a myth I see often in social media. Just to be clear, we are not still “coming out of the ice age”. We bought that t-shirt over 3000 years before Kufu built his pyramid in 2580 BCE.

Note the data used for the graph is here.
Thanks to Dr. Hayhoe and Dr. Brown for letting me share their videos.