A new two-hour training module on climate change science, designed specifically for broadcast meteorologists and weathercasters but a useful tool also for others, provides a broad overview of the what/why/wherefore of climate change.

“Climate Change: Fitting the Pieces Together” was developed by “COMET” – the Cooperative Program for Meteorology, Education and Training,” established in 1989 as a program of the University Consortium of Atmospheric Research (UCAR) and the National Weather Service.

The module, which requires a free online registration, uses a puzzle metaphor to address a series of climate science questions:

  • What Changes Climate?
  • Is It Real?
  • How Do We Know?
  • Why Should We Care?
  • How Sure are Scientists?
  • What Next?
  • Frequently Asked Questions

“In some ways, it’s like putting together a giant puzzle,” a narrator says at one point in the introduction to the training module. “Each individual piece tells you little. But as the pieces are assembled, the puzzle becomes a recognizable picture, even if some parts are still unfinished. Today, most climate scientists agree that the puzzle pieces clearly show that human-induced climate change is happening.”

While those pieces are coming together, the narrator says, the module also points out “how a few are still missing” and points to ongoing research to help address uncertainties.

The free two-hour course, which can be taken over time, was developed by COMET in cooperation with the National Environmental Education Foundation and the American Meteorological Society.

Developed by COMET instructional designer Vickie Johnson in cooperation with an advisory committee consisting of government, academic, and nonprofit interests (including a representative of The Yale Forum), the course was designed in part based on broadcast meteorologists’ responses to a nationwide survey conducted by Kris Wilson, of Emory University in Atlanta.

Calling broadcast meteorologists “a trusted source of science,” NEEF’s Debbie Sliter, vice president for programs, said the training module can help “answer the public’s many questions about climate change and what it means to their families.”

AMS Executive Director Keith Seitter said the training tool “will help the broadcast community learn about the latest advances in climate science,” which he labeled “one of the most important environmental issues facing the public.”

A preview of the two-hour module is available online at a NEEF site.