TV meteorologists on communicating climate change

Time was – and not so long ago, it seems – you might have had trouble rounding-up a half-dozen broadcast meteorologists to speak openly about how they address climate change as part of their weather forecasting.

That was then. This is now:  Independent videographer Peter Sinclair, in his regular “This Is Not Cool” video for Yale Climate Connections, chats with seven broadcast mets across the country. They weigh in on how climate change influences weather in their markets and about how they, in turn, inform their audiences, sometimes on air and sometimes through local presentations and social media.

In the video are market-leading long-time veteran meteorologist Mike Nelson with KMGH, in Denver; current and former ABC News and CBS network broadcast mets Ginger Zee and Jeff Berardelli, respectively (Berardelli now is chief meteorologist for WFLA, NBC affiliate in Tampa, Florida); John Morales, chief meteorologist with NBC6 in Miami; Amber Sullins, a Phoenix, Az., meteorologist with the ABC15; Chris Gloninger, a Des Moines, Iowa, chief meteorologist with CBS affiliate KCCI 8; and Eric Sorensen, a former ABC affiliate WQAD 8, chief meteorologist in Rockford, Illinois, now a candidate for a congressional seat.

Invoking lyrics of Bob Dylan … twice

Just as the weather each covers varies from place to place and time to time, so do their individual experiences addressing climate change in their weather forecasting mix and the reactions they hear from their viewers.

Across the U.S., TV mets increasingly are seeing a need to address the warming climate as they explain extreme weather events affecting their viewers and audiences. As Berardelli says, “Things that just couldn’t happen through natural variability are now happening on a consistent basis.”

Bob Dylan put it succinctly: “The times, they are a’changin’, and he also sang “Don’t need a weatherman to tell which way the wind blows.” True, but to make the science-based link between weather and climate, Zee says TV mets are uniquely well positioned to explain when there is, is not, and may or not be a firm correlation, and, in some cases, causation.

Peter Sinclair

Peter Sinclair is a Michigan-based videographer, specializing in climate change and renewable energy issues. He has created hundreds of educational videos correcting climate science misinformation,...