There was a time when I picked which local TV news station to watch based on the way the TV meteorologist addressed global warming. There were two stations in the running. One of them had a guy who frequently disparaged climate science, and the other had Paul Douglas, who no longer does TV meteorology (I no longer watch local TV news) but who has become a major spokesperson for reason and science (see: Paul Douglas on Climate Change and A Q&A with Paul Douglas, the evangelical Christian Republican poster boy for climate change). Paul and I have become colleagues and friends.
In 2011, George Mason University produced a survey of TV meteorologists demonstrating that more than 50% did not understand or accept that climate change was happening as a result of human caused greenhouse gas pollution. Just now, George Mason University has looked at this again and their results demonstrate a dramatic shift. Today, something close to 9 in 10 TV meteorologists in the US are on board with the science.
The dismal results of the 2011 survey resulted in the development of the Forecast the Facts project. Today, Forecast the Facts’ Deputy Director Emily Southard released the following statement:
Forecast the Facts is excited to learn that the number of meteorologists who accept that humans plays a role in climate change has increased from 50% to nearly 90% according to a recent GMU study. With viewers facing unprecedented climate-change induced heat waves, droughts, and flooding – it’s more important than ever that meteorologists, as some of the most trusted communicators on climate, accept the facts and present them to their audiences accordingly. We hope all meteorologists will follow suit and commit to broadcasting the truth on climate change.
The 2011 study is here (PDF), and this graph summarizes the results:
I’ve not seen the new study yet, just the press release, but if I get a copy of it I’ll post a link or show some pretty pictures or something …
ADDED: I’m still trying to get a copy of the report (there are technical problems at the site) but I did find this graphic summarizing it:
Meanwhile, here is an interview I did with Paul Douglas a while back, demonstrating that TV meteorologists can have some very important things to say about climate change!