Politico Notices TV Meteorologists 'More Skeptical' of Climate Change Than Other Scientists
Politico's Darren Goode surprisingly highlighted the skepticism of many on-air meteorologists in a Monday item about President Obama's interviews with "some of television's most popular celebrities — weather forecasters — to ratchet up the volume on the administration's latest scientific assessment of climate change." Goode pointed out that "not all broadcast meteorologists have been conducive to the climate science message."
The writer cited Weather Channel founder John Coleman, who labeled global warming "the greatest scam in history" back in 2007. He also outlined the reason for many of the weather personalities' skepticism:
One explanation...which more than one meteorologist...shared with Politico is skepticism over climate modeling that tries to predict changes decades down the road. At least mathematically, these models aren't much different from the modeling that TV meteorologists use to forecast weather mere days in advance, which often can prove challenging to do accurately.
Goode quoted from Keith Seitter, executive director of the American Meteorological Society, in his article, "Obama tries weather outreach on climate." The AMS oversees certification "seals" for on-air meteorologists. Seitter praised the President's interviews with the broadcast forecasters as "absolutely...a great move," but later acknowledged the skeptics' viewpoint: "They know their own models become unreliable very quickly, and it makes it hard for them to become comfortable with a lot of the climate modeling being used to forecast many years rather than just a handful of days."
The Politico journalist also spotlighted a "June 2011 survey by the George Mason center [that] found that while 82 percent of TV meteorologists were convinced that the climate is changing, many don't think human activity has been the primary cause of changes over the past 150 years."
Later in his write-up, Goode underlined that "climate researchers counter that climate — which changes over decades and centuries — is much different from day-to-day weather." He also noted that "the official position of the American Meteorological Society since 2012 is that there is 'unequivocal evidence' and that the 'dominant cause of the warming since the 1950s is human activities.' 'This scientific finding is based on a large and persuasive body of research,' says the society, which represents about 14,000 members, about 10 percent of them involved in broadcasting."
One meteorologist that the journalist didn't mention is former AccuWeather forecaster Joe Bastardi, who lambasted Bill Nye the "Science Guy" and former CNN host Piers Morgan in a series of Twitter posts in December 2012. Back in May 2010, CBS Evening News also devoted a full report to the climate change skepticism of many broadcast weather forecasters.
— Matthew Balan is a News Analyst at the Media Research Center. Follow Matthew Balan on Twitter.