Report: TV Weathercasters Are Increasing Americans’ Understanding of Climate Change

America’s TV weathercasters, who in recent years have started reporting on the local impacts of global warming, are helping Americans develop a better understanding of the realities of climate change. New research published today in the American Meteorology Society journal Weather, Climate, and Society traces the impact of Climate Matters—a collaboration led by George Mason University and Climate Central to provide meteorologists with science-based, localized information about climate change impacts and solutions—concluded that climate reporting by TV weathercasters, as enabled by the Climate Matters program, appears to be increasing the climate literacy of the American people. In communities where TV weathercasters are reporting more frequently about climate change, people are developing a better understanding of the fact that climate change is happening and that it has potential to harm them, their family and other members of their community.

The research is based on nationally representative surveys conducted twice-a-year since 2010 by Yale and George Mason University, and on comprehensive records of when and how often Climate Matters stories were aired in U.S. media markets. Climate Matters was pilot-tested in Columbia, South Carolina in 2010 and shown to be effective. It was launched nationwide in 2013, and use of the educational materials by weathercasters has increased sharply with each passing year.

The paper, including an abstract, is available here:

Climate Matters now supports more than 900 weathercasters with localized climate science analyses and production-ready graphics, in English and Spanish. They broadcast in more than 90% of all U.S. media markets. The program is produced in partnership with the American Meteorological Society, Climate Communication, NASA, and NOAA. In 2017, Climate Matters expanded its focus to support journalists across all media types with Climate Matters in the Newsroom. The network now supports more than 600 journalists and includes the following media partners: the Carole Kneeland Project for Responsible Journalism, the National Association of Black Journalists, the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, the Radio Television Digital News Association, and the Society of Environmental Journalists.

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