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Pay no attention to the people behind the curtain

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Weatherman Tells You Which Way the Wind Blows

By Keith Schmitz

Kudos to Channel 4's weatherman Craig Koplien for stepping up on his blog to weigh in on the climate change issue and makes the obvious choice (though others in the employ of Journal Broadcasting will vehemently disagree and as their habit deride this):
I am not a climatologist, oceanographer, glaciologist, solar physicist or expert in any other field related to climate change or global warming. Nor are most meteorologists you see on TV across the United States.

Broadcast meteorologists are, however, the closest most of the public gets to people whose life's work is the study of global warming.

Therefore, it is our responsibility to be up to date on the research and conclusions made by those who are experts. This is imperative so we can present factual and unbiased information to our viewers.

Moreover, it is our responsibility to present information regarding global warming in a fashion that is consistent with the majority of the evidence presented by the experts and adopted by our professional organization, the American Meteorological Society (AMS).

Some broadcast meteorologists don't feel the same way. Some have instead chosen to ignore the evidence and present views contrary to those who have far greater expertise in the field. At the very least, it seems that those who take a position contrary to the prevailing view of the scientific community owe it to their viewers to admit this.

Two heavyweights in broadcast meteorology have recently written about this. Certified Broadcast Meteorolgists Bob Ryan of NBC-4 in Washington D.C., and John Toohey-Morales, AMS Commissioner on Professional Affairs, co-authored a guest editorial that appeared in the August 2007 edition of the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society.

I agree with their points of view and conclusions.
Here is a sample of their conclusions:
Alarmingly, many weathercasters and certified broadcast meteorologists dismiss, in most cases without any solid scientific arguments, the conclusions of the National Research Council (NRC), Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and other peer-reviewed research (that would be you State Rep Jim Ott -- R-Mequon).

As outlined in the CBM and CCM programs, a responsible broadcast and/or consulting meteorologist should continue to stay as informed as possible and look to the AMS for leadership. The “AMS Statement on Climate Change” recently adopted by the AMS Council should be required reading for all of us who communicate with the public or seek guidance on climate change. While some of us may disagree with its exact wording, the weight of the scientific evidence behind the Statement is very solid.
As the above indicates, this is an issue that will not be fully settled. But then again science doesn't work that way.

But at some point both the rational ability to sort out facts and a modicum of survival instinct has to kick in.

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