Meteorologists Major Reason for Increase in Climate Coverage on Broadcast TV

Meteorologists Major Reason for Increase in Climate Coverage on Broadcast TV

From 2020 to 2021, the time spent discussing climate change on major TV networks like ABC and CBS has increased threefold and weather forecasters are the reason why. According to the latest annual report by nonprofit Media Matters, meteorologists were responsible for 37% of overall morning show climate segments last year with weather reports making up nearly a quarter of those climate segments.

Three meteorologists interviewed by backed up these numbers. They also discussed how over the past decade, climate change impacts have gone from hypotheticals to well underway and even a little worse than previously thought, like sea-level rise.

Why This Matters

Everyone is affected by the weather, and the weather in a climate-changed world is more intense. Meteorologists are in a unique position: they are trusted authorities on climate science and are also local reporters, making them "well-positioned to help viewers understand how climate change affects their local communities,” as Media Matters writes.

Warning About Extreme Weather

As climate change reshapes weather patterns, explaining these new extremes can be a challenge. For example, when the remnants of Hurricane Ida hit the Northeast last year, it brought 8 inches of rain within just a few hours -- a downpour well beyond a normal storm.

Michael Page, a meteorologist who reports for The Weather Channel and runs the weather blog, told "Now the challenge for us is we might not have physically seen it with our own eyes either, we really have to try and paint the picture. So it’s a hard thing. We have the data in front of us, we know it’s going to be bad, but what does that look like?”

Tune In For Another Climate Segment

NBC’s longtime meteorologist Al Roker will interview former President Barack Obama about climate change and sustainability next week in advance of Obama’s Our Great National Parks Netflix docuseries.

"I think people intrinsically know our climate is changing. You may get a fight about what’s causing that, though I don’t think there’s really any question about it,” Roker told the Washington Post earlier this year. “I think it’s pretty well determined now that it’s due to human activity, what we do and how we power our cars, homes, and factories. The planet is warming, our oceans are warming. That ship has sailed. People feel it, they know it.”