Helping TV Weathercasters & Journalists report local Climate Change stories
About Our Program
Our first Climate Change in the American Mind survey revealed that TV weathercasters are highly trusted sources of information about global warming. They also have unparalleled access to the public, and superior science communication skills. These three factors strongly suggested that TV weathercasters could become an important source of climate change education in communities across America.
Since 2009, with funding from the National Science Foundation – in partnership with Climate Central, the American Meteorological Society, NASA, NOAA, and Yale – we have explored and helped develop the potential of TV weathercasters as local climate educators.
Beginning with a single weathercaster in 2010, our Climate Matters partnership now provides localized broadcast quality materials to more than 900 weathercasters nationwide (44 of whom broadcast in Spanish), and is growing rapidly.
Climate Matters reporting materials, which are distributed weekly, are now used by weathercasters in more than 90% of all American media markets at more than 500 stations, and on-air reporting about climate change by TV weathercasters has increased more than 50-fold since 2012.
Chief Meteorologist Jim Gandy, at WLTX in Columbia, SC, earned his reputation as a leading TV meteorologist by giving his viewers what they want: sound science and interesting visuals in a delivery style that’s crisp and easy to understand. Recently, Gandy expanded his reports to include locally focused climate science information on topics that directly touch viewers’ lives. No controversy here, says Gandy, just good community service.
In 2017, the Climate Matters team partnered with five professional journalism societies to support other journalists interested in reporting local climate change stories. Interested journalists can find the free Climate Matters in the Newsroom reporting resources, and sign up to receive them here.
Weather forecasters increasingly address climate change
In 2022, PBS NewsHour and science correspondent Miles O’Brien featured Climate Matters, as well as our Center’s polling data in their report on the increase in weather forecasters addressing climate change.
The Red-State Weatherwoman on a Climate Change Mission
Also, meet Amber Sullins, chief meteorologist at ABC15 News in Phoenix, who uses Climate Matters materials to tell up to two million people about climate change.
Find out more about our research and work with TV weathercasters.
Local Climate Experts: The Influence of Local TV Weather Information on Climate Change Perceptions
Knowing Our Options for Setting the Record Straight, When Doing So is Particularly Important
Key Findings of a National Medical Association Survey
Is There a Climate “Spiral of Silence” in America?
Is Support for Traditionally Designed Communities Growing? Evidence From Two National Surveys
Iowa Voters Support Climate Action
Information Seeking About Global Climate Change Among Adolescents: The Role of Risk Perceptions, Efficacy Beliefs and Parental Influences
Informal Science Education on the NASA Climate Change Website
Increasing Public Awareness and Facilitating Behavior Change: Two Guiding Heuristics
Improving Public Engagement with Climate Change: Five “Best Practice” Insights from Psychological Science
If They Like You They Learn From You: How a Brief Weathercaster-Delivered Climate Education Segment is Moderated by Viewer Evaluations of the Weathercaster
Identifying Like-Minded Audiences for Global Warming Public Engagement Campaigns: An Audience Segmentation Analysis and Tool Development
Support Our Work
The work of Mason's Center for Climate Change Communication (4C) would not be possible without the generous financial support we have received from philanthropic foundations and individual donors.
You too can support our important work by donating via a secure online donation form. Your financial contribution will be processed on our behalf by the George Mason University Foundation, and is tax deductible.