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 680 weathercasters nationwide (37 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 80% of all American media markets at more than 375 stations, and on-air reporting about climate change by TV weathercasters has increased 33-fold between 2012 and 2019.
To get a feel for this program, watch this brief video featuring WLTX (Columbia, SC) Chief Meteorologist Jim Gandy and News Director Marybeth Jacoby, the news team we partnered with to develop Climate Matters.
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.
In this video you will learn more about Amber Sullins, chief meteorologist at ABC15 News in Phoenix, who uses Climate Matters materials to tell up to two million people about climate change.