Most weather forecasters convinced of global warming — surveys

Source: Amanda Reilly, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, March 25, 2016

The overwhelming majority of meteorologists believe climate change is happening, and more weather professionals have become convinced of it over the past five years, according to the results of two surveys released today.

More than 99 percent of broadcast weather forecasters believed climate change is occurring, and 68 percent believed that it is largely caused by humans, a survey of TV weathercasters nationwide found.

A second survey found that 96 percent of members of the American Meteorological Society believed climate change is occurring, with 81 percent believing that it is caused by human activity.

The Center for Climate Change Communication at George Mason University led both surveys with funding from the National Science Foundation. Pollsters contacted subjects via email between Jan. 6 and Jan. 31.

In the first survey, 646 TV broadcasters, or about a third of all TV weather forecasters, responded to the questions on climate change. The second survey included the results of 4,092 AMS members, or about half of the group’s total membership.

The weathercaster survey found that about 21 percent of broadcast forecasters had changed their opinion about climate change in the last five years. Of those who changed their opinion, 81 percent said they were more convinced that climate change is occurring.

The AMS survey reached a similar result, finding that 17 percent of members had changed their opinions in the last five years and 87 percent of those felt more convinced that climate change is happening.

About 4 in 10 TV weather forecasters said that, over the past year, they had informed their viewers about local impacts of climate change. But less than 10 percent said they thought their audience was “very interested” in hearing about climate change.