Attributes of weathercasters who engage in climate change education outreach


This research explores the role of weathercasters as local climate change educators and identifies attributes of those who present climate science to their viewers. In 2015, the authors attempted to survey all television weathercasters currently working in the United States (n 5 2128); 478 participated, yielding a 22.5% participation rate. Using logistic regression to identify attributes of weathercasters who report on climate change on-air, it was found that the strongest predictors were participation in Climate Matters (a climate change reporting resource program) (b 5 1.01, p, 0.001), personal interest in reporting on climate change (b 5 0.93, p, 0.001), age (higher rates of reporting among older weathercasters) (b 5 0.301, p, 0.05), and number of climate reporting interests (b 5 1.37, p, 0.05). Linear regression was used to identify attributes of weathercasters who showed the most interest in climate change reporting. Weathercasters most interested in reporting about climate change on-air were more certain that climate change is happening (b 5 0.344, p, 0.001), were convinced climate change is human caused (b 5 0.226, p, 0.001), were older (b 5 0.157, p, 0.001), and found the Third National Climate Assessment to be useful (b 5 0.134, p, 0.05). Weathercasters who are personally motivated to seek and share broad scientific information, acting as ‘‘station scientists,’’ appear to be those who are also proactive in sharing climate change information. Assisting motivated weathercasters with programs that reduce barriers to climate change education outreach complements their abilities to educate the public regarding climate change science.


Geography, Geology, and Planning

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Weather, Climate, and Society