Improving public understanding of climate change by supporting weathercasters

Read the full letter in Nature Climate Change.

A one-year field experiment conducted in 2010 with the TV station WLTX (Columbia, South Carolina) tested the premise that weathercasters are well positioned to educate audiences about the local relevance of global climate change. With technical support from climate and social scientists at George Mason University and Climate Central, WLTX chief meteorologist Jim Gandy produced and aired 13 Climate Matters stories over one year that illustrated the current impacts and future risks of climate change in Columbia. The test was successful: surveys of news viewers showed that, in comparison with viewers of other local channels, WLTX viewers developed a more science-based understanding of the relevance of climate change5. Moreover, based on their important business metrics, WLTX management was pleased with the programming; they continue to participate today.

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