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Why are so many Tampa Bay area TV weather forecasters wary of global warming?



Climate change child hands Given how much chatter we've seen in certain circles about global warming -- particularly given the recent cold snap we've had in North America, I've always been surprised to see that local TV weather forecasters don't seem to talk about the issue much.

Then I saw this story in the Columbia Journalism Review titled "Hot Air," subtitled: "Why don't TV weathermen believe in climate change?"

The article made an interesting point. Though a global effort of thousands of scientists in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the American Meteorological Society both issued findings years ago agreeing that the planet's temperature is rising and man is a significant contributor, a significant number of TV meteorologists don't agree.

In fact, some of them think it's a scam.

So I decided to ask our local weathercasters. Thanks to the area's passion for weather information and now-retired WTVT-Ch. 13 forecaster Roy Leep's longtime success, the Tampa Bay area has always had well-trained meteorologists -- so I asked them.

Souza_4x6Turns out, just one of the five chief meteorologists in the market's biggest TV outlets -- WTSP-Ch. 10's Tammie Souza -- agrees with the IPCC and AMS statements. Two others, sensing the hot-button nature of the controversy, say they are undecided, while two others seem to be more skeptical.

And at a time when TV forecasters are called upon to explain everything from earthquakes in Haiti to tsunamis in Chile -- the AMS even offers training on what it calls the growing "station scientist" role -- forecasters' positions on global warming could have a significant impact on what viewers think.

Click here to read the story which resulted, published in Sunday's Perspective section. 

Here's a quick look at what they had to say:

 Denis Phillips, Tampa ABC affiliate WFTS-Ch. 28: "Nobody knows yet."

Tammie Souza
, St. Petersburg CBS affiliate WTSP-Ch. 10: "It's obvious our climate is changing."

MikeClayMike Clay (left), Bay News 9, is an admitted global warming skeptic who says the competing political interests make him suspicious.

Steve Jerve, Tampa NBC affiliate WFLA-Ch. 8: "Mostly I'm trying to get Saturday right."

Paul Dellegatto, Fox affiliate WTVT-Ch. 13: The market's best-known skeptic on global warming, he did not speak on the issue for this story.

[Last modified: Wednesday, July 21, 2010 3:06pm]


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