Climate Change Education Through TV Weathercasts

A study from George Mason University’s Center for Climate Change Communication finds that TV weather reporters are trusted messengers for information on climate change.



The messenger is just as important as the message when you’re trying to communicate, especially when you’re trying to get people to change. Researchers conducted a statistical analysis on the success of a South Carolina weather forecast that incorporated climate change segments into their reporting.


The ‘Climate Matters’ series on WLTX in Columbia, South Carolina was a successful informal climate change education effort.

By connecting local extreme weather patterns to global climate change through the trusted messenger of the TV weather reporter, viewers surveyed had a better understand of the causes, processes and impacts of climate change.

Not every outcome was statistically significant and this was the first time this kind of research had been conducted – more research is needed to see if the pattern holds.

While the ‘Climate Matters’ segment tried to reach out over online formats as well as the TV segment, those outreach attempts were limited.

A limiting factor for using weather reports for climate reporting is the limited amount of airtime in the segment.

Using an experiential learning approach to tackle climate is an innovative educational initiative that has potential to be an effective climate education model.

Photo via (cc) Flickr user Marius Watz

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