Oregon Public Broadcasting’s ‘Forecast Cloudy’ Look at Skeptics

A full-length Oregon Public Broadcasting TV documentary, available online, provides an in-depth look at broadcast meteorologists and weathercasters as “skeptics” on the fact and/or causes of climate change over the past several decades.

The “Forecast Cloudy” documentary opens up by asking why “some of the most prominent” TV meteorologists and weathercasters and state climatologists are skeptics when much of the debate over warming “is essentially over.”

The documentary – certain to raise the angst of the skeptics community – contrasts weather forecasters as providing a seven-day outlook while climatologists are focusing on 70 years.

“The people you rely on most to tell you what’s happening with the weather may be on the trailing edge of climate science,” the documentary cautions. Raising the question of why that might matter in the grand scheme, the documentary provides its own answer: because their views might contribute to unwarranted delays in acting to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Those familiar with the climate skeptics community will find most of their “favorites” among those interviewed and profiled in the documentary, including George Taylor of Oregon State University, formerly the state climatologist, and Arthur Robinson of the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine, in Cave Junction, Or. While much of the coverage addresses broadcast meteorologists in the Pacific Northwest, former Virginia state climatologist Patrick Michaels, of the Cato Institute, also gets some (perhaps unwelcome?) attention.

Some might find a bit of eye candy on the Oregon Public Broadcasting site in the form of a five-color U.S. map under the caption “Where does your state climatologist stand on the climate change question?” The map shows responses – and in some cases non-responses – to a questionnaire asking them to characterize themselves as skeptics or non-skeptics. Reporters likely would be well advised to regard the map with a sizeable grain of salt.

… and Frank Capra’s 1958 ‘Unchained Goddess’

The “Forecast Earth” piece was first broadcast on October 25, 2007. For an entertaining look at a much earlier TV broadcast addressing climate change, try famed producer Frank Capra’s “The Unchained Goddess,” dating from 1958 and “starring” Richard Carlson and Dr. Frank C. Baxter.

“Even now, man may be unwittingly changing the world’s climate through the waste products of our civilization,” Baxter warns. In the one-minute/19 second YouTube version (viewed 42,484 times as of mid-June), Capra uses galloping disaster-movie music to complement Baxter’s warnings about warming risks to “life itself.”

Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.