Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Why meteorologists are the scientists least likely to accept climate change

Only about 50% of meteorologists accept that climate is changing and that humans are a major cause of the change. I've heard this statistic before, but have never heard any insight as to why people so connected to the weather could be so divided over climate change. That is, until I read this article in the New York Times.

Turns out, there are a few hypotheses about why meteorologists are hesitant to accept the findings of climate scientists. Definitely take the time to read the article, but I'll highlight a few reasons below.

1. Meteorologists use very sensitive models that rarely accurately predict weather beyond 7 days. Models used by climate scientists are significantly less sensitive (they're not trying to predict the amount of climate change we'll see on February 7th, 2130 in Ithaca, NY, but rather more like the general regional temperature and precipitation patterns that will be seen in the Northeastern United States for the years 2100-2150).

2. Climate scientists are usually have doctoral degrees and are associated with an institution or university, whereas meteorologists are usually employed with a bachelor's degree, thereby causing a faction between the two groups.

Whatever the reasons are, outreach efforts are underway to bring more climate education to meteorologists, as they are the face of weather and climate to the nation!

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