The Facts Are not Enough When Communicating Climate & Weather

The attendees, and speakers, at the short course on weather and climate at the AMS meeting in Austin in June

Communicating weather is not easy, but when you add in climate change, the difficulty increases by an order of magnitude. Facts are not enough for people who fear the results of those facts: to paraphrase Upton Sinclair, “It’s nearly impossible to convince someone of anything, if they think their paycheck depends on it being otherwise,” and this is where almost all of the public skepticism of climate change comes from.

Scientists care about the facts, and while the consequences may matter, they are a totally separate issue to the science. Not so to non-scientists though, because here cognitive bias rules. People refuse to accept things that conflict with their worldview and they will do so to the point where they will deny the sky is blue if need be.

Understanding this and revising the way we communicate with this in mind is important.

Read more of Dan Satterfield’s thoughts on my talk to broadcast meteorologists, here.