AMS Short Course: Communicating the Costs of Climate Change: Weather, Health, and Economic Impacts


20 June 2017

Room - Pavilion III

Broadcast weathercasters are increasingly making the connection between weather and climate on-air and via social media. Regular surveys of those weathercasters under the auspices of a National Science Foundation grant managed by George Mason University clearly demonstrate the extent of this growing understanding, consistent with the expanded responsibilities of broadcast meteorologists being  station scientists.

The goal of the 2017 Short Course was to complement attendees’ heightened substantive and technical expertise with data-driven communications expertise on how to inform and educate their on- and off-air audiences on related climate and weather issues. The course was aimed at weathercasters, teachers, and students wanting to more effectively meet their diverse audiences’ interests and needs on these issues.

With financial support from NSF, George Mason subsidized short course attendees' participation so that they would be responsible for only $30 of the standard AMS short course registration fee.

The Short Course was divided into two parts. The morning session focused on public health impacts of climate change and extreme weather events, with a presentation and give-and-take with a top federal public health official. The morning session also included authoritative independent analysis of economic impacts of climate change and extreme weather events, again presented by an outside expert.

In addition to the public health and economic impacts components, the Short Course included interactive presentations addressing well-researched proven communications messaging strategies and methods applicable for broadcast meteorologists. Additional components focused on research findings addressing weathercasters’ demonstrated interest in understanding and refuting common climate science myths and misunderstandings. This program element involved providing attendees a list of “Best Practices” and communications traps to be avoided. A final component of the day’s Short Course featured a panel of veteran broadcast meteorologists sharing their first-hand experiences both on- and off-air.

The course consisted of both official presentations and interactive applications. Course instructors included well-recognized authoritative climate, weather, and communications professionals.

A luncheon was provided during the Short Course. Computers, laptops, and internet access was not required for attendees, but internet access was available for those wanting to use it with their own equipment.

For more information on the Short Course, please contact Short Course organizer Bud Ward, Editor, Yale Climate Connections, [email protected] and, on the East Coast, 703-307-0150.