Yes, Climate "News" Is Broken

This past Tuesday, I linked to a piece by Dr. Roger Pielke, Jr. about the broken nature of news related to climate. Earlier today, I was part of a situation which clearly illustrates the problem. 

Just before we headed out to Mass, I received an email from BBC World News asking me to appear. The email said,
I believe I was approached because I've appeared several other times for them. However, the last time, they placed a bit of pressure on me to say that the previous day's tornadoes, that were the reason for my appearance, were caused by climate change. Of course, I could not. The evidence indicates the opposite

So, I replied to her email this morning that I would be happy to appear but that I didn't want to disappoint them because I would say there were much worse heatwaves in United State's history and, while climate change might have affected this heatwave, it did not cause it. I requested she let me know either way. Surprisingly, I did not hear back from her. [Addition, after posting this piece, she got back to me.]

Three hours later, I saw this:
Before I go further: Matthew is a fine meteorologist and is a good choice to speak to the media. I did not get to see what Matthew said as BBC News is extra cost on UVerse. I'm sure he did well. 

But, here's why this is an example of how climate news is broken: they went "expert shopping" to find someone who would stay what they wanted to say. The BBC likes to hype climate change rather than provide balanced coverage of the subject. 
From BBC News' website, note the BBC covers 
the current heatwave as "climate change"

To illustrate my point about hype, remember last month's headlines? Below is an example:
But, the above is just more of NOAA's propaganda. Below is a map of June, 2023's, average temperatures, also from NOAA.
Pretty unimpressive, isn't it?! While there were a few very hot days, it was just a typical summer month. 

We are seeing the same hype this month. There is plenty of coverage about the "first-ever" excessive heat warning for Miami.
What some stories are not telling you is this: They lowered the criterion for a heat warning for Miami! If they had not lowered the criterion, the NWS would not have issued an excessive heat warning. 

Past Heat Waves
During the summer of 1980, I was the chief meteorologist at KTVI in St. Louis. We did live shots during our newscasts from the morgue showing the trucks bringing in body after body of people who had perished in the heat. In the State of Missouri alone, more than 500 people died. Below is an article from the Washington Post
Ironically, Matthew writes on weather and climate for the Post. 

The Horrible 1930's
In 1936, Texas set its state record high temperature at Seymour. It reached 120°F. In North Dakota, which reached -60°F the previous winter, set its state record of an incredible 121°F.  Here in Kansas, we reached 121°F that same month, also a state record.

But, the 30's weren't only hot. They were incredibly dry in much of the nation. Here were the drought conditions in July, 1934:

Now compare it to the latest Palmer figures available (July 8).
By any standard, there have been worse heatwaves, some accompanied by drought, than the one currently in progress. 

So, when you watch weather/climate news coverage, keep in mind what they may not be telling you.


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