Enabling TV Meteorologists to Provide Viewers with Climate Change-related Science Education Based on ISE ‘Best Practices’

September 1st, 2009 - August 31st, 2012 | PROJECT

This project identifies TV meteorologists as a potentially important source of informal science education on the topic of climate change. These professionals are a well-respected source of scientific information in their local communities, yet rarely address climate change in their weather broadcasts. Proposers will conduct a series of studies that explore both mechanisms and obstacles to using TV broadcasts as effective informal communication vehicles for scientific information about climate change. In Study 1, they will identify methods already in use by "early adopters," compare them to best explanatory practices in informal science education, and make recommendations to improve practice. In Study 2, they will survey meteorologists and their news directors to determine their motivations and needs for information and materials regarding climate change. Based on their findings, and informed by prior work, they will develop a set of educational materials, principally a set of 30-second segments that can serve as a resource for TV meteorologists nation-wide. In Study 3, they will conduct a quasi-experimental evaluation of the materials with a TV station in Columbia, South Carolina to determine their impact on viewers. The core project team includes experts in science communication and education, physical oceanography, broadcast meteorology, and media effects evaluation, and the advisory board includes the Vice President of Programs at the National Environmental Education Foundation and the Chief Meteorologist at The Weather Channel. Dissemination mechanisms will include a range of publications and presentations for the research findings, and a website for the sharing of materials used by the early adopters. Overall, the project will advance the informal science education field's understanding of both effective explanatory practices in broadcast media and the motivations and practices of an understudied group of professionals. It will investigate an innovative means of increasing public awareness and understanding of important topics in climate change, and as well as creating a set of video-clips and related materials based on careful study and best practices.

Project Website(s)

(no project website provided)

Team Members

Edward Maibach, Principal Investigator, George Mason University


Funding Source: NSF
Funding Program: CCE
Award Number: 0917566
Funding Amount: 1060432


Audience: Evaluators | General Public | Museum | ISE Professionals
Discipline: Climate | Geoscience and geography
Resource Type: Project Descriptions
Environment Type: Broadcast Media | Media and Technology | Professional Development | Conferences | Networks | Professional Development and Workshops