TV Weathercasters and Climate Education: Expanding the Reach of Climate Matters

September 1st, 2014 - August 31st, 2017 | PROJECT

The goal of this three-year initiative is to expand the implementation of a currently active and proven climate education method delivered by TV weathercasters around the country. The work is a partnership of George Mason University, Yale University, Climate Central (a non-profit climate science research and media production organization), the American Meteorological Society, and NOAA and NASA. This project will include four activities: (1) recruiting 200 TV more weathercasters nationwide (currently just over 100 are participating); (2) providing participating weathercasters with professional development activities and training on use of Climate Matters materials to help them become confident and competent climate educators; (3) developing and distributing to participating weathercasters timely, localized, broadcast-ready graphics and science information, when possible tied to local weather and climatic events, to make it easy for them to educate their viewers about the local relationships between the climate and the weather; and (4) research and evaluation activities to improve the rate of use and effectiveness of Climate Matters materials by weathercasters over time and to study the effect on learning about climate by the public. Learning outcomes by the public will be evaluated using a quasi-experimental method with nationally representative surveys of the public, conducted twice per year over the course of the project. The guiding hypothesis is that there will be a dose-response relationship between the extent of TV weathercaster use of Climate Matters materials in a community (i.e., a media market) and change over time in viewers' understanding of the climate. The development of Climate Matters is based on theories of informal and experiential learning. The scaling up of the initiative applies methods derived from diffusion of innovation and social marketing theories.

Project Website(s)

(no project website provided)

Project Products

Climate Matters
Summative Evaluation Report, DRL-1422431: TV Weathercasters and Climate Education: Expanding the Reach of Climate Matters

Team Members

Ed Maibach, Principal Investigator, George Mason University
Heidi Cullen, Co-Principal Investigator, Climate Central


Funding Source: NSF
Award Number: 1422431
Funding Amount: 2998178


Audience: General Public | Scientists
Discipline: Climate | Education and learning science
Resource Type: Project Descriptions
Environment Type: Broadcast Media | Media and Technology