Mass media often failing in its coverage of global warming, says climate researcher

Feb 13, 2009

"Business managers of media organizations, you are screwing up your responsibility by firing science and environment reporters who are frankly the only ones competent to do this," said climate researcher and policy analyst Stephen Schneider, in assessing the current state of media coverage of global warming and related issues.

Schneider, a coordinating lead author of chapter 19 in the report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change published in 2007, is calling for the news media to employ trained reporters in covering global warming. He will be discussing this and other issues in the symposium "Hot and Hotter: Media Coverage of Climate-Change Impacts, Policies, and Politics," which runs today at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Chicago.

"Science is not politics. You can't just get two opposing viewpoints and think you've done due diligence. You've got to cover the multiple views and the relative credibility of each view," said Schneider, a senior fellow at Stanford's Woods Institute for the Environment. "But that is not usually the problem of the well-trained reporters, who understand what is credible.

"The problem is CNN just fired their science team. Why didn't they fire their economics team or their sports team?" "Why don't they send their general assignment reporters out to cover the Superbowl?" Schneider said. Researchers have to do their part, too, he said, by clearly explaining issues to reporters in succinct terms.

"I have arguments with some of my scientific colleagues, who think it is irresponsible to go out and talk when you can only get 5 seconds on the evening news, a couple of quotes in the New York Times, or five minutes in front of Congress," Schneider said.

"Well, you know what guys, that's just how it is," he said. "And if you think that you have a higher calling and you're not going to play the game because they don't give you the time to tell the whole story, then all it means is that you've passed the buck to others who know the topic less well."

"You have to have your elevator statement or people won't listen to you," Schneider said.

"What I always suggest is that scientists find metaphors that convey both urgency and uncertainty, so that you can get people's attention while at the same time not overstating the case," he said. "Then you have websites and backup articles and books where you can give the full story, but you have to have your sound bite and your op ed piece."

Environmental justice equals environmental effectiveness

Schneider will also present a talk titled "A Scientific Perspective on Climate Change-Related Environmental Justice Issues," during the symposium "Environmental Justice and Climate Change," tomorrow at the AAAS meeting.

A disproportionate share of the effects of global warming are going to fall on developing nations, along with the poor and the elderly in wealthier nations, according to Schneider, who added that 75 percent of the accumulated greenhouse gases in the atmosphere came from 20 percent of the world's people, who live in wealthy countries.

"We've been using the atmosphere as a free sewer to dump our tailpipe and smokestack waste since the Victorian industrial revolution and now we tell the developing world, sorry, guys, the sewer's full," he said.

Telling the developing world they can't use energy resources they have at hand, such as coal and natural gas, won't have any effect unless we offer them alternatives that are cleaner, Schneider said. He said the U.S. has to accelerate the rate at which we are developing green energy sources such as solar and wind.

"The U.S. has to walk the walk if they expect to talk the talk and convince China and India and Indonesia, Brazil and Mexico - not to say anything about the even poorer countries with less skill and money - into following suit," he said. "We have to clean up our own act and then help them clean up theirs with technology and some resources."

Schneider said that we also have to work to mitigate the impacts on poor and elderly people in developed countries. Although it is impossible to lay any particular weather event at the feet of global warming, nonetheless one can get an idea of how the expected increase in extreme weather events will affect people by looking at the effects of storms such as Hurricane Katrina.

"Who died? The poor," he said.

The European heat wave in 2003 is another example, in which approximately 50,000 people died. "You know what they were primarily? Elderly. The elderly are much more vulnerable and they did not have proper adaptation measures," he said. "

"These events are going to happen dramatically more often than they used to because of warming," Schneider said. "National governments have to consult local leaders in both the public and private sectors to figure out the most politically and cost effective solutions to help localities cope with increasing global warming".

Source: Stanford University

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Arkaleus
4 / 5 (16) Feb 13, 2009
Science doesn't need media, social engineering does.

His complaint that climatology isn't getting covered by specialists in the media is bogus - his problem is that he doesn't have a propaganda network to distribute IPCC dogma. To condition the public to accept a new climate-based authority structure there has to be a continual deluge of newthink education.

I suggest we come together to reject wonks like Schneider and send the global warming cabal back to work for a living again, instead of bilking the ignorant on junk science hysteria.
Arkaleus
4.3 / 5 (17) Feb 13, 2009
I reject the following arguments presented:

- Human activity causes heat waves and storms.

- Climatology must be presented to the general population through media with the express intent of creating a sense of urgency.

- Harsh weather and natural disasters are caused by man, thus can be prevented by taxation and bureaucracy.

- IPCC has a complete understanding of the functions of climate, atmosphere, and weather on earth, and must be accepted as an authority without review by other scientific bodies.
lengould100
3.6 / 5 (9) Feb 13, 2009
You've got to cover the multiple views and the relative credibility of each view


If only that single message could be gotten across emphatically to any reporter covering a science issue.

It is clearly a problem not only with climate science coverage but with any issue of science where there is some percieved level of controversy (efficacy of nuclear power, evolution / creation, peak oil, usefullness of wind generation, claims of medical problems being caused by electrical transmission lines, etc. etc.) when journalists, in order to present a "balanced article" as they've been taught in journalism school, pesent both sides of the issue as being equally valid and likely to be true. More scientifically knowledgeable journalists should be able to present both sides, but with some clear indication of the level of liklihood or trustworthiness of each side.
lengould100
3.7 / 5 (3) Feb 13, 2009
(change "liklihood or trustworthiness of each side" above to "credible scientific evidence available for each side")
Velanarris
4.3 / 5 (12) Feb 13, 2009
Len, I completely agree. Ark, I also agree with some of your sentiment. If Schneider had stopped at his initial statement regarding scientific naivete of the media I'd be in complete agreement with him. As it stands from reading this article I can barely fathom the amount of hypocracy I just read.
TheRogue
4.4 / 5 (13) Feb 13, 2009
I recall that about 40 years ago we were getting the same kind of media coverage about the rapidly coming ice age. And lots of politicians and ALL the major media jumped onboard. The "science" then was just about what it is now... theory. As is most science. Whatever they're spouting this decade will be quite different the next. And anytime some media craving and crazed "scientist" starts telling me what I need or need to do, it's time for me to hit the road!
go4gr8
3.8 / 5 (10) Feb 13, 2009
I recently saw a really cool bumpersticker:

"STOP GLOBAL WHINING"

So let's all buy Range Rovers and warm up the planet. This year's winter was way too cold!
gmurphy
1.8 / 5 (16) Feb 13, 2009
@TheRogue, the predictions of a coming ice age made in the 1950's was due to the sudden onset of cold weather. We now know (from ice core readings and atmospheric measurements) that this cold weather was caused by pollutant particles primarily from coal burning (a uniquely human activity) which blocked out the sun http://en.wikiped..._of_1952 Climatic science has advanced considerably since then and while there is much to be done in improving the precision of these models/theories, they have consistently predicted heating due to CO2 pollution, heating which we now observe globally through accurate satellite measurements, a phenomenon which we can deduce from multiple independent temperature proxies is unique in the scale and the speed of the warming observed. To simply dismiss these observations would be foolhardy verging on reckless. Humanity has survived so far because we have paid due attention to the threats we face, as a species we are instinctively programmed to be cautious and if this paranoia is what gets us through the next few million years in peace and prosperity then I'm all for it.
barakn
1.6 / 5 (14) Feb 13, 2009
Regarding the "coming ice age," the predictions were not made in the 1950s, they were made in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and unlike today's general consensus amongst the scientific community on AGW, only 10% of the papers presented then favored this hypothesis - the rest predicted future warming. Scientists have been in general agreement on AGW for far longer than most AGW skeptics would care to believe. Sorry for the inadvertent low ranking, gmurphy.
RAL
4.6 / 5 (10) Feb 14, 2009
Schneider seems quite exercised not about science but about the media not making selling of his opinions a top priority. And he appears to have an opinion on everything from poverty to what to do about China & Mexico to the elderly and what 'we' ought to be doing. None of this is science, or even about science. It is an intellectually dishonest attempt to wrap his personal opinions in the guise of science. He discredits not only himself, but by holding himself out as a representative of science, he erodes the position of those who place value in science as a means of discovery, not as a way to manipulate public policy.

Respect for science is under seige. Schneider doesn't help when he whines about the media not pushing his Favorite Katrina Theory. It lowers science to just another means of manipulating opinion.
Mercury_01
1.8 / 5 (4) Feb 14, 2009
Arkeleus, I am a believer in at least some measurable degree of human caused, and hence, media worthy and taxable hype, but I must concur with your main points. I can see why some people would go full retard against any notion of man- caused global warming. Thank you for opening my eyes to the virtues of left-brained black and white science.
Mayday
4.5 / 5 (8) Feb 14, 2009
Particpating in the endless no-win-all-whine debating is missing the greater point. This is not a climatological or earth science issue. It is about mass psychology and manipulation. Keeping the debate alive(from either side) just fuels the AGW Brand. Politicos use this technique all the time.

The clearest way to understand the futility of debate is to take note of the simple fact that the AGW adherants have no end goal for their "movement." There are no defined objectives that they want to achieve. Stopping climate change? Ah, good luck with that!

We are inexhorably being drive to mass social and structural change through this use/miss-use/abuse of convenient data points, theory and conjecture. But why? Who wins in the end? Well, try using the old gum-shoe detective saws. 1)follow the money. And 2)usually the most obvious explanation is the right one.

And don't forget to throw in a good dose of "fleas for the dog" thinking. If you want to keep a nosey dog out of trouble, just throw some fleas on him.

Keep scratchin' and the AGW Brand marches on.
fleem
4.3 / 5 (6) Feb 14, 2009
...and STILL no sunspots...

http://tinyurl.com/7ld4bx
Soylent
4.2 / 5 (5) Feb 14, 2009
I recall that about 40 years ago we were getting the same kind of media coverage about the rapidly coming ice age.


Funny that.

I remember one article about global dimming that expressed some concern about cooling if particulate emissions were to keep increasing, it wasn't taken very seriously by fellow climate researchers but was decontextualized and misrepresented by the media.

The "science" then was just about what it is now... theory.


Theories and facts are different kinds of entities. Theories never become facts, no matter the weight of evidence behind them, no matter how accepted they are, no matter their explanatory power.

Semiconductor theory is extremely useful; without it there's no internet, no microprocessors, no DRAM. But it will never become a fact.
Entropic_Dreaming
3.9 / 5 (11) Feb 14, 2009
Anyone saying CO2 is responsible for changing the earth's climate has never looked at real evidence, period.

I'd let them go on in their delusion, because quite frankly, I have more important things to do than jump on a bandwagon pulled by the ignorant media and placed in the ignorant masses.

Show me ONE valid piece of evidence that the earth is warming due to CO2 and I'll consider it.

But, sadly, despite ten years of looking, I have YET to find a SINGLE piece of evidence that humans are altering the climate.

It simply is not happening; if the alarmists can come up with real science that supports their claim, power to them. But until then, they're just bleating sheep, albeit sheep that are bleating "Fire, fire!"

Meet the burden of proof.
Noein
1.3 / 5 (12) Feb 14, 2009
I reject the following arguments presented:

- Human activity causes heat waves and storms.

- Climatology must be presented to the general population through media with the express intent of creating a sense of urgency.

- Harsh weather and natural disasters are caused by man, thus can be prevented by taxation and bureaucracy.

- IPCC has a complete understanding of the functions of climate, atmosphere, and weather on earth, and must be accepted as an authority without review by other scientific bodies.


This is what I reject:

1. The religious teachings of big oil's Church of Global Warming Denialism, that cornucopia of lies, distortions, and obfuscation engineered to advance a religious/political/economic agenda that has absolutely NOTHING to do with science.

2. The incoherent ramblings of the frothing fanatics of the Church of Global Warming Denialism, the legions of drooling drones who parrot what their lord and savior, big oil, tell them to think.

3. The entirety of the content of the Denialosphere, the massive big oil-funded blogosphere dedicated to propagating the religious teachings of global warming denialism, the source of much of the imbecilic rantings and ravings of the denialists.

Global warming denialism is a religious cult, appealing to self-centered narcissists, greedy corporatists, pollution-loving conservatives, anarchy-loving libertarians, science-hating bible thumpers, and gluttonous energy hogs who feel entitled to engage in orgasmic energy consumption.
saklat
3.7 / 5 (10) Feb 14, 2009
Science IS politics. Climate change is cyclical. Yes, we should take sensible steps to be 'green' but scientists jump on these issues to ensure they receive funding; I consider that political. And the media just jump on whatever looks like bad news. Both ignore (and/or rewrite) history and facts and are happy to rely on computer modelling and GIGO.
deatopmg
4.4 / 5 (9) Feb 14, 2009
@NOEIN You've got just about everything backwards based in the scientific facts and your dogma. You are using an obvious classic cult technique - accuse the other side of having your faults. A slick but ineffective way of trying hide your own failings.

1) big oil may be to blame for some of the "denialism" but AGW researchers and their followers are to blame for fanning the flames of fear by lying, cheating, and doing whatever it takes to a) ensure their incomes remain in tact and b)further their religious dogma. This is not unlike the RC church of old and people like Butthead Chavez. Grab and maintain power at ANY cost.
2)this is childish silliness - in the west, big oil has little power over the ruling financial interests. You are ignoring those facts just as you choose to ignore the physical scientific facts about AGW. You just need someone or something to be angry at, not unlike the Brownshirts of the 30's
3)OMG - better start taking your meds again.

The last paragraph is not even worthy of comment.
fingersinterlaced
1 / 5 (6) Feb 14, 2009
Cut down most of the trees, burn up a bunch of oxygen, increase CO2 in the atmosphere.

Continue these activities indefinately.

Something has to give eventually. Ergo, we should probably do something differently at some point.

Regardless, this civilization will collapse at some point. Civilizations have a funny habit of doing that. Future archeologists will call us Homo concreo-plasticus for the thick stratum of concrete & plastic that we leave behind.

Anyway, let's suck this rock dry n get the hell out of here. It's a big galaxy, I wouldn't worry about species loss & habitat distruction, cos really on the grand scheme of things we're pretty insignificant.

But hey, what ever helps you sleep at night, cos at the end of the day: you can kill a man but you can't change his mind.

Thanks for your opinion.
Velanarris
5 / 5 (7) Feb 15, 2009
Noein, you've been asked to present something, anything from the AGW/AGCC hypothesis that is testable and holds to be true or predictive of observation. As so far you ahve been completely unable, meanwhile people you call denialists can provide evidence and research that contradicts your beloved AGW/AGCC statements consistantly.

Back up your statements.
MikeB
5 / 5 (4) Feb 15, 2009
Steven Schneider is a self-admitted liar and exaggerater who wants everyone else involved with him to lie also.

Stephen Schneider, a lead IPCC author said:
%u201CWe need to get some broad based support,
to capture the public%u2019s imagination%u2026
So we have to offer up scary scenarios,
make simplified, dramatic statements
and make little mention of any doubts%u2026
Each of us has to decide what the right balance
is between being effective and being honest.%u201D

Chris Field is one of Schneider's associates on the Stanford University Global-Warming-Alarm-Team.

He has just upped the ante again with more unscientific alarmism here:

http://news.bbc.c...0988.stm
Mayday
5 / 5 (9) Feb 15, 2009
You know what? The AGWs are not going to provide any real evidence here, nor any real goals or end game plans. All they have is hype and rhetoric and headlines (which unfortunately is all they need.). The AGW PR machine exploits the two-week hit-and-run news cycle with consumate skill.

However, if they REALLY belived it is as they preach, they would be doing things quite a bit differently. The right course would be to demand action that would save lives, reduce global trauma and build cooperation between the most affected governments and people. For example, if I were an AGW, I would be advocating immediate cooperation between the low-lying countries to begin the neccessary mass migrations of people from the highest risk ocean-front areas. Also, a global conference of mass migration should be convened to understand and to prepare people, at the very least, emotionally. The alternative would surely be global war.

And I would advocate new, more stringent global housing standards to create homes that can survive unusual storm conditions.

And of course, we would need to work quickly to develop global cooperation and binding treaties for the new food distribution patterns that would be necessary once the climate tilts as far as predicted (and as fast).

But notice how many AGWs are working to do these things. Zero. I hear nothing. Nada.

Why? Because there is no need. Their agenda is quite different. I'll call it "de-distribution of wealth" for lack of a better name. The best way to raise the poor of the world and to globally spread the wealth of mankind is to spread energy availability and to advance each family unit's energy sources up the ladder from wood and coal through liquid hydrocarbons on up to electricity and natural gas to, finally, just electricity. And at the same time, to move people from inefficient sustainance to more sohisticated economic exchange that encourages movement up from small labor-intensive agriculture and manufacturing to larger, technologically-based manufacturing cultures and service industries. Along the way, the entire process can be accelerated with deep penetration of communication tools and technologies. And of course, an advanced global transportation network that keeps it all flowing.

The AGWs don't want this. De-distribution of wealth requires that each one of these advancements in the global human condition be labelled "evil." AGW mind-wash tells you that advancement through this global industrial age toward a widely-wealth-dispursed technologial global community will be so painful and distructive that we must avoid it at all costs.

So, their recipe is to shut down production and to "go green", which keeps your head down, blinders firmly in place and you happily not thinking for yourself.

The people behind AGW have their wealth and they intend to keep it in the family. For eternity.

Thank you.
rubberman
2 / 5 (3) Feb 15, 2009
If big oil has no power over the ruling financial interests, then I guess it would be business as usual if they were to say...immediately halt providing their product to those ruling financial interests? yeah....OK.

Of course the same can be said for only 2 other "industries", the first one is valid...food production. The second one however is the money "industry". Remove any one of these three and society as a whole collapses, so at this point in history the human race needs oil, grant money and fries... We can deal with climate change and we will. I personally hope that the earth is warming because if we humans are charged with regulating the climate to best suit our own existence, the warming would be easier to "control" than rapid cooling, and would be far less damaging to most of the world. (Still devastating to parts of course, but as a whole, more supportive to life than an ice cube...)

Having said that, why not use all the wind and solar power we can? The fact is, these two sources of power will far outlast oil should the human race manage to survive a million years. It is inevitable that big oil will die one day...just not one day soon.
NeilFarbstein
1 / 5 (8) Feb 15, 2009
The Levys in new Orleans broke as a result of lies by the army corps of engineers that no greenhouse warming was occurring. The press never pressed the issue either. They built levys that were too weak to hold the storm waters.
GrayMouser
5 / 5 (6) Feb 16, 2009
For TheRouge:
I recall that about 40 years ago we were getting the same kind of media coverage about the rapidly coming ice age. And lots of politicians and ALL the major media jumped onboard. The "science" then was just about what it is now... theory. As is most science. Whatever they're spouting this decade will be quite different the next. And anytime some media craving and crazed "scientist" starts telling me what I need or need to do, it's time for me to hit the road!


Dr Hansen was one of the people pushing the coming ice age back in the 70s. Now he's pushing AGW. One of these days he may come up with a luck guess. He sure won't get it from his computer models...

For Neil:
The Levys in new Orleans broke as a result of lies by the army corps of engineers that no greenhouse warming was occurring. The press never pressed the issue either. They built levys that were too weak to hold the storm waters.

The levees in New Orleans broke because of political corruption. The Army Corps of Engineers were not allowed to maintain or upgrade the levees and the politicians pocketed the money.
glaubel
5 / 5 (5) Feb 16, 2009
All anybody ever wanted was that they keep the science clean. That's all.

Pronouncing from on high then relying on media synergy and govt. funded "legitimacy" to propagate a grossly flawed meme started in 1979 by Gurdjieff mystics on Robert Fripp's prog rock album Exposure song "The Flood".

Instead of media management & social networking, if they gave even a passing nod to accuracy vs. precision, the concept of measurement error, genuine peer review and the epistemological discussion and development of the hypotheses.

Where is it? All they say is believe.





jv9
4 / 5 (4) Feb 16, 2009
Science has always been political.

Global warming is a political agenda and an economic one. It is about money. People like Hansen and this young reporter are only tools. Economic cash flows, carbon taxes, global trade, political positions, venture fund tax breaks, are at stake.
Camper
1 / 5 (7) Feb 16, 2009
Schneider is spot-on. As someone who makes his living in media analysis, I can offer some advice. First, the Mainstream Media are fragmenting in all directions; the most widely watched news sources simply do not cover science, because, in their view, Rupert Murdoch has proven that only sensationalism attracts a large audience. That means sports, sex, scandal and news that gets the blood pumping.

Second, most scientists have been completely clueless about getting the story out via complex, combined media and events. Hey, even most advertising pros struggle with this, so it's not surprising to see rank amateurs flounder at it.

Third, science needs to partner with the pros. That means ad agencies and PR firms. Especially those who understand Web strategies, social media and events, and who have a history of great creative expression.

At heart, scientists must realize that they are engaged in a battle of ideas, and the energy-industry-funded opposition has stolen a march. It's time for science to speak up, loudly and well.
Velanarris
5 / 5 (4) Feb 17, 2009
So Camper, I'm guessing you've never been to realclimate.org, icecap.us, noaa.gov, nasa.gov, etc.
dachpyarvile
5 / 5 (2) Feb 19, 2009
The truth is, it is the IPCC camp and the AGCC/AGW believers who are more like the religious bible-thumpers than those who are the deniers. Just as the thumpers take Bible passages out of context to advocate and enunciate their agenda-driven religiosity, as well as ostracize those who do not believe their views, so do the AGCC/AGW believers twist data out of context, drop facts and passages from scientific papers and raw data that are not conducive to their views and ostracize those who do not follow their views lockstep, and use hyperbole into driving members of the public to altar calls.
Arkaleus
5 / 5 (3) Feb 20, 2009
Noein, you just sound crazy.

No one here loves oil companies or has any motivation to assist their destructive policies.

I think we need to break the link between doubting AGW and love for oil companies. How did that become connected in your mind? Lay off the Al Gore bong - you sound like a hysterical man screaming on the street about the end of the world.

dachpyarvile
5 / 5 (1) Feb 21, 2009
In addition, there are skeptics here who actually do their part to help the planet. For instance, in my home, we regularly recycle twice (sometimes three times!) more than we put in the trash.

It bugs me that I have to pay full charges for trash service when I use it so infrequently. :)

In addition, I curse oil companies every time I go to the beach and step in oil goop on the shore or go to the pump. I would invest in hybrid technologies if they were up to par but it has a long way to go before it is viable enough for me to rely upon. I cannot travel far enough between supply centers for such technologies before being stranded in remote locations. I still would end up having to use gasoline. And, since there is no valid evidence thus far that will stand up to scrutiny that CO2 emissions cause global warming, I have no problem using gasoline for the entire trip. :)
Velanarris
5 / 5 (3) Feb 21, 2009
In addition, there are skeptics here who actually do their part to help the planet. For instance, in my home, we regularly recycle twice (sometimes three times!) more than we put in the trash.
Very true.

Unlike most of the outspoken AGW proponents I run off grid. Not because I want to save the planet, but because I want to save money. Push the economic incentives, not some hocus pocus scary CO2 boogeyman that isn't well supported by science.
dachpyarvile
5 / 5 (3) Feb 21, 2009
Agreed. Speaking of running off-grid...as you know, Al Gore is one of the biggest hypocrites on the planet. He uses much more than the average in electricity than most people in the US, contributing to increases in CO2 emissions.

He eases his own "conscience" by buying "carbon offsets" from a company which he owns. And, he does this all the while making $150,000 an engagement speaking about how we all need to do our part in reducing CO2 emissions in order to "save the planet." :)

http://www.usatod...en_x.htm
dachpyarvile
5 / 5 (3) Feb 21, 2009
"Gore's 'carbon offsets' paid to firm he owns

Critics say justification for energy-rich lifestyle serves as way for former VP to profit"

* * *

"...Gore, whose film warning of a coming cataclysm due to man-made "global warming" won two Oscars, has a mansion in the posh Belle Meade area of Nashville that consumes more electricity every month than the average American household uses in an entire year, according to the Tennessee Center for Policy Research, citing data from the Nashville Electric Service."

* * *

http://www.worldn...ID=54528
DozerIAm
5 / 5 (1) Feb 23, 2009
"...the predictions of a coming ice age made in the 1950's was due to the sudden onset of cold weather. We now know (from ice core readings and atmospheric measurements) that this cold weather was caused by pollutant particles primarily from coal burning (a uniquely human activity) which blocked out the sun..."


I don't recall the sun being blocked out. One would think that would have been memorable.

Climate "Science" is more a belief system than a science. Yes, climatological measurements are made and perhaps one could make an argument for their relative accuracy, and even their historical value. However, our understanding of our planetary weather system's mechanisms are at best rudementary, and as a result the interpretation of those measurements are problematic. The computer models, programmed as they are by people without a strong understanding of how weather actually works on a macro level, produces results that are at best likewise problematic.

And then the media picks up the worst of a series of test runs and declares that "the news", which weaker minded readers then absorb and accept as the new baseline from which to panic.

Ugh.

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