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Only half of meteorologists think human emissions are major cause of climate change

In 2016 67%  of meteorologists said that humans have caused most or all climate change and The Guardian headlined that there was a Growing Consensus among Meteorologists. In 2017 that fell to only 49%. The Guardian said nothing.

Graph, Survey, meteorologists, climate change, 2017


In 2016 29% of  meteorologists thought climate change was largely or entirely man-made, but that fell to only 15% this year.

Figure how this result fits with the idea of the overwhelming evidence and 97% consensus. Which group on the planet after climate scientists should be the second profession to “get it” — how about  meteorologists?

So either:

1. meteorologists are really stupid, or

2. meteorologists know how hard it is to predict the climate.

From the survey results

Nearly half of weathercasters (49%) are convinced that the climate change over the past 50 years has been mostly or entirely due to human activity, and an additional two in ten (21%) think it is more or less equally caused by human activity and natural events. About two in ten (21%) think the change has been primarily or entirely due to natural events.

 Weathercasters have diverse views on the extent to which additional climate change can be averted over the next 50 years if mitigation measures are taken worldwide: only 17% think a large amount or all additional climate change can be averted; many more think a moderate (38%) or a small (31%) amount of additional climate change can be averted; and 13% think almost no additional climate change can be averted. Only 1% believe there will be no additional climate change over the next 50 years.

 Nearly all weathercasters (95%) think climate change—as defined by the American Meteorological Society—is happening; relatively few think it isn’t happening (2%) or don’t know (3%).


When asked if they had witnessed any positive outcomes in their communities as a result of climate change mitigation or adaptation activities, about a third (31%) of weathercasters reported that they had witnessed such outcomes.

Anthony Watts pointed out in 2016 that there were biases that would underestimate the skeptic vote:

Given that the operator of the survey, George Mason University is a hotbed of calls for prosecution and jailing of “deniers”, and that Edward Maibach is one of the people who signed the letter to the Whitehouse and who operated this particular AMS survey, I can’t say that I blame them. I wouldn’t have sent it in either when the man asking the questions might flag you for criminal prosecution for having an opinion he doesn’t like.

 George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication


Maibach, E., Perkins, D., Timm, K., Myers, T., Woods Placky, B., et al. (2017). A 2017 National Survey of Broadcast Meteorologists: Initial Findings. George Mason University, Fairfax, VA: Center for Climate Change Communication


Weathercaster Survey Report PDF


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