A Rant About Weather And Climate Inspired By The Past Week

A Rant About Weather And Climate Inspired By The Past Week

An irresponsible Facebook post about a snowstorm prompted this rant, but I am sure it will head in several direction as I write this in free-flowing form (literally). What is the allure of a social media post about a snow storm 10 to 20 days out? On Twitter, for example, you will see people say things like "this is only one model run but it has a gigantic storm 5 weeks from now." Guaranteed snow totals May or may not mention that it is one isolated model run Incorrect information about previous storms Usage of the word "blizzard" for situations that do not meet National Weather Service criteria. This season before you click "share" or retweet some provocative snowstorm forecast to family and friends, please verify the source of the information. There is a lot of weather information on social media, but all of it is not created equal. " Professor Katharine Hayhoe, a climate expert and effective science communicator, debunked 5 myths about climate change in the Washington Post. This "talking point" reared its head again that there is no "debate" about climate change. The peer-review process offers opportunities for anyone with a science idea, theory, or study to submit it for publication and evaluation by experts. There are even mechanisms within the publication process to respond to studies that you disagree with or find methodological flaws.

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Mornings like this provide a perfect opportunity to write about the topic that I love. The house is quite, and the family is still sleeping. I am a scientist and professor passionate about weather since my science project, “Can A 6th Grader Predict The Weather.” To this day, I remain very attentive to things that I observe about weather and climate. An irresponsible Facebook post about a snowstorm prompted this rant, but I am sure it will head in several direction as I write this in free-flowing form (literally).

Snow at a National Weather Service office. NWS

What is the allure of a social media post about a snow storm 10 to 20 days out? Yes, there is value when official sources like the National Weather Service provide guidance for planning and decision-makers. However, what is the “gold star” reward for everyone else on social media? This is a serious question. On Twitter, for example, you will see people say things like “this is only one model run but it has a gigantic storm 5 weeks from now.” Of course, I am exaggerating with that example since I said “5 weeks”, but I hope you get the point. What value is there for the person posting that information? Is it the desire to appear to be some “meteorological genius” because you can look at a run of one of many weather models? Is it to become “Twitter” famous? Some class elements that I see in such viral posts:

  • Unsubstantiated specific snow totals without ranges or statements of uncertainty
  • Out of context banter about the various models Euro and GFS as if those are the only two things to use to make a forecast.
  • Guaranteed snow totals
  • May or may not mention that it is one isolated model run
  • Incorrect information about previous storms
  • Usage of the word “blizzard” for situations that do not meet National Weather Service criteria.

This season before you click “share” or retweet some provocative snowstorm forecast to family and friends, please verify the source of the information. There is a lot of weather information on…

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