We hear about weather and climate all the time, but do we really know the difference in between? Weather is actually the day-to-day state of the atmosphere, and its short-term variation in minutes to weeks, while Climate is the weather of a place averaged over a period of time, often 30 years.
We talk about climate change in terms of years, decades, and centuries. Scientists study climate to look for trends or cycles of variability, such as change in wind patterns, ocean surface temperatures and precipitation over the equatorial Pacific that result in El Nino and La Nina, and also place cycles or other phenomena into the bigger picture of possible longer term or more permanent climate changes.
As most people say fake news is old news, daily scandals are the new normal, it’s difficult to strike a balance between serious and sensational news. Whenever you watch the news, do you ever notice how much time media is allotting on weather or climate news?
Weather forecasters try to answer questions like: What will the temperature be tomorrow? Will it rain? How much rain will we have? Will there be thunderstorms? They are mostly based on models, incorporate observations or air pressure, temperature, humidity and winds to best estimate the current and future conditions in the atmosphere.
Climate change has been described as “catastrophe in slow motion.” The main reason why media isn’t covering the climate story all day is because of relentless distractions. “There is just so much happening at every moment, so many trees to distract from the burning forest behind them.”
The corporate media prefers distractions and even capitalizes in them, because scandal plays and pays better than substance. Think about it, CNN wouldn’t be able to reach that high ratings if they never featured President Donald Trump.
Even with less coverage of rallies, early morning tweets and late-night bombshells could permanently crowd climate change out of the news cycle unless media makes a change, unless it makes a decision to pursue the serious along with the sensational, the important along with the shocking.
The Earth’s climate has changed throughout the last 650,000 years and there have been 7 cycles of glacial advance and retreat, with the abrupt end of the last ice age and beginning of human civilization. The average surface temperature has risen about 1.62 Fahrenheit since the last 19th century, driven largely by increased carbon dioxide and other human-made emissions into the atmosphere.
The media has a responsibility to inform and power to decide what is and not in the national conversation. Climate change demands to be a constant and significant part of conversation, and it plays a vital role in making that happen.