Meteorologists: Implicit in Weather Bigotry

Meteorology is supposed to be a science, making meteorologists scientists. As such, should not their forecasts be objective? Often their reports are otherwise. For example, everyone should know that in order for plants to grow and provide us with food, rain is a necessity. Yet, many meteorologists couch rain in negative terms (as in this video of a weatherman who refers to the end of rain showers as “good news”.)

I call this weather bigotry. If the forecast is anything but sunny and clear, often words creep in that cast everyday weather events in a negative light. We get this with cold temperatures, snow, cloudiness, etc.  It’s time to stop this emotional labeling of weather and, I suggest, take the opportunity to teach the benefits of weather that is less than what most would term “ideal’.

So, when a prolonged cold spell persists in Winter, it is good news in that these weather patterns help control the insect populations by killing off larvae as well as some adults.  Cloudy periods reduce evaporation which allows more moisture to stay in the soil.  Snow recharges ground water, by far the largest source of fresh water world wide.

So please, meteorologists, please report the weather forecast like good scientists. Provide the facts and spell out not only why variable weather patterns occur but the ecosystem services many of them provide.

For the rest of us, perhaps this quote by Charles Burchfield will help you better appreciate what Nature provides us when all is not sunny and bright.

Burchfields "Lull in Summer Rain"

Painting by Charles Burchfield entitled “Lull in Summer Rain”. (Photo and quotation courtesy of the Burchfield Penney Art Center, Buffalo, NY)

“There is a beauty about a rainy day that is hard to express. There is a sort of rest + peacefulness about it. We seem nearer to the creator on such a day— the barriers have been let down.—The moist air holds the smoke prisoner + the breeze carries it idly about, mingling it with its own steamy breath until we cannot tell which is which. The damp cool air is like no other thing in nature. Our thoughts + movements indeed are softened. On rainy days the man is thrown back on his own resources—as we find an absence of sunlight, bird + insect songs. All things swell—the earth trees plants wood + even iron. Why should not the same thing be true of our minds? We must expand, like the leaves, if we would receive all the cleansing water in our souls.”  ~ Charles E. Burchfield, August 12, 1914

One thought on “Meteorologists: Implicit in Weather Bigotry

  1. This is evident in a lot of reporting now. Story telling has largely replaced reporting as “journalist” construct attention grabbing narratives rather than reporting what is happening.

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