Geoscience module for meteorology curricula

Thursday 11:30am-1:30pm UMC Aspen Rooms
Poster Presentation Part of Teaching Controversial Topics


Thom Davis, Bentley University
Lisa Doner, Plymouth State University
Mary Ann McGarry, Plymouth State University
Mark Turski, Plymouth State University
Recent studies indicate that meteorologists lag Earth system scientists by 9-18% in accepting anthropogenic forcing of climate change (Maibach et al. 2014). This gap is 30% for broadcast meteorologists (Wilson 2012). To better understand this issue for climate change communication, we investigate climate literacy of meteorology professionals and students (NSF award DRL-1222752). Survey responses from 139 students, representing 10 (14%) of U.S. meteorology degree granting programs, indicate that student knowledge on climate topics is <75%. They have little understanding of the ability for models to generate climate change predictions (68%) and of climate models in general (66.7%). Even greater gaps occur with Earth surface aspects of climate, like spatial-temporal scales (49-54%); the carbon cycle, including the role of CO2 in ocean acidification (55%); and how volcanic and industrial aerosols affect climate (54%).

The 2010 American Meteorological Society curriculum recommendations to improve climate training appear to be inadequate, a finding supported by recent surveys (Stenhouse et al., 2014). Specialized training in geological aspects of climate could improve the climate literacy, and perhaps climate science communication to the public, by meteorologists. Through the Earth Educator's Rendezvous, we hope to develop a module on geologic processes and feedbacks for introductory or advanced meteorology classes to address their climate literacy needs.

Maibach, E., T. Myers, and A. Leiserowitz (2014), Climate scientists need to set the record straight: There is a scientific consensus that human-caused climate change is happening, Earth's Future, 2, doi:10.1002/2013EF000226.

Stenhouse, N., Maibach, E., Cobb, S., Ban, R., Bleistein, A., Croft, P., Bierly, E., Seitter, K., Rasmussen, G. and Leiserowitz, A. 2014: Meteorologists' Views About Global Warming: A Survey of American Meteorological Society Professional Members. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 95, 1029–1040.

Wilson, K.M. 2012: Ideology trumps meteorology: Why many television weathercasters remain unconvinced of human-caused global warming. Electronic News, 6(4), 208-228.

Presentation Media

3 Geoscience Modules for Meteorology Majors (Acrobat (PDF) 2.1MB Jul16 15)