Meteorologist Don Day: The media writing about ‘climate clickbait’ uses a well-known phrase

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By Ellen Fike and Jimmy Orr, Cowboy State Daily

Meteorologist Don Day, often referred to as “the Wyoming meteorologist,” wants the media to be more selective about what data they use to write about the weather.

Day, responding to a recent story on the use of air conditioning in the western Rocky Mountains, said that while history claims temperatures are rising steadily, it offers no data to support that claim.

“Most of the climate reporting is like this, rich in anecdotes and light in all the data,” said Day, the founder of DayWeather.

The story reported by Wyoming’s state media referred to hot weather in some areas, citing Sheridan as an example, but Day said he offered no solid data to back up the claims.

“June and July were hot, but didn’t break any records as it was warmer in 1988 and 2007,” Day said. “August in Sheridan was cooler than last year and 2019. It’s really easy to pick the weather data to prove it’s hot or cold. ”

He added that although October 2019 in Sheridan was the coldest on record, this fact is not evidence of a global cooling.

“There really is no harsh weather data in history, a few references to hot days, but no long-term data trend is provided,” he said.

Day said the “climate click bait” stories followed a six-point formula:

  1. Shocking title.
  2. Claim the recently observed weather conditions to be the worst on record, possibly using handpicked or misleading data.
  3. A quote from a scientist who is probably not in atmospheric science and says it is the worst and more is to come.
  4. Quote from another article or link to a document that an environmental group wrote.
  5. Another claim of impending doom.
  6. It’s time to change all that, we can change the weather if only we change our ways, there is hope but only if you do what we say.

“You will see this model over and over again in the media / press, watch the model,” Day said.

Day said that people’s perception of what they see in the weather is often based on what they are experiencing now instead of looking back for a historical perspective.

“If I had a dime for every time I saw a news article that said ‘it was the worst ever’ I would be rich,” he said, comparing the hyperbolic coverage of the story. hurricane Ida to past hurricanes.

“It was nothing like Hurricane Camille or many hurricanes of the late 1960s or 1970s, but the perception is that it was the worst hurricane ever,” Day said.

Camille was the most powerful tropical cyclone on record in the world and one of only four tropical cyclones in the world to reach wind speeds of 190 mph. Camille killed 259 people and caused $ 1.42 billion in damage in 1969 dollars.

Day said reporters will often interview people who offer personal anecdotes and then present their stories as evidence of another sign of man-made climate change and “we are destroying the climate.”

“We’ve seen these weather patterns before, we’ve seen them in the 1940s and 1950s, but it’s all forgotten,” he said.

The lack of tornadoes this year was also ignored by most of the media, Day said. Until June 2021, the total number of tornadoes is the lowest since the 1950s.

“I could issue a press release this year saying this was one of the least active tornado seasons ever and blame climate change, but no one would cover it,” Day said. “Because you can’t associate something positive with climate change, it must be the end of the world. “

Day said he does not deny that human activity can impact the climate. He describes himself as a “climate realist”.

“Yes, human-related emissions may have played a role in warming over the past few decades,” Day said. “However, the constant mantra of politicians, media and environmental groups that every major weather event is somehow the result of human activity is intellectually dishonest.”

“The weather and climate we experience are also determined by many variables that do not include greenhouse gases over which we have absolutely no control. You can point your finger at human activity and greenhouse gases until the cows come home, but that’s not the whole story of the climate, ”he said.

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