Climate change in the mix when Tampa Bay area meteorologists meet this Friday?

Posted by Mitch Perry on Wed, Feb 20, 2013 at 10:18 AM

Bay News 9's Mike Clay
  • Bay News 9's Mike Clay
Four local Tampa Bay area television weathermen — Mike Clay of Bay News 9, Paul Dellegatto of WTVT-TV, Bobby Deskins of WTSP-TV, and Brooks Garner of WFLA-TV — will convene for a panel discussion on Friday, Feb. 22, at 11 a.m. at the C.W. Bill Young Hall on the USF Tampa campus.

In the wake of Superstorm Sandy, polls show more Americans than ever believe global warming is real and needs to be addressed. However, Dellegatto and Clay have made comments that question the theory.

Forecast the Facts is a grassroots organization that tracks TV weathercasters. It launched a campaign to hold meteorologists accountable for their words, and call out those who deny climate change. Dellegatto and Clay were both placed on the "Climate Denier Weatherman" list.

In 2009, Dellegatto reportedly said, "I just think the whole global warming doomsdayer theory is tough to see based on current calculations."

This inspired Keith Olbermann on MSNBC to include Dellegatto in one of his Worst People in the World segments.

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Then there's Bay News 9's Mike Clay, who in 2010 told Eric Deggans of the Times , "I first heard about global warming in a conference I attended in 1988 ... I remember someone saying 'Be wary of (researchers) who tell you there's a problem, because if they tell you there's no problem, their (research funding) goes away.'"

But according to a 2010 New York Times article, a study by researchers at George Mason University and the University of Texas at Austin confirmed that Clay and Dellagatto are hardly outliers in the world of meteorologists.

... only about half of the 571 television weathercasters surveyed believed that global warming was occurring and fewer than a third believed that climate change was "caused mostly by human activities."

More than a quarter of the weathercasters in the survey agreed with the statement “Global warming is a scam,” the researchers found.

Of course, that was three years ago. Since that time we've been breaking local, state, federal and worldwide records for heat. So maybe we'll see a change of heart at the USF panel? Stay tuned.

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