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“The findings of this latest survey show that TV weathercasters play — or can play — an important role as informal climate change educators.”

The survey found that 87 percent discussed climate change at community speaking events or in on-air banter with news anchors; only 37 percent addressed the topic during their forecast — mostly due to time constraints. The TV weathercasters also want to be fair: Seventy-nine percent said global warming broadcast segments must reflect “a balance of viewpoints.”

Personal opinions are still a work in progress.

The survey also found that 54 percent of the forecasters agreed that “global warming is happening,” though 25 percent disagreed with the idea and 21 percent were unsure. Almost half said they needed a lot more information before forming “a firm opinion.”

The survey of 1,373 TV weathercasters was conducted throughout January and February; the study was funded by the National Science Foundation. The findings can be seen at www.climatechangecommunications.org.