Monday, March 5th 2012, 2:04 PM EST
Broadcast weather reports have come a long way from the day when on-air forecasters were aspiring stand-up comedians who wore thundercloud hats and worked with singing animals.
Nearly half of television forecasters today have degrees in meteorology, and many serve as their station's or network's resident scientist. They tell you if you need to take an umbrella to work, but they also explain El Niños and La Niñas and how they affect regional weather patterns.
But climate change activists want broadcast weathercasters to look far beyond the five-day forecast and talk about global warming. They would like to hear forecasters talk about how emissions of power plants, factories and automobiles are spurring climate change.
"The broadcast meteorologists are the closest to a scientist that many Americans ever see," said Susan Joy Hassol, executive director of the Boulder, Colo.-based nonprofit Climate Communication. "This is the person who brings science into their living room every day, so this is really a community that should be talking about climate change -- because climate change is affecting weather, and it is affecting our lives."