5.6 Making Sense of Climate Science Denial MOOC videos: a resource for educators and meteorologists

Tuesday, 12 January 2016: 2:45 PM
Room 353 ( New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center)
Keah C. Schuenemann, Metropolitan State University, Boulder, CO; and J. Cook

Meteorologists have the daunting responsibility of being knowledgeable about climate change, despite their lack of formal training on the topic. Oftentimes they are the only scientist a member of the public may know of, and their only trusted source of scientific information, yet a meteorology degree usually only requires a single climate course in which modern anthropogenic climate change is sometimes never even discussed. The AMS statement on a Bachelor's degree in Atmospheric Science says, “Programs should seek to help students understand the application of weather and climate information in a broader context, from the public interpretation of weather forecasts to the policy implications of climate change.” However, only one of the eight topics recommended under Climate Dynamics is “Causes of past and future climate change.” How can meteorologists be expected to be the face of science communication to the public if they have no training on how to confront common climate change denial myths, and little expertise in the science? Psychological studies have determined the best ways to debunk widespread incorrect information on climate change. These methods were used when creating a series of myth-debunking videos for the Massive Open Online Course (MOOC), “Making sense of climate science denial,” which has made a series of short climate change myth-debunking videos freely available for communication purposes. One of the goals of the course is that the videos act as an ongoing resource for teachers, professors, students, the public, and science communicators such as meteorologists. Meteorologists can take the course, currently available in self-paced mode on EdX, or they can simply use the videos as a resource. Whether they link viewers to the video or just use it as a means of quickly learning about a topic themselves, they are a valuable resource. By focusing on common myths, the MOOC has made an archive of videos that can be used by anyone in need of a 5-minute response to debunk a myth. The videos also include a series of expert scientist interviews that can be used to drive home points, as well as put some faces to the science. These videos are freely available outside of the MOOC and can be found under the relevant “Most used climate myths” section on the skepticalscience.com webpage, as well as directly on YouTube. The videos and the visuals within have proven a great resource for an introductory college level climate change course, but ideas for other uses will be presented as well. If the current generation of meteorologists is minimally educated in climate change science and communication, this MOOC and the videos within may serve as an excellent professional development or continuing education opportunity for meteorologists.
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