|TV, RADIO, AND MEDIA WEATHER TECHNOLOGY
METEOROLOGIST JEFF HABY
One critical function of TV, radio and media is weather information. Weather impacts all of our
lives. Impacts include weather disaster stories, severe weather warnings, the weather forecast, climate change
and preparing for the weather. This essay will focus on each of these topics and potential improvements.
Foul weather makes the news much more than good weather and for good reason. It is the bad we
need to prepare for. Good weather like good news is often no news in the media.
Common weather disasters include hurricanes, tornadoes, storm deaths, snow storms, ice storms,
or other weather and climate events such as drought. There are two things to learn
from weather disaster news stories and they are being informed of what happened and to learn what you
can try to do to avoid such a disaster. Stories such as flash flood deaths are important in that
they can lead to the public making a wiser decision in the future, which in this case is not driving into
high water or water of an unknown depth. In the case of snow and ice storms it can teach the public
to drive safe and avoid driving if they can during these events. We all know the numerous traffic
accidents that occur during a winter weather event. Media knows what to cover these news stories
before they happen. The public needs to learn from these stories in order to reduce the chance they
will be a part of the story in the future. Some weather disasters can not be prepared as well for when it comes
to protecting property. However, it can save lives. If a huge tornado hits a neighborhood there
is going to be major damage but hopefully the citizens have taken precautions to save their live. Hurricanes
are a huge story since they impact so many people. In the case of a hurricane citizens can take
significant precautions to protect their property. Evacuating plans and weather news are also
important functions that are transmitted through the media. Pay attention to weather stories and
learn from them.
Severe weather warnings are an important technology used by the media. Sources of weather warnings include
the NWS through weather radio/internet, broadcasting of NWS warnings on TV/radio, civil defense
siren systems and home protection alarm system broadcasting. While there are numerous ways the warnings
can be given to the public there is still a problem of many people not getting the warning. Examples
include people driving with no radio on and people sleeping with no alarm system that can go off. What
can be done is to provide a warning system for the most critical warnings even when media is
turned off. For example, all TV's and radios could have a system in which they would automatically turn on and broadcast
the warning. For today, the best way to get warning information in the quickest amount of time is to
have a battery operated NOAA weather radio. It has an alarm feature that will activate when a warning
is given for your local county. Since the NWS provides the warning and operates the NOAA weather radio you
will get the warning as it is issued. For those who want to get more specifics about the warning the
best media is the TV and Internet since you will have visual information to analyze. In the
case for TV you can also get more personalized information about the warning. Civil defense siren systems
work great provided the coverage is good enough so everyone can reasonably hear the siren and the siren is
activated in a timely fashion.
The big three in the media are news, weather and sports. The weather forecast is one of the daily
basic preparations that people need, especially in places
with variable weather. Examples include what to wear, potential impacts on travel and what
can be done outdoors. The daily forecast is easy to get. Just about all forms of media have the
weather forecast available. The Internet
has made the availability of weather information much greater than it used to be. You can get the
forecast at any time and you can even make
your own weather analysis using all the products available. Many radio stations give the weather forecast
in certain intervals. On TV there is the Weather Channel local forecast and many TV stations with
broadcast meteorologists. Weather radio has the benefit of issuing the weather forecast straight from the
National Weather Service.
Climate change is a big issue. It is not difficult to find climate change being discussed on TV and
media news programs. Climate change is a great debate. The debate is how much the climate is changing and
how much of the change is influenced by humans. The technology to sense climate change is high
technology such as new satellite systems. These satellites are so sensible that they can sense
how much the ice caps are melting, how much sea level is rising and how global temperatures
and other climate parameters are changing each year. The data coming in from the satellites will
be valuable in decades to come. As the decades go by we will know more about how the climate is
changing. Humans will have to come up with ways to reduce the problem.
Preparing for the weather is a big part of the economy. What people buy at the store and people's
habits are often a function of the weather and climate. Some examples include what vehicle to buy, what
clothes to buy, how much traveling people do, building construction, road and property maintenance, weather
observing technology, and what to buy to protect from storm damage.
In conclusion, the pace of technology continues to advance in the field of meteorology. Many
new insights and ideas should continue to improve our weather preparation systems once they
are turned into high technology that serve the public interest.