Wednesday, July 20, 2011

 

MY NEW BEST BUDDY

Unprecedented winter snowfall, spring floods of apocalyptic proportions, famine on the African Continent while North Americans bake under an unrelenting heat-wave. If it wasn't for the absence of plagues and pestilence believers might well conclude that Biblical Prophesy is upon us.

Little wonder that radio and television weather forecasters; "climatologists" as per the preferred designated terminology of this 21st Century, have assumed the role of Hero to the Masses. Lest I digress, what a surprising turn of events particularly when contrasted against the featured dumb-blond stereotypical "Weather Girl" (The Weather Bunny) of the golden age of television and/or the iconic mid-sixties Hippie-Dippy Weatherman persona of the brilliant monologist, George Carlin...



The acute dramatic changes in climate which we now suffer are (of course) the result of humankind's abuse of the planet and its precious ecological systems and balances. Since we're clearly not doing enough to change the obvious outcome, we North Americans must slog through a crisis decade of remarkable floods, drought and in the United-States in particular this year, the deadliest tornado season on record. And if we can't change the weather (or if we won't!) then better that the broadcast meteorologist be our new best bud.

As the weather becomes a bigger story, our need for information will grow. U.S. National Weather Service spokesman Chris Vaccaro told The New York Times recently: "The weather is more extreme, the floods are wetter and the droughts are drier. That's going to have real implications on society and it elevates the need for more information and a need for those on-air personalities. It's beyond what to wear for the day or do I need to carry an umbrella."

I am of a generation who remembers when the weather forecast was read directly right-off of the teletype machine. Or at best the weather guy stood in front of a giant chalkboard map to draw smiley face suns and gloomy clouds after patiently waiting his turn till the very end of the News Broadcast. Now of course weather broadcasters preside over radar systems and they frequently cover more "on set" real-estate than their fellow news readers and reporters.

Clearly changing atmospheric patterns are now the reason why "weather" commands watching television news. And in as much as most of us would like the climatologist to "change the weather" sometimes, if he could he wouldn't be on television. We should just get used to watching, preparing for the worse and hoping for the best.

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