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Unseasonable Weather Warms Up Mass.

BOSTON — It is February vacation week for schools across Massachusetts, a time when many families try to get a break from the winter weather and head somewhere warm. But this year it’s pretty warm right here at home.

Meteorologist Mark Rosenthal joined WBUR’s Morning Edition to discuss the unseasonably warm weather.

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  • Exchaoordo

    Did Mark Rosenthal actually say, “I just don’t believe in global warming.” (1:28)? 
    Irresponsible to say the least.  I realize it’s a puff piece but couldn’t Deborah Becker Call him on it?

  • inqdragon

    I’m wondering why Mark Rosenthal believes that and felt compelled to say that. 

  • Hipparchus

    I want to thank Deborah Becker for actually
    asking Mark Rosenthal about global warming; many similar discussions
    recently have not even mentioned it. And I have to give him credit
    for a frank answer. But I wish that she had asked him why he
    disagrees with 97% of climate scientists and what education, if any,
    he has had on climate studies. Meteorologists are not climatologists
    and (to paraphrase as comment I have heard recently) to ask a
    meteorologist about climate change is like asking a dentist about a
    heart condition.

    I hope that you will find a
    climatologist from one of our local universities and ask him or her
    the same question. I expect that you will get an ambiguous answer
    since the effects of climate change are still in their early stages;
    but at least you will get some discussion of what the probabilities
    are and what we have in store in the not-so-distant future if we
    don’t get our act together.

  • Cynthia Graber

    I’m a science journalist, and I’m shocked that Deborah Becker didn’t call Mark Rosenthal on his comment about global warming. As the commenter below wrote, 97 percent of scientists agree that humans are contributing to climate change – and, in fact, it’s happening faster than most climate models have predicted. Despite the fact that this was a short interview, she should never have let such a comment go unchallenged. She just went on and asked something else and continued the discussion. That’s irresponsible journalism.

  • Anonymous

    When I heard the comment this morning I noted the name.  Searched and read some disturbing reports about Mark Rosenthal.  He admits calling 911 when he lost his way in an apple orchard.  Not sure if that indicates the type of man he is but to me it suggests he’s a bit of a dunce.  Coupled with his denial of global warming I would elevate him to being a real dunce.  Ms. Becker would have done BUR a service calling him out on that one.  You’re too nice, Deborah.

  • Sam Fleming

    When WBUR meteorologist Mark Rosenthal asserted on Morning Edition this morning that he doesn’t  believe in global warming, many listeners took offense. While some 
    thought Rosenthal had been referencing Deb Becker’s question about whether the recent warm weather we’ve been experiencing, might be related to global warming, others thought Rosenthal had strayed into an area of science that goes beyond his expertise as a meteorologist.  Almost every scientist, of course, believes in the overwhelming evidence that humans are the major cause of global warming.  So while Rosenthal may have been right that the unusually warm weather this winter is not related directly to global warming, we have instructed him to stick to forecasts and  weather patterns and leave global warming to legitimate experts.  

    Sam Fleming
    WBUR Managing Director of News & Programs

    • Howard Bernstein

      In addition to your instructions to Rosenthal, I suggest that you instruct Deb Becker “to stick to forecasts and weather patterns” when speaking to a meteorologist and to “leave [questions about] global warming to legitimate experts.”  However, let’s also address global warming or climate change on WBUR, both in newscast settings and in longer contexts that provide time for real and serious discussion. 

    • RDW

      Many people much less knowledgeable and well qualified than Mark Rosenthal express their opinions about global warming on WBUR and NPR with no apparent fear of the kind of censorship that Sam Fleming  promises us that he has imposed on Mr. Rosenthal. I suspect that I am not speaking only for myself when I say that I would rather hear the full range of opinions about the relationship between climate and weather, particularly from “legitimate experts” (I don’t know why Mr. Fleming feels that, a priori, meteorologists have no claim to expertise in this area) whose analysis may differ from “legitimate experts” whose opinions appeal to Mr. Fleming. Mr. Fleming makes his own bias clear with his dismissive statement that “Almost every scientist, etc.” Mr. Fleming apparently believes that he is entitled to express his opinion about climate science to WBUR listeners, but that  Mr. Rosenthal is not. I disagree.

      • robert

        Very well said.  A news director should be ashamed to make a comment like that. WBUR’s bias is showing.

        As for the 97%, there is more to that story but one does not feel this prejudice website is the appropriate place for that discussion.

    • Fastphil10

      Perhaps Professor Lindzen, Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Meteorology, Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Science of MIT could inform Mr. Fleming beyond his current foolish bias.

  • Anonymous

    The fact that Deborah Becker allowed such an unqualified “belief” about a well-researched scientific topic (Rosenthal stated, “Oh no, I don’t believe in Global Warming…”) without challenging it directly demonstrated just about poorest possible judgement as a journalist.

    The discussion was done live. Perhaps Deborah was shocked speechless by Rosenthal’s ignorance on an important topic, or perhaps Deborah felt “sorry” for Rosenthal or he is a personal friend or something. But a journalistic opportunity to explore the shallowness of unscientifically-based climate denierism was missed and worse, Rosenthal’s “I don’t believe in Global Warming” was the only position on the matter that was broadcast by WBUR.

    Furthermore, the whole purpose of the “interview” was to provide some insight on just why it has been so unseasonably warm throughout the late-fall/winter season (5 straight months with average temperatures at least 5 degrees above average). But Rosenthal closed with such flip-flopping, noncommittal, milquetoast “predictions” about what the remaining weeks of winter might hold, that asking a random man on the street would have served equally well.

    Next time I hear Mark Rosenthal’s “expert” voice on WBUR, I’ll turn it off or switch stations, thank you very much.

  • Howard Bernstein

    I just listened to the broadcast again and conclude that Becker erred in asking her Q about global warming in the first place.  Rosenthal, for his part, should have followed his very correct “I’m the wrong person to ask” with a statement that, although he does not personally accept global warming, even those who do accept it tend not attribute such limited periods of weather to global warming.

  • Dave

    I would like some clarity or follow up from Mark. Was he just being sloppy in trying to say that he didn’t believe global warming was an explanation for this winter’s warm weather, or did he really mean to say he doesn’t believe in the existence of global warming at all? For me, his meaning is not clear.

  • Susan

    Seems like a breezy conversation between Becker and Rosenthal.  No harm, no foul.  Every story on WBUR doesn’t have to be a serious research story.  We are having a super mild winter, but Europe isn’t.  Global Warming?  Hard to know.

  • Alex

    Mr. Rosenthal should simply be fired from the station. It is not acceptable that someone in a position of influence, speaking as an authority, with the entire reputation and power of WBUR behind him, should state such unscientific nonsense, in such a disrespectful and glib way. As the comment below says, mild winter here, very bad in Europe is not the point. He did not say that the mild winter is not related to Global Warming, he said he does not believe in it. 

  • Melissa

    The man couldn’t find his way out of an apple orchard without a police escort. ’nuff said. The real problem is WBUR wasting time on puff pieces. Either have a serious conversation about the climate versus short-term weather trends or don’t bother with the story at all. I don’t need WBUR to tell me it’s been a warm winter, and don’t ask meteorologists unanswerable questions like why is this happening and how long will it last?

  • RDD

    I was annoyed to hear Mark Rosenthal’s comment go slipping by without comment but more annoyed that the general discussion re climate change and what might be viable responses to it have devolved over the past four or five years to a debate about belief and censorship.And that for crass political reasons (?fueled by the fossil fuel interests)all of the current Republican options have decided that climate denial plays well to their base.This in contrast to Europe where practically both right and left accept the science and debate what might be reasonable  responses.Such a response could easily be market driven (e.g.-a green tax shift replacing the payroll tax) but instead our leaders tout their pickup trucks and encourage the electorate’s addiction to oil (period,not just foreign-a previous WBUR misquote of President Bush-”we are addicted to oil,much of which comes from overseas) and the status quo.That was that President’s obligatory nod to the problem,just like his previous five or  six predessors,and,by and large,his successor,while we essentially do zip.

  • William Reynolds

    This rather belated comment is written
    as a message to Mark Rosenthal.

    Dear Mark,

    I am curious about why many
    meteorologists are skeptical about climate change. I have discovered
    a statement issued by the American Meteorological Society, available
    at

    http://www.ametsoc.org/POLICY/2007climatechange.html

    that reaffirms the scientific
    consensus. If you have not studied this statement carefully, I urge
    you to do so. Because it was issued five years ago, before many of
    the extreme weather events that we have seen recently, you can
    compare its predictions with what has been happening. On the other
    hand, it misses the worsening scenarios that climate scientists have
    produced in those five years, based on recent observations.

    Since many people don’t know the
    difference between meteorologists and climatologists, and since many
    people respect you as a meteorologist (correctly, as far as I know),
    you have a great responsibility to present an accurate picture of a
    subject of such great importance. I hope that you will fulfill this
    responsibility.
     

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