Opinion: Weather presenters must stop glorifying the hot weather
By Anders Lorenzen
‘It is a glorious sunny day across the British Isles with forecasts set to stay dry and sunny for the foreseeable future’ or ‘miserable rain continues across the country with no end in sight’.
People who frequently watch the weather forecasts might not think there’s anything unusual in these two statements, made by the same broadcaster. But looking at the two sentences it is clear from a language point of view that one is a positive statement and one is a negative.
But by `opinionating` the weather, aren’t weather presenters doing us a disservice?
Most people would probably think there’s nothing unusual in this and that presenting future sunshine as great and rain, storm and cold weather as bad are opinions shared by listeners.
A more balanced narrative
The recent hot weather in the UK where some parts of the country reached heatwave conditions and, after a couple of days of rain, the heat is forecast to continue comes after an extremely dry winter and spring.
But weather forecasters choose to celebrate this by displaying images of people lying on the beach or enjoying an ice cream. Very rarely do they insert warnings about the danger to the body of prolonged hot weather, the pressure it puts upon the heart, and the increasing number of people across the world who die from heat-related incidents. Nor do they mention how extreme heat puts pressure on vulnerable people, and how farmers across the country are suffering from ongoing drought.
Perhaps next time they could replace that happy picture with one of people struggling with the heat, wildfires, and parched fields full of failing crops, and combine it with a climate warming that we are seeing an increase in warmer weather due to the burning of fossil fuels.
Too much of one thing is never good, whether sun, rain or storms. Heavy and continuous rainfall, which is followed by flooding, should of course never be celebrated either, and can be as devastating to communities as extreme heat.
But the odd day of rain here and there, especially when it is badly needed should not be described with negative language. It is about time we stopped glorifying hot weather and seeing it solely as a positive thing, and instead, we should start to celebrate coming rain as a positive good, when not in excess of course.
The reality is we are living in the age of climate extremes and we will see much more extreme heat, much more extreme rainfall, destructive storms and extreme cold – and weather presenters should find a way to talk about these weather events with matching scientific accuracy.