Climate Week and Climate Central
In celebration of 2019 Climate Week, we highlight tools, tips and resources for reporting local climate stories and feature the work of our partners who communicate the science and effects of climate change.
Climate Central uses the power of science and communications to make climate change immediate and personal. Find out more about who we are and what we do.
Looking for local story ideas to cover climate? Here’s a top 10 list of potential stories linked to resources below to help you.
- Newly assigned to reporting on climate change? Climate Science 101 answers all your questions.
- Extreme weather toolkits help you link climate change to increasingly destructive weather.
- Our nation’s health at risk: warming contributes to poor air quality, heat illnesses, increased allergies, & other diseases.
- Sea level rise is threatening coastal communities as chronic flooding intensifies.
- Places of worship, national parks, military bases, and other significant sites are increasingly becoming locations at risk.
- Writing about solutions? Resources include WeatherPower, a tool to track wind & solar electricity generation.
- Our national hobbies & obsessions -- gardening, sports, fishing -- are being impacted by climate change
- Climate change threatens the food & drink we love. Including beer.
- Seasonal trends & shifts caused by a warming are creating disruptions & imbalances across the country.
- Climate Week reporting, the United Nations Summit and climate reports
Global Warming, Local Stories
Integrating the complex issues of global climate change into a local news story can be challenging, but empowers your audience to understand the impacts humans are having on our environment.
Make your story local and personal. Climate Central's Media Library is full of ready-to-use graphics, data, and information specific to your city or media market so you can easily personalize your weather and climate coverage.
Meet people where they are; know your audience. Topic, tone, & timing are important. Do locals fish for trout or bass in the spring? Write about warming stream waters. Are folks concerned about local air quality? Cover the health impacts of high heat & air stagnation.
Climate change doesn’t have to be the whole story, but part of the story. Global warming is affecting our health, our infrastructure, our food supply, our economy. In writing about these issues, you can provide readers with context for how their lives are being touched by climate change.
Focus on the science. The consensus is real--climate change is happening and is human caused. You don’t need “false balance.” You need to stick to the facts while still keeping it simple enough for non-science readers. The Society of Environmental Journalists, the George Mason Center for Climate Change Communication, and Harvard's Journalist's Resource all have online resources to guide your climate reporting.
Climate Science 101
New to reporting on climate change? Climate Central is here to help! We provide journalists and meteorologists with cutting-edge science and communication tools to tell effective climate stories at the local, state, and national levels.
Climate Central’s primer on sea level rise takes you through causes, projections and impacts, as well as the history of sea level and links to more resources.
Story Ideas: Trending Climate Topics
To help your reporting on local climate stories, Climate Central offers explainers, data, graphics, research, and multimedia — all grounded in science.
The following collection of tools can help you present these complicated topics to your audience in a clear, compelling way.
Climate change has increased and intensified extreme weather in many communities. Climate Central’s extreme weather toolkits provide you with graphics, interactives, videos, webinars, and local data to report on disastrous or dangerous weather that comes your way.
Worsening air quality, dangerous heat, and pest-borne diseases are some of the health risks more Americans are facing with a warming climate. Our site explains the weather trends that impact our health, and provides links to health resources and experts.
Global warming has raised global sea level about 8 inches since 1880, and the rate of rise is accelerating. Climate Central’s Surging Seas website provides research and a set of interactive tools and maps, along with analyses of coastal flood hazards.
Many of the institutions that protect or support us--military bases, churches, hospitals, national parks--are located in places that are facing challenges due to climate change. And our RiskFinder tool allows you to generate local reports on critical infrastructure at risk from coastal flooding.
Climate Central’s WeatherPower tool shows local wind and solar electricity generation forecasts for all media markets. Find more graphics, data, research, and information on carbon emission reductions below.
Whatever your passion or hobby--fly fishing, pond hockey, gardening, or watching football--climate change is impacting the many ways we live and enrich our lives.
Climate Week NYC (Sept. 23 to 29) coincides with the United Nations Climate Action Summit. September 25 marks the release of the IPCC Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate, authored by 100+ scientists from more than 30 countries. Here are some other resources that can help you navigate Climate Week:
Subscribe to Climate Matters
Climate Matters is our climate reporting resource program that helps meteorologists and journalists report on climate impacts and solutions in ways that are local, immediate, and personal — grounded in the latest science, with easy-to-understand text and ready-to-use visual materials.
Stories We Love: Local Climate Change Reporting
Over the past few years, our network of meteorologists, reporters, producers, editors, and writers have generated an expansive collection of local climate reporting. We invited our Climate Matters members to send us their best advice on climate reporting and examples of how they connected the global climate problem for their local audience. Their engaging, thoughtful storytelling brings to mind any number of descriptions: Innovative. Moving. Consequential. Meaningful. Committed. Engaging. We’re delighted to share some of their stories and their words.
Regional Agriculture Reporter, Lubbock Avalanche-JournalRead: “I think farmers are more concerned about the climate than they let on because it plays such a huge role…”
Janice HuffChief Meteorologist,
WNBC New York City
Kat SnowSenior Editor, KQED Science
Rachel HagerScience Reporter and AAAS Fellow, Idaho Statesman
Reporter/Producer, WJCT NewsListen: “If mangrove(s)...continue to expand..the trees could reduce emissions in Florida alone by as much as 25% over the next few decades.”
Meteorologist & Reporter, KGBT Watch: Special Report: Climate of change in the Rio Grande Valley
Meteorologist, KOLR10Watch: Losing Land, Beans, & Sleep: Climate Change Impacts on Coffee
Independent JournalistRead: “The Fate of Gulf Fisheries in a Warming World”
Monica WoodsChief Meteorologist, ABC10 Watch: Sacramento would be underwater if Greenland's entire ice sheet melted
Krystal KleiMeteorologist, NBC-10
Jorge TorresChief Meteorologist,
KOB-TV News 4
Amber SullinsChief Meteorologist, KNXV-TV
Jim SpencerChief Weathercaster,
WZVN-TV ABC7Advice: "Even in Southwest Florida, you can talk about and teach viewers about the reality of climate change. All you have to do here is bring it back to money. Blue-green algae plagued our waters in 2018 and tourists were turned off, which hurt our local economy. As a meteorologist, and with the help of Climate Central, I’m just factually explaining why it’s happening.
Mike AugustyniakDirector of Meteorology / Anchor,
Advice: “Climate coverage can truly stand out when the audience connects to the topic on an emotional level. The truth is that climate change is affecting almost everything, from the cost of insurance, to the spread of diseases, to outdoor recreation, and the cost of food.”
Greta MoranFreelance Journalist
Advice: “I think it's really important for journalists, even at national publications, to look out for local, place-based climate stories. Every large, climate-related issue has a local iteration and often local activists working hard to find solutions. There are so many communities working towards transitions from fossil fuels, and their efforts are really important and undercovered. Plus, these stories are often really inspiring and make a vast, global problem more digestible.”
Tess TownsendFreelance Journalist
Suzanne MarmionDirector of News & Editorial Strategy, KPBS
Heather WaldmanMeteorologist, WGRZ
Ariel RodríguezMeteorologist & Environmental Reporter, WSCV Telemundo 51
Advice: “Send a clear and direct message. Do not leave room for disinformation to gain hold. Talk about what is known; climate science is not about showing sides, since facts speak for themselves. Use the facts and avoid the politics. Let your interviewees touch on the difficult subjects and be the advocates.”
Eddie BurkhalterStaff Writer, Fellow at Poynter-Koch Media
More Resources for Climate Reporting
To cover climate, you need to be clear about the science--here are some online resources to help you communicate the facts
Interview Local Experts
National organizations can help you find experts near you. Think about talking to state climatologists, university meteorology or atmospheric science departments, flood management specialists, or medical practitioners aware of climate change impacts.
Read the Research
The National Climate Assessment summarizes the impacts of climate change on the United States, now and in the future. A team of more than 300 experts guided by a 60-member Federal Advisory Committee produced the report. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is the United Nations body for assessing the science related to climate change.
2019 Climate Week: Events to Report On
21 September 2019
In the lead-up to the Climate Action Summit, young leaders will gather at the United Nations headquarters in New York to discuss solutions.
23rd September 2019
World leaders will meet in New York at the Climate Action Summit, hosted by UN Secretary-General António Guterres.
20 September 2019
Adults and youths alike plan to voice their deep concerns about climate change.
23-27 September 2019
Advocates for clean energy across the U.S. will come together to promote sustainable energy sources.