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Environment

Here's Why 100 TV Meteorologists Wore the Same Tie on the Summer Solstice

Who wore it better?

Dozens of meteorologists donned the same tie on television Thursday, the first day of summer, in a unified effort to spread climate change awareness, the Washington Post reported.

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The striped design, color-coded from blue to red, clearly depicts how the planet has increasingly warmed since the late 1800s. Blue stripes symbolize cool years, whereas red stripes denote the warm years, with the “the four warmest years on record over the past four years, and 17 of the 18 warmest years since 2001,” the report noted.

“This visualization removes all the distractions of standard graphs and allows the viewer to just see the long-term trends and variations in temperature without needing to interpret anything else,” Ed Hawkins, a climate scientist at the University of Reading in Britain, who designed the tie, told the Post.

Read More: 'This Is a Wake-Up Call': Cities Face Spikes in Extreme Heat and Floods by 2050

While men participating in the summer solstice fashion push all wore matching ties, female broadcast meteorologists joined in with coordinating pins, pendants, and other accessories, while all promoted the effort with the hashtag #MetsUnite on social media.

“It struck me as an opportunity to communicate climate change in the simplest way possible,” Jeff Berardelli, broadcast meteorologist for the CBS affiliate in Palm Beach, Florida, told the Post.

“In the past few years, it seems the impacts of climate change have accelerated,” Berardelli continued. “And most climate scientists agree we have literally no time to spare to turn the ship around. When we look back, we will view 2015 to 2017 as the turning point years; the years when climate change ‘got real.’”

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This wasn’t always the case.

A decade ago, many meteorologists still viewed the concept of climate change with skepticism. But as more scientific information has become available in recent years, skepticism has transformed into serious concerns.

“One challenge is that the majority of bachelor's degree-level programs only have one or a limited number undergraduate course required in climatology for a meteorology degree,” wrote Marshall Shepherd, former president of the American Meteorological Society, in an op-ed for Forbes this week.

“Other colleagues may have personal biases on the topic or fear that talking about climate change in a conservative viewer market will alienate them or make them unlikeable,” Shepherd added. “Frankly, I have been told by colleagues that many newsroom or station managers also discourage the discussion for fear of ratings being affected.”

A study published in late 2017 led by George Mason University, however, concluded that the view of broadcast meteorologists had “rapidly” evolved.

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Now those in the field are beginning to find themselves in a unique position to communicate the data from their platforms.

“I hope this effort is the kick-start needed to give our colleagues the confidence and motivation to lead on this vital issue,” Berardelli said.

Global Citizen campaigns to protect the world’s oceans and you can take action on this issue here.