Our daily weather reports, cheerfully presented with flashy graphics and state-of-the-art animation, appear to relay more and more information.
And yet, no matter how glitzy the presentation, a key fact is invariably omitted. Imagine if, after flashing the words "extreme weather" to grab our attention, the reports flashed "global warming." Then we would know not only to wear lighter clothes or carry an umbrella, but that we have to do something about climate change.
I put the question to Jeff Masters, co-founder and director of meteorology at Weather Underground, an Internet weather information service. Masters writes a popular blog on weather, and doesn't shy away from linking extreme weather to climate change:
Few people deny that humans are releasing immense amounts of so-called "greenhouse gases" -- notably, carbon dioxide -- by burning fossil fuels. Nor is there dispute about the physical process by which these gases trap some of the infrared radiation (also known as "heat") reflected into the atmosphere from the Earth's surface, preventing this radiation from escaping into space.
The simple version of the climate change story is that increasing amounts of greenhouse gases mean that more outgoing infrared radiation is trapped, and more can be re-radiated back to the Earth's surface, increasing its average temperature.
I won't forget the time I was in the same room as Hillary Clinton: I shed so many tears.
It was June 2012, in Rio de Janeiro. I was at the Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development. It was the first time I realized that, contrary to what Canadians are led to believe, our values and best interests are not represented by our government on the international stage.