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NASA image of Superstorm Sandy

Climate out of control

TV meteorologists talk about climate change: An interview with Paul Douglas, plus four local TV meteorologists


Tony Mainolfi,
Chief meteorologist, WESH-TV2


Orlando Weekly: Do you believe our planet is undergoing a significant climate change?
Tony Mainolfi: There is no doubt that the planet is undergoing some sort of climate change. … It's likely been going on since the start of the industrial revolution, with the advent of automobiles, planes, factories and many other man-made chemicals. With today's technology, we are better able to look at the Earth's atmosphere and really gage what's going on. Satellites and computer modeling are showing us the change that's taking place around the globe. The extent to which it's accurate may be up for debate but the evidence does show that change is happening.

OW: Do you think a lot of people deny climate change?
TM: I'm not sure how many people are denying climate change but denying that it's happening is potentially a big mistake and that's why we need to monitor Earth's changes to see if this is a cyclical process that happens over hundreds or thousands of years, or something that's man made and potentially life-threatening.

OW: Are super storms like Sandy something we are likely to see more frequently?
TM: It seems to me that any big storm these days is being called a super storm. If you look back over the last 100 years of the modern era there have been many bad storms … Sandy was a bad storm, but so were Camile, Donna, Charley, Frances, Jean, Andrew, Katrina. I'm not so sure if the frequency of large storms will change but with more cable outlets and cameras in the field pictures and views of damage will certainly be increasing.

OW: Do you mention climate change during your forecasts?
TM: I only have about two minutes and 30 seconds for the weather each night, so I don't normally show much in the way of climate change info in my weathercasts. … That's not to say that I wouldn't. If there is a good story to tell or look at then it will be in my broadcast.

Local meteorologist interviews by Victor Ocasio