Electric Hair

On the first day of my high school physics class the teacher strolled into the room, silently walked up to the chalkboard and wrote in big letters, “PHYSICS IS PHUN!” I’ll never forget that.

It was a bold statement. And it turned out to be a true statement, as we quickly discovered. Mr. Nauman made science fun and interesting. His classes were some of the most popular.

Meteorology is complicated and sometimes difficult to explain so there might be a temptation to leave it out of the weathercast. Perhaps you’ve been told, “Forget about science. Just tell viewers what’s going to happen. They don’t care about why.”

I don’t believe that. I think there is a place for a little science within the daily weathercast, perhaps now more than ever. Science can be a way to differentiate yourself from the competition. Science is something an app can’t do. Science can be “phun” to borrow Mr. Nauman’s spelling.

These days everyone gets the forecast everywhere. Weather is one tap away on smartphones, tablets and watches. It’s on elevators and gas pumps. My bathroom scale shows me the forecast along with my BMI!

Show viewers the “what” AND the “why” BUT do it in a captivating, compelling way that grabs their attention and makes them yearn to learn more.

For example, don’t just show the 500mb heights. Demonstrate how the heights correspond to the warming and cooling of the atmosphere. Don’t just show precipitable water levels increasing. Connect the data with the increasing chance of rain.

You could create a graphic that says, “WEATHER IS WONDERFUL!” But you need to prove it.