what's up with the weather?...presented by NOVA and FRONTLINE
homethe debatecarbon dietfaqsstories in icediscussion

press reaction

The Washington Post Curt Suplee

"...To the great credit of the producers, and the greater benefit of viewers, this show is a marvelously thoughtful, informative and level-headed treatment that should be taped and re-viewed as needed if climate change returns to the national political agenda after Election Day. (Don't hold your breath, although it's environmentally responsible to do so.)

...most of the show is devoted to laying out the known facts of what's going on in the atmosphere - where carbon dioxide levels have risen by about 30 percent since the start of the Industrial Revolution - and on the Earth's sunburned surface, where the average temperature has risen about 1 degree Fahrenheit in the past century.

...'What's Up With the Weather?' is about as good as it gets at communicating difficult and highly contentious scientific subjects responsibly to the public. In today's overheated media environment, that's way cool."

Chicago Tribune Steve Johnson

"'Nova' and 'Frontline' join forces to try to inspire people to do something about the weather in this two-hour special ...that's as fascinating as the title is flat.

The question on the table is that of global warming: Chicken Little fodder or real danger to ski resorts? With much allowance for the inherent unpredictability of climate, the program offers a primer on the topic and concludes that yes, the Earth is getting hotter to an apparently unprecedented degree, and yes, we ought to be much more concerned than we appear to be.

The route to those conclusions is paved with much compelling photography of natural phenomena and a broad spectrum of debate on the issues. Most gripping, of course, is the talk of what a warmer Earth could mean. You might, for instance, want to take that Venice vacation sooner rather than later. ..."

The Indianapolis Star Marc Allen

"Everybody talks about the weather., but no one can agree what to do about it. That's the upshot of "What's Up With the Weather?' the joint Nova/Frontline report that airs tonight.

... This two-hour show investigating global warming starts with the premise that 'something weird is going on with the weather' and proceeds to try to find out what. Outside of one fact - during the past 100 years, the global surface temperature of the Earth has risen one degree Fahrenheit - the authorities interviewed disagree whether global warming is a problem and, if it is, whether man or a natural change in climate is the cause.

...Since there's no agreement, no solutions are forthcoming. Instead, the report methodically and fairly shows viewers what scientists are doing to find answers.

...Ultimately, we have to figure whether global warming is a problem and what to do about it. The answer - and any potential solution - may be decades away. 'It's distant,' one scientist says, 'and, therefore, difficult.' Tonight's report won't make anyone feel better about the prospects, but it should spur some serious discussions."

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Bill Steigerwald

"...The best thing about tonight's 'What's Up With the Weather?' on PBS - besides its fair-minded, sensible and realistic approach to an issue badly skewed by high emotion and low politics - is that it doesn't commit the sin of scientific certainty.

If anything, this 'Nova'/'Frontline' co-production is tilted toward healthy skepticism. Producer Jon Palfreman and his team carefully balance climatologists who say global warming is a looming disaster for the planet with skeptics who argue that it is not - or that we don't know enough about the earth's amazingly complex and quirky climate system to know what to do about it.

Is the Earth warmer today than it was 1,000 years ago? It sure seems so.

Do we know why this is happening? Sort of.

Is global warming causing super-severe weather? Perhaps. ...

The more scientific information you get and the more arguments you hear, the more complicated and less frightening the global warming issue becomes. By the time 'What's Up With the Weather?' ends, you'll know a lot more about the weather and the relative costs and benefits of energy sources. But you'll be certain of a lot less."

Daily News (NY) David Bianculli

"Tonight's two-hour special 'What's Up With the Weather?' doesn't even answer the question posed in the title - but in a way, it can't, and that's the point.

A normal 'Frontline' would attack the politics of global warming, while a typical 'Nova' would examine the science behind fluctuating temperatures and energy expenditures. This team effort...does both; in both areas, though, there's as much disagreement as agreement.

...This two hour documentary offers no hopeful or obvious solutions, which is both annoying and alarming. In this case, though, it's not for lack of effort or research. ..."

The News Tribune Kevin McDonough

"The best part of this informative film shows just how scientists have set about taking the Earth's historical temperature, using evidence gleaned from ancient tree rings, as well as the stratified ice samples extracted from glaciers that have been frozen since the ice age. 'What's Up' also allows time for fervent skeptics of the global warming theory, some who even argue that increased levels of carbon dioxide will make the planet a greener place.

The only thing both sides agree on is that the radical shift from a fossil fuel burning economy will bring dramatic economic dislocation. ..."

The Gazette (Montreal) Mike Boone

"...'What's Up With the Weather' is an intelligent and accessible analysis of what is becoming the most important environmental issue of our time. ..."

> home   > the debate   > carbon diet   > faqs   > stories in ice   > discussion
> beyond fossil fuels   > water world   > program excerpt   > graphs   > resources/links   > synopsis
> NOVA   > FRONTLINE   > wgbh

New Content Copyright ©2000 PBS Online and WGBH/NOVA/FRONTLINE

[an error occurred while processing this directive]
/frontline/ /nova/ ../