There have been some awesome responses to Pat Sajak's "global warming alarmists are unpatriotic racists" tweet. But, nothing can compare to this blog post by Marshall Shepherd, past president of the American Meteorological Society.

Shepherd's experience also includes twelve years as a research meteorologist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center and serving on the NOAA Science Advisory Board.


Here's an excerpt from his blog post, but it's worth reading in full:

Just in case someone asks, No, there is not enough rotation and scale to produce the Coriolis Effect by spinning the Wheel of Fortune.

Now that we have clarified that, I wanted to use the recent Pat Sajak tweet to turn a negative to a positive. I don't know Mr. Sajak so will not judge him, his intent, or ideological perspective. Instead, I will draw out 3 things that can help advance the discourse on climate science.

First, it is imperative for the public to recognize that this "minor" incident highlights a "major" problem. All kinds of people with virtually no expertise are comfortable speaking on climate science…Meteorology is rooted in fluid dynamics, thermodynamics, and other complex mathematics-physics principles…. I often have students coming to my program wanting to study weather or climate because they "love clouds or tornadoes," yet when I lay out the math, physics, and other requirements, they have a "deer-in-headlights" look.

The lesson here is that you must consume information from credible or expert sources. Ask yourself if the author of that blog or Op-Ed has a background in the science, has published in peer-reviewed journals, or at least put forth their position in a forum that can evaluated, tested, or scrutinized.

Second, the public must understand that just because you know a TV personality, it doesn't signify that they are an expert on climate or vaccines. While this may sound trivial, many celebrities reach millions of people, and I am convinced that some fall lock step with their viewpoint just because they like them or their show.

Finally, irrespective of viewpoint, the name-calling and bullying must stop…"Unpatriotic racists?" ….I clearly serve my country and have yet to figure out how to discriminate against myself or anyone else. I am an African-American scientist. I am the immediate Past President of the largest professional society in this country associated with weather and climate (AMS). I served on a Pentagon-commissioned study on climate and national security. I was a NASA scientist for 12 years. I currently serve on advisory boards for NOAA and NASA, respectively.

Meanwhile, I am curious to see if I can use the "Wheel" to teach anything about vorticity, force, or shear in a future meteorology class :)