I check the weather channel every morning (on the 8s) to find out what is going on in Fairfax that day. But in so doing, I actually end up hearing about weather throughout the US. And CNN, FOX, etc. all cover the weather as well. We have seen some devastating weather this past year --- snow and ice this winter; rain and tornados this spring. Mother Nature hasn't been so kind to more communities in 2011 than I was even aware existed throughout the US. So I am left wondering everyday why are we having such extreme weather?
My priors would lean toward questioning whether we are in fact experiencing any more severe weather than we have historically. Many years ago I read this great paper by Andy Yates and Richard Stroup on media coverage and the EPA, and I was persuaded that when it comes to the media the "reporting" is not about objective assessment but entertainment. But "fact" becomes what gets "reported" as public opinion is shaped not by objective assessment, but the entertaining contestation of ideas. But there can be no doubting the devastation wrought by these storms, though there also is no doubt that we experience these storms differently today than we did in the past.
So objectively, are we experiencing more severe weather in 2011 than we did in say 1951? Or, do we just see and hear more about the storms because of the ease of communication across the country?