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The British Embassy and WWF Japan jointly organized an international seminar titled, "Media Weather Broadcasters Address Climate Change Issues." Sony provided support for operation of this event in the form of sponsorship.
The summer of 2007 was an experience of fluctuating climatic conditions unprecedented in Japan as the high temperature exceeded 40°C for two consecutive days. It seems inevitable that knowledge, experience, and techniques of weather forecasting will be crucial in planning and implementing future measures for the prevention of global warming. For this seminar, leading members of the weather forecasting communities from England, Japan, and Canada were brought in to talk about the current status of climate change in their own countries, and to describe the measures that are being taken. They also talked about approaches we should take for the future.
Wayne Elliot is presently active as the Chief Press Officer for the British Met Office (Meteorological Office). He used past meteorological data to introduce the climate change that has occurred in England. This change has mainly been human-caused. Mr. Elliot predicted that English weather, lifestyles, business, and so on were likely to be affected.
In addition to strengthening future measures for prevention of global warming, we must also seek out technologies to aid in adapting society to the state of warming. Mr. Elliot also called for detailed analyses of relevant data, and said it would be necessary to establish communication that rises above the perspectives of academics, the media, companies, government, the public at large, and so on.
Touching on the power of the media to disseminate information and to influence people, he also remarked that, while shocking imagery of abnormal weather and similar phenomena may be effective in inducing a sense of crisis in viewers, there is danger in excessive use of such imagery, and in deliberate editing during the stages of production. He pointed out the need for self-reflection and care in presenting and conveying information.
A founding member of the Weathercaster Network, a non-profit organization (NPO), Tadayuki Iwaya has also been a weathercaster for Fuji Television Network, Inc., and he presently appears in weather forecasts on Nippon Television. He is active in pointing out the problems of serious coral bleaching that has occurred in the vicinity of Ishigaki Island, as well as concentrated heavy rainfalls, water shortages, and related phenomena that are occurring throughout Japan. According to his analysis, the main cause of these phenomena is global warming.
In light of various data, including the northward shift in plant and animal habitats, he also finds that Tokyo has been turning subtropical. He predicted that this country's four separate seasons, which have occasioned much sentimentality in Japan, will become three seasons as winter disappears.
In closing, Mr. Iwaya touched on "delivery teaching" at primary schools, which the Weathercaster Network has been actively engaged in. He had high praise for the understanding and decisive action shown by the children. He claimed that adults, particularly those involved in business activities, have much to learn from children and should be involved more fully in raising awareness.
As Senior Meteorologist for CBC, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Claire Martin has gained renown as a popular weather presenter. She was born in London, moved to Canada, and has acted as an advisor on weather reporting in Africa. From the perspective of this globe-spanning activity, she spoke with great emphasis about Canada's splendid biological and geographical diversity.
In recent years, however, the influence of warming has dramatically diminished the amount of glacial ice. As a result, the country's geographical diversity has begun to disappear, presenting a problem. She expressed apprehension about the vanishing culture of the Inuit, who are aboriginal residents of the northern region, where the phenomenon is particularly conspicuous. She appealed for prompt efforts to stop global warming in order to protect these aboriginal cultures.