Many Television Weather Forecasters Doubt Global Warming

Still, a large section of the public remains skeptical. According to a March Gallup poll, 48 percent of Americans believe global warming is "exaggerated" -- up from 41 percent in 2009.

And a recent study by Yale and George Mason Universities found that 56 percent of Americans trust their weather forecaster to tell them about climate change more than public figures like Al Gore and Sarah Palin on the issue.

Climatologists Fall Short as Public Educators

As for climate change scientists, they freely admit they haven't always been effective spokespeople for their cause.

"I plead guilty. I don't think we've done as good a job as we could have done," said Michael Mann, a climatologist and professor at Penn State University.

Mann is one of the scientists whose private e-mails were hacked and quoted worldwide by climate change skeptics as proof that they were cooking the books and exaggerating the effects of climate change.

The November 2009 scandal, nicknamed "Climategate," threatened to derail the global summit in Copenhagen.

"I think the idea was to clog the works, to sort of engage in a last-minute smear campaign to distract policy makers," Mann said. "It's a smear campaign. Every inquiry that has been done that's looked at it said that these statements are being taken out of context and being used to misrepresent what scientists are actually saying."

A report by the British Parliament's Science and Technology Committee ultimately determined that the science was sound. "There's no serious debate in the scientific community about the reality of human caused climate change," Mann said.

The panel called on climate scientists to be more open in their work. Mann says it's not part of his job to convince Americans that climate change exists.

"I don't see my job as convincing anyone of anything," Mann said. "My job as a scientist is making sure that the public discourse is informed by an accurate understanding of the science."

That may be one reason doubting meteorologists have had such a huge opening to convince the public otherwise.

"When you offer a forecast day in and day out and you're right 95 percent of the time people are going to trust you and that is a beautiful thing," Cullen said.

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