Meteorologists Take Abuse for Reporting Heat, Drought

Conspiracy theories tie forecasters to weather manipulation in the name of climate change
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted May 30, 2023 5:48 PM CDT
Meteorologists Worldwide Take Conspiracy Theorists' Abuse
Cracked earth is visible after the water level has dropped in the Sau reservoir north of Barcelona, Spain, in April.   (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti, File)

A meteorologist in Spain tweeted an update that was factual and, she thought, inoffensive. "Rain skips Spain," Isabel Moreno posted in April, along with an image showing a band of rain across Europe that was leaving her country almost entirely dry. Hundreds of readers didn't see the tweet as innocuous at all, CNN reports. "Do not take us for idiots," one answered. "They dry us up, and you are the spokesperson for those who do it," another said. "I have never seen either that amount of responses nor that level of aggression," said Moreno, who appears on the TV channel RTVE. Tweets have called others murderers and criminals. The stress kept Moreno off social media for a few days.

It's happening elsewhere, including the US, but meteorologists in Spain especially are taking the heat from people who believe that the weather is being manipulated and that meteorologists like Moreno are part of a conspiracy. The Bureau of Meteorology in Australia has been swamped with criticism for reporting temperature records, accused of inflating readings to make climate change appear to be worse. BBC forecasters received hundreds of abusive tweets and emails during last summer's record heat, with the number increasing when anyone connected the weather to climate change, as the Royal Meteorological Society did, per the BBC.

The conspiracy theorists say the weather is being manipulated by chemicals, and that's what's causing climate change. Scientists disagree. Disinformation experts see the same factors at work as when pandemic conspiracy theories were spreading. For the theories to spread, they have to be tied to a trending topic, and climate change has ascended as the pandemic has declined. Those experts have seen a rise in weather-related insults that meteorologists have felt. "It's a logical evolution of the broader trend around pushback on institutions, and the erosion of trust," one said. A climate scientist in the UK said he's open to challenges based on better evidence. But that's not what the insulters did during the heat wave, he said: "They were coming to stop us talking about climate science." (Read more climate change deniers stories.)

We use cookies. By Clicking "OK" or any content on this site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. Read more in our privacy policy.
Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.