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Meteorologists targeted in climate misinfo surge

Partial preprint under Fair Use from Phys.org.

Meteorologists targeted in climate misinfo surge

Meteorologists and their thermometers have been criticised by climate sceptics online
Meteorologists and their thermometers have been criticized by climate skeptics online.

Once trusted faces on the news, meteorologists now brave threats, insults and slander online from conspiracy theorists and climate change deniers who accuse them of faking or even fixing the weather.

Users on Twitter and other social media falsely accused Spain's weather agency of engineering a drought, Australia's of doctoring its thermometers and France's of exaggerating  through misplaced weather stations.

"The coronavirus is no longer a trend. Conspiracy theorists and deniers who used to talk about that are now spreading disinformation about climate change," Alexandre Lopez-Borrull, lecturer in Information and Communication Sciences at the Open University of Catalonia, told AFP.

"These scientific bodies are seen as part of the establishment, so anything they say may get disputed on social networks...

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