Weather forecasters face ‘unprecedented abuse for linking heatwave to climate change’

·2-min read
BBC meteorologist Tomasz Schafernaker said: “What frustrates me most is when I’m accused of twisting the truth. As meteorologists, we report facts. “  (BBC/Jude Edginton)
BBC meteorologist Tomasz Schafernaker said: “What frustrates me most is when I’m accused of twisting the truth. As meteorologists, we report facts. “ (BBC/Jude Edginton)

Weather forecasters faced unprecedented levels of abuse during Britain’s record-breaking heatwave, industry leaders have said.

Meteorologists at the BBC have received hundreds of abusive comments and emails after making links between the heatwave and climate change.

The UK recorded its hottest ever temperature as the mercury surged beyond 40C for the first time in history last Tuesday.

The Met Office estimates that the scorching heat was made ten times more likely due to climate change.

BBC meteorologist Matt Taylor said he had never experienced this level of abuse in nearly 25 years working in weather.

Mr Taylor said: "It’s a more abusive tone than I’ve ever received. I switched off a bit from it all as it became too depressing to read some of the responses."

Met Office and Royal Meteorological Society (RMS) forecasters were also targeted, with Professor Liz Bentley, chief executive of the RMS, telling the BBC her members are facing "public ridicule, accusations of lying or suggestions of being blackmailed."

"Anecdotally, abusive comments increase when the message about climate change is intrinsic to the story," she added.

"It’s scary in some ways," Alex Deakin, the Met Office lead meteorologist, said.

"I find it more frustrating and offensive for my colleagues - some of the great minds in climate science. Show a bit of respect and do a bit more research rather than just believe Bob down the pub or Tony on YouTube."

Many tweets have been aimed at BBC Weather alongside personal insults that claimed "it’s just summer".

Many described advice on how to stay cool as pandering to the "woke-brigade" or for "snowflakes".

BBC meteorologist Tomasz Schafernaker said: "What frustrates me most is when I’m accused of twisting the truth. As meteorologists, we report facts. There is no conspiracy."

BBC Weather said: "It is completely unacceptable for any member of staff to receive abuse on social media simply for doing their job."

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