"Murderers" and "Criminals": Concern over rising harassment against Meteorologists

"Murderers" and "Criminals": Concern over rising harassment against Meteorologists

Meteorologists at Spain's national weather service, AEMET are reporting a recent rise in harassment from conspiracy theorists including being labelled "murderers", "criminals" and being told "we are watching you".

The messages have been sent online through their website and social media channels, phone calls, letters and even graffiti on one of their buildings.

Weather Watch Chief Executive Phil Duncan told REX host Dominic George that the harassment against weather forecasters is not unique to Spain.

"They are very similar to the ones that we are experiencing at Weather Watch," he said.

" [It's] from a very small group of people, but they are a very loud group of people."

While he has tried to have conversations with the people who are sending this sort of hate to weather forecasters, Duncan said they just don't want to listen to what he has to say.

"They don't want to hear your side of the argument.

"They don't want to hear about facts, they have these very strong beliefs and you can't challenge it.

"It turns abusive very quickly as well."

With conspiracies continuing to grow around the world about theories of governments intentionally affecting weather patterns, Duncan told George that even if that were the case, it's not the job of weather forecasters to broadcast that information.

"My job is to tell you how much rain is coming today, how bad is that wind going to be, what's Kings birthday weekend going to be like.

"It's not about what made all of this happen. That's a different conversation."

He explained a significant number of weather forecasters and meteorologists are hesitant to even talk about longer-term weather events or expectations because of the potential backlash they will get.

Despite being someone who is very open to having a conversation and looking to educate someone on weather patterns and help them understand the science behind weather, Duncan said he is seldom met with an open-minded conversation.

"When these people write to me and they are really insistent that they are right, I actually like having the conversation but I am left really disappointed that I can't educate them, that there's not this moment where they go, 'maybe I'm wrong?'"

Duncan said he's happy to accept that anyone is open to their own opinions and beliefs about any given topic, but is shocked by the incessant need of some people to then turn around and abuse those who don't share that same belief.

"If you disagree with my belief that the world is warming up, okay that's fine, but if start writing and swearing at me for it, that's where I find it's a little bit unhinged."