Trolling the weather

The BBC tells us that their weather forecasters have been trolled about their heatwave reports.

Tweets aimed at BBC Weather and its presenters featured personal insults and messages such as “it’s just summer” – many described advice on how to stay cool as pandering to the “woke-brigade” or for “snowflakes”.

Other tweets accused the Met Office and the BBC of spreading “alarmism” and “hysteria”, telling both to “stop scaremongering”.

Hundreds of people have also shared their experiences of the 1976 heatwave on social media, with many making the false suggestion that this month’s heatwave was “no different”.

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.”

I have huge sympathy for the forecasters who are doing their job with great professionalism. Rather than scaremongering, if anything, they are very restrained in their comments, and rarely explain to viewers directly about the reasons for extreme weather.

For those who are unaware of this social media phenomenon, here is the Wikipedia definition of trolling:

In Internet slang, a troll is a person who posts inflammatory, insincere, digressive, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community (such as social media (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc.), a newsgroup, forum, chat room, online video game, or blog), with the intent of provoking readers into displaying emotional responses, or manipulating others’ perception.

Here on Lib Dem Voice we know a thing or two about trolling. Trolling is, of course, very prevalent in political contexts, but that is no reason not to challenge it. We want this to be a safe space where people can discuss issues and agree to disagree courteously. That is why we make this statement under each post:

Lib Dem Voice welcomes comments from everyone but we ask you to be polite, to be on topic and to be who you say you are. You can read our comments policy in full here. Please respect it and all readers of the site.

Unlike some social media outlets we do actively patrol comments and remove any that fall short. Some are picked up by our magic moderation filter, but others are missed and are automatically published. But we editors are not sitting at our laptops all day scanning comments so sometimes we do miss inappropriate comments. If you spot any please email us on [email protected].

Needless to say, we do get trolled ourselves, mainly being accused of censorship if we don’t publish a comment.




* Mary Reid is a contributing editor on Lib Dem Voice. She was a councillor in Kingston upon Thames, where she is still very active with the local party, and is the Hon President of Kingston Lib Dems.

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This entry was posted in Op-eds.


  • I must admit that I thought some of the coverage was OTT and would have scared people unnecessarily when those temperatures are a regular feature of life in many countries. The messaging should have been aimed at encouraging people to enjoy the hot weather whilst taking precautions where appropriate.

    Is that really trolling?

  • The increasingly awful Daily Mail et al should share responsibility for the trolling. They were leading the ‘snowflake line. Then switched next day to ‘Nightmare of the wildfires’; ‘Britain burns, on hottest day in history’. As if their snowflake headlines had never happened.

  • nigel hunter 29th Jul '22 - 10:27pm

    Yes. In1976 it was hot (my child had a brolly and factor for protection but still got burned).Then, we were not used to the heat.Now the temperature is HIGHER.We are not used to those temps that are regular abroad. The trolls may have no idea of the difference (unless, of course, just stirring it).As said The Mail is No1 troller.I see nothing wrong with weathermen telling it as it is and giving advice

  • David Goble 30th Jul '22 - 9:30am

    Remaining in very hot sun for a long period can lead to a condition known as hyperthermia, causing the body temperature to rise above normal. It is the opposite of hypothermia, where the body temperature falls and can cause death. I have always found that it is easier to warm up in cold weather than to cool down in hot weather and, therefore, believe that these warnings are necessary as we are not conditioned to the extreme heat that we are now experiencing.

  • I have breathing problems. I don’t have enough oxygen in my blood. In hot weather blood needs 15% more oxygen. It is like being held under water or being suffocated by a pillow. You can put cool things against you to try and get the blood flow away from extremities which is trying to cool you down because your main organs, heart etc need that blood’s oxygen. It is hell.

  • My husband has multiple health problems and we are both oldies. So we were grateful for all the warnings and spent the two 40+ days indoors where we managed to keep the temperature below 26 degrees by keeping windows and curtains closed during the day but open at night when temperatures fell. Earlier in the year we had wooden shutters fitted to all the windows in the front of the house which is south facing and we found them to be very effective – more so than curtains at the back.

  • George Thomas 30th Jul '22 - 12:53pm

    It was disappointing how few journalists reporting outside were wearing hats and how many inside were still in business suits.

    The “good” news is these temperatures will become increasingly likely so we have a do-over.

  • The BBC tells us that their weather forecasters have been trolled about their heatwave reports.

    Hardly “trolling”. For the most part they were valid criticisms of the BBC’s hysterical coverage. It’s also hypocritical of the BBC to complain about “personal abuse”, when they themselves frequently use the nasty and sinister term “deniers” to associate dissenting views with holocaust denial.

    The BBC have a reputation for leaving ‘low-effort’ comments up, while censoring well reasoned and informative responses which challenge their agenda, as was the case with this heatwave report…

    ‘BBC Weather Forecasters Don’t Like The Truth!’ [29th. July 2022]:

    Ray Sanders, July 29, 2022 5:23 pm

    I posted in the BBC comments the World Meteorological Organisation’s guidance on weather station location together with examples of the “record breaking” UK sites aerial images from google maps as an indication of how the sites simply did not conform to basic minimum requirements. I deliberately made no adverse comments, ad hominem remarks, nor improper suggestions. I just provided impartial data for readers to consider. My post was immediately deleted. The good old impartial BBC eh!

  • Marco 29th Jul ’22 – 7:01pm:
    I must admit that I thought some of the coverage was OTT and would have scared people unnecessarily when those temperatures are a regular feature of life in many countries.

    Indeed, many countries where lots of people pay good money to go on holiday to.

    In a crowded field this was perhaps the most ludicrously OTT claim…

    ‘’Up to 10,000 excess heatwave deaths’ should be anticipated – Ex-Govt Chief Scientist’ [16th. July]:

    Former Government Chief Scientist Sir David King has told LBC that up to 10,000 excess deaths have to be anticipated during Monday and Tuesday’s heatwave when a new UK record temperature could be set.

    nigel hunter 29th Jul ’22 – 10:27pm:
    In1976 it was hot… Then, we were not used to the heat. Now the temperature is HIGHER.

    Actually, Central England Temperature (CET) data shows that average temperatures were over 2˚C higher in 1976 than in 2022…

    ‘‘UK heatwave: How do temperatures compare with 1976?’’ [24th. July]:

    Below are the daily maximum temperatures for the CET, from June 1st to July 21st. For this period, the average temperatures were 23.9C in 1976 and 21.6C this year: [Graph]

    This year, there have been only two days above 30c, compared to eight in 1976. Moreover these eight occurred between 28th June and 7th July, a span of ten days when the temperature did not dip below 29.7C.

  • Nonconformistradical 1st Aug '22 - 9:11am

    “up to 10,000 excess deaths”

    I always feel that using the term ‘up to’ is highly misleading. But maybe the problem is inadequate understanding among the public of some basic statistics terms e.g. mean, median, range, probability……

    And by the time some tabloid media have had their fun with the statement many members of the public could easily believe that ‘up to’ means ‘will definitly happen’

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