How to spot fake weather news

Weather Whys

We have a world of information at the palm of our hands… literally. With thousands of news outlets, blogs, and social media posts, we’re inundated with information almost every waking hour.

Here are a few tips on how to tell if what you’re reading it real or fake weather news.

The first tip is to never believe a forecast set for a long period of time. This applies more to the headlines that read, “a snowstorm will hit in 18 days” or “100 days of sunshine”. Long-range trends can be predicted but not actual temperatures or forecasts for a specific day.

Tip two, when you read any weather article online, check the author’s credentials. Is this someone who regularly writes about science? This one can be tricky because sometimes well-meaning websites will repeat information that is false. An author doesn’t have to be a scientist to write about the weather or science but they should have qualifications or credentials that give their information merit.

For instance, it’s been repeated over and over again that this Saturday, May 16th, Jupiter and Venus will combine with the crescent moon to make a smiley face. This is not true. It all started with a Philippines news outlet and was picked up around the world without being properly vetted. You see it and share it assuming it’s real. But check the authors and their sources. If they have no qualifications or credentials that give what they’re talking about merit, move along.

Tip three, beware of the photoshopped weather photos! These are tough to spot sometimes. But in some cases, they’re just plain ridiculous. There are folks online competing for your eyeballs and “likes”. Don’t give it to them unless they’ve earned it with the truth.

If you’re unsure if what you’re reading is fake science news, send it to us. We’ll vet the information for you. We’d rather do this than have it get shared that many more times on social media. Sometimes it’s hard to tell because fake news can be mixed in with real facts to make it seem legit.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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