Fact Checking the Weathermen… (yet again)

In the age of 140 character tweets, a lot of background information is lost. Truth can easily be obscured. Tim Kelley, a senior weatherman at New England Cable News (NECN), has taken advantage of this ambiguity to mix up legitimate discussion of physics questions with the issue of climate change. He perpetuates the idea that human caused global warming is still in debate. This is misleading, and he needs to be called to account.

We have all heard of the Higgs Boson and Angels and Demons.  A laboratory in Europe called “CERN” (which is a French acronym for Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire, or in English the European Center for Nuclear Research) is where the most advanced physics research in the world happens. Kelley has taken a deep topic, the intricacies of high-energy particle research, and attempted to use that high-minded intellectual work to claim that climate science is unsettled.

As nearly as I can reconstruct the sequence, Kelley’s first tweet said:


Here’s the link to the Cornell article he references.

In English, this relates to the change of a particle (specifically the Bs meson) to two other particles called muons. This kind of transformation is rare and tells us about the ‘Standard Model’, which does a good job of explaining lots of esoteric stuff.  Unfortunately, Kelley says “new physics” as if the Standard Model had been challenged. In fact, one report says” The thrill of this remarkable measurement comes with some disappointment for those seeking new physics” and Kelley’s own reference says “Both result are in agreement with the expectations from the standard model.” In short, there is no ‘new physics’ in the CERN result, despite what Kelley implicates. It is fair to say that however, at least in this tweet, Kelley does not say “climate”.

But then we get the bait and switch. Kelley somehow builds on the first tweet, dragging in an entirely unrelated and undemonstrated assertion. He connects his fantasy ‘debunking’ of the standard model at CERN to climate science:


Perhaps Tim has misunderstood the reports, or perhaps he has not read them. There is no debunking of the quark as the ‘smallest particle’, or that ‘settled science’ for the Standard Model of particle physics has been challenged. Nevertheless, if one believes Kelley without checking on him, it is easy to think scientists are arguing. Still and all, the connection to “Climate not settled” is simply an assertion with no substantiation, based on Kelley’s prejudice. (Scientists generally avoid asserting things based on their prejudice. This policy is called the ‘Scientific Method’.)

Then Tim warms to the lie and says:


Here’s the Science Museum blog he references.

This is where Kelley goes through the looking glass into an Alice in Wonderland kind of reversal. His tweet says “scientists are debating just like the climate scientists”, again without any evidence, even though the very text in his link says “Standard model stands firm.” Am I missing something?

As a topper to this house of cards, Kelley writes:


Let’s just say the “Wattsupwiththat” blog is another tiresome restatement of denier claptrap. Please read the blog carefully and make your own response, since any fair reading will give it the lie. You don’t need my analysis.

All of this twitter nonsense would be just more Internet bit-spilling except that Tim Kelley is a senior meteorologist at NECN. He puts NECN on his twitter profile. He uses the corporate stability of NECN to backup his preposterous musings.  This means, despite his “all tweets are me, not NECN” profile claim, NECN is completely weapped up in these deceptive tweets,  NECN benefits from Kelley’s persona and he benefits from the use of the NECN brand.  NECN should be held accountable for Kelley’s embarrassing inaccuracies. As a responsible consumer, you should insist that NECN take action.  Here is the link: feedback@necn.com

This entry was posted in Climate Change Skepticism, Weather and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Fact Checking the Weathermen… (yet again)

  1. Pingback: The Climate Minute – Two (and more) for the road, Arctic Icemelt, and -news flash- fossil fuels leak | Mass Climate Action Network (MCAN)

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