Weather Talk: The latest science is not always the whole truth

The frequent reporting of the latest scientific findings in the popular media, while factual, can be misleading. A published scientific finding begins with a scientist asking a question, formulating a hypothesis, setting up and performing an experiment, observing the results, and then drawing conclusions from the results, which are reviewed by peers and then published. Although such findings are factual, there is much more to the scientific process.

Many of these papers are presented at gatherings of scientists where the results and implications are discussed. One paper may inspire additional studies.

Eventually, a new way of thinking about something scientific can work its way into mainstream acceptance. However, when media report on the latest finding upon publication, it's importance can be misinterpreted because the idea has not yet survived a proper vetting.