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Iowa meteorologist Chris Gloninger quits 18-year career after death threat over climate coverage

Chris Gloninger has spent nearly two decades reporting on the weather and the climate crisis. But on Wednesday, he resigned, citing numerous harassing emails and even a death threat over his reporting. 

Gloninger, the chief meteorologist for CBS affiliate KCCI in Des Moines, Iowa, has spent the past 18 years working at seven news stations across five states. But on Wednesday, the New York native tweeted that he now must focus on his "health, family and combating the climate crisis" in another way. 

"After a death threat stemming from my climate coverage last year and resulting in PTSD, in addition to family health issues, I've decided to begin this journey *now*," he tweeted. "...I take immense pride in having educated the public about the impacts of climate change during my career."

Gloninger has made a habit of using his forecasts to show how weather – the temporary conditions of the atmosphere that constantly changes – is impacted by climate change, a phrase that reflects how long-term weather conditions shift over time. Scientists and experts have long warned that as global temperatures warm, largely because of the excessive burning of fossil fuels, weather and natural disasters will become more deadly and intense. 

And in an effort to help share information surrounding this, the Emmy-award winning meteorologist has covered a range of weather events, created Boston's first climate change series and produced broadcast specials on how climate change impacts every area of life

The threats Gloninger referenced in his resignation began in June 2022. 

"Getting sick and tired of your liberal conspiracy theory on the weather," an email Gloninger shared that's dated June 21, 2022, says. "Climate changes every day, always has, always will, your pushing nothing but a Biden hoax, go back to where you came from." 

Another email dated three days later from the same address asks for his home address, saying, "We conservative Iowans would like to give you an Iowan welcome you will never forget." 

And another sent from the same person a few weeks later told him to "go east and drown from the ice cap melting." 

"Police are investigating. It's mentally exhausting & at times I have NOT been ok," Gloninger tweeted at the time. "...The threat of course was concerning, but the stream of harassing emails is even more distressing. It means he is thinking about it constantly. He is angry about it and filled with hate." 

Police eventually found the man responsible for the emails: Danny Hancock, a 63-year-old Iowa resident, the Iowa Capital Dispatch reported. He was issued a $150 fine

CBS News has reached out to Gloninger and KCCI for comment. 

The meteorologist told The Washington Post that the slew of harassment left him unable to sleep. And even after Hancock was found, the toll of the threats, as well as some happenings with his family, left him struggling.

Even though he's leaving broadcast news, he's not giving up on sharing information about the only worsening climate crisis. He said on Twitter that he is now going to "devote my full-time efforts to finding sustainable solutions and fostering positive change." 

"Having a dream since you were in second grade of being a TV meteorologist?" Gloninger told The Washington Post. "Yeah. I'm going to miss it. I just hope that this is even more fulfilling than the last 18 years, my next chapter."

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