Thursday, August 29, 2013
This colorful graphic generated by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has been circulating around the interwebs driving fear into anyone who views it. The assumption made by most on first seeing it is that the trails of orange and red emanating from the east coast of Japan are traces of radioactivity. However this map has absolutely nothing to do with the nuclear disaster at Fukushima. The image was generated by NOAA in March 2011 in the aftermath of the Tohoku earthquake and it shows WAVE HEIGHT of the tsunami that followed.
I am not here to minimize the Fukushima disaster or say that we should not be concerned about the progress of continuing clean up efforts. However, I would like to reign in the media and hope that they treat the public as adults and start fact-checking their reports before screaming "the sky is falling." I saw this graphic accompany dozens of stories about the recent "Fukushima Emergency." Even NPR fell victim to this deceit! When alarmist stories are written and accompanied by false "data" to reinforce the cognitive bias of the masses we are setting ourselves up to be at the whim of propaganda.
I read this debunking on one of the few sources I've come to trust - Snopes.com