Copyright AFP 2017-2022. all rights reserved.
Images shared on social media claim that the German TV channel changed the colors of its weather maps to exaggerate the effects of climate change. This is incorrect. The images show different types of maps, one photo has been tampered with, and the majority of scientists say climate change is making heat waves more frequent and intense.
A Facebook post on July 17, 2022 shows a series of weather maps from German TV channels.
The top image, dated 2009, shows a map of Germany in green with the sun above it and a maximum temperature of 36 degrees Celsius (97 degrees Fahrenheit). The central photo labeled “2019” is in red and shows temperatures up to 34°C. His third image in the post shows the weather presenter in front of a background of flames with temperatures reaching his 32°C.
“That’s how the operation works,” says the caption.
The German text below the photo reads, “From weather forecasts to climatic hysteria.”
Posted during a severe heatwave in Europe, the post is the latest to misleadingly share a weather map to call into question the credibility of climate change reporting. A social media user also promotes old news he reports claiming record temperatures in July 2022 were not unusual.
The top two images in the latest post are from the German news program Tagesschau, and the bottom photo has been tampered with from the German broadcaster RTL’s weather forecast. They present a wide variety of reports and do not deny scientific consensus on the role of climate change in exacerbating heatwaves.
Maps that cannot be compared
In 2019, Tagesschau explained the map’s color scheme in response to accusations from the far-right Alternative for Germany party of manipulating the map for ideological reasons.
The green map in the post shows the weather forecast, showing not only temperature but also cloud cover, precipitation and sunshine. The second map shows the temperature-only forecast.
In a 2019 statement, Tagesschau said of the second map, “The coloring also allows us to infer what the approximate temperature will be in places where there are no numbers.”
“The scale varies from dark red for high temperatures to cool blue,” the news program said, noting that different seasons use different color scales.
With slight modifications to the design, Tagesschau used these two formats in 2009 and 2010, and also in broadcasts dating back to June 1999.
AFP previously verified other false claims about the Tagesschau map.
The photo below has been tampered with
The third photo in the post is from the German TV show “RTL Aktuell”. The image bears the logo of the weather platform Wetter.de, operated by RTL.
RTL spokeswoman Michelle Wilbois said in an email that RTL Aktuell’s broadcast aired on August 22, 2019. It wasn’t 2020, as the post claims.
Mr Wilbois sent a clip of the broadcast to AFP for comparison. The layout matches images shared on social media, as does the clothing worn by host Christian Heckle.
But there are some differences that indicate the photo has been tampered with.
The original clip has the sunset in the background instead of the fireball. In images shared online, Huckle’s face appears to be tinted red, and the studio lighting is also omitted.
“Screenshots have been redacted,” said Wilbois. “RTL has never used fire graphics in the context of weather forecasts.”
Falsified photos have been circulating on social networks since at least 2020.
Climate change will exacerbate heatwaves
Climate scientists agree that carbon emissions from humans burning fossil fuels are heating the planet, increasing the risk and severity of heatwaves and other extreme weather events.
The World Weather Attribution service has conducted several studies that show how climate change is increasing the likelihood of heatwaves.
In 2021 and 2022, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) will issue a major warning of the need for urgent action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to avoid catastrophic global warming. 6 evaluation reports were issued. The report reflects a global consensus among scientists on human-induced climate change.
“Human impacts have clearly warmed the atmosphere, seas and land,” the report said.
AFP has now fact-checked other claims about the climate.