Whoops! The UK Express reported satellite images may have indicated mass cremations of coronavirus victims in China, but the image actually showed projected forecast images.
The Feb. 10 Express.co.uk article was headlined, “Coronavirus satellite image: Does THIS image show REAL scale of virus cremations?”
The Express declined to comment to iMediaEthics about what went wrong.
The Feb. 17 correction read:
“The article claimed satellite images from Windy.com could show high levels of sulphur dioxide above China as possible evidence of mass cremations of people who have died from coronavirus. However, it has come to our attention that the maps were not satellite images but forecast images.
“The maps did not show observed data in realtime, as they were forecast images. NASA had provided the data to Windy.com and subsequently confirmed that the maps were forecasts based on weather patterns and historical information about SO2 emissions.
“Since publication, Dr. Arlindo M da Silva, a research meteorologist from NASA’s Global Modeling and Assimilation Office, confirmed the forecast maps showed GEOS-5 sulphur dioxide models are based on past evidence of emission levels. He added: “Our forecasts are based on fixed emission inventories.
“Although satellite data has been used in the construction of the emission inventories, these emissions do not account for the day-to-day variations in SO2 emissions and as such cannot account for sudden changes in human activity. In GEOS-5, day-to-day variations in SO2 are due to variations in the meteorological conditions, in particular winds. We are happy to set the record straight.”
Dr. da Silva told iMediaEthics he was contacted about the mistake by a fact checking website. “I am satisfied with the fact checking efforts,” he told iMediaEthics by e-mail, and added that “one should always double check their sources.”