Claims of mass cremation in Wuhan debunked | The Daily Star
05:30 PM, February 18, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 05:32 PM, February 18, 2020

Claims of mass cremation in Wuhan debunked

A tweet from the account @inteldotwav on February 8 claimed that the screenshot of a satellite image attached to it showed the area around Wuhan had a concerning rise in sulfur dioxide (SO2) -- a gas that is released from the burning of organic matter such as corpses or carcasses.

The tweet was quickly picked up by UK tabloids such as The Sun, the Mirror and the Daily Mail, stoking further fear of the coronavirus epidemic.

The screenshot, taken from windy.com, cited the alarming rise in SO2. It was found that it was not real-time data, but was from a weather prediction model which has little relation to current events.

Although the Sun claimed that the data was from satellite imaging, it was not. It was based off of a NASA GEOS-5 model's forecasts.

The space agency itself has said that the model provides significantly higher results than is observed.

The models do not take into account what is happening in real-time and it instead bases its forecasts on "emissions inventories", which are known sources of pollution such as factories, power plants and heaters.

Since the COVID-18 coronavirus epidemic is a recent occurrence, it cannot be factored into the model's predictions.

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