To: 07/25/2022 18:39
Once again public broadcasters are accused of using weather maps to show the heat in Germany in a much more dramatic way than a few years ago. The real reason is much less spectacular.
This summer, it’s not just the weather that’s causing anger, but also the way it’s presented on public radio. The charge: While a few years ago temperatures over 20 degrees Celsius were still charted as neutral or relatively mild tones, today it’s red tones that look alarmist. The alleged intent behind this: With such maps, viewers should be suggested how dramatic global warming is – when similar temperatures were once sold as pleasant.
Specifically, one case concerns two snippets of the weather forecast daily topics. While in a program from June 2017 even temperatures above 30 degrees Celsius are indicated on a green map of Germany, it looks much redder in a program from 2022 – despite maximum temperatures of “only” 32 degrees. AfD politician Georg Pazderski wrote on Twitter: “One can hardly illustrate the deliberate manipulation of viewers in a more exemplary way. What was green five years ago is bright red today.”
Switch to a uniform map design
The shows from which the post’s screenshots were taken are available on the YouTube channel of the daily topics yet to be seen. It is true that the temperature maps differ significantly in the two programs.
And for a simple reason, explains the head of the weather service responsible for the Hessian Broadcasting (HR)Silke Hansen, with: “Time for the daily topics has not been delivered by different editors and companies since 2020, but by ARD Competence Center in Frankfurt. We changed the complete design during the recovery and the design of the daily news personalized. Since then there is also in the daily topics no more cloud symbols, but a cloudy film and the temperatures are shown on a temperature map, as is the case with the daily news done for 30 years.”
The design of daily topics and daily news was standardized, but the moderators remained the same.
Not the first card manipulation allegation
The allegation behind this is not new. However, alleged photo evidence of alleged manipulation is often a fallacy: for example, when comparing weather maps to temperature maps. Because while a weather map shows how the weather should be (sunny, cloudy, rainy), the temperature map is used to show the number of degrees in color. The scale can range from dark red for warm temperatures to cool blue.
However, not every temperature has its own color, and the color range changes with the seasons. A color scale that would be used in summer and winter – i.e. from minus 20 to plus 40 degrees – would no longer have clearly recognizable color differences. Therefore, the meteorological service of the M four different color scales that always cover a part: five degrees is blue in summer and yellow or orange in winter.