Oct 27, 2011 – Victoria, BC, Canada-occupied territories.
I had a “No way! Finally!” moment… Tada!:
Grey scale going from light to dark and legend colors that make sense, look at that! I doubt I have anything to do with this, but… it took ‘m FIVE MONTHS to catch up with what I did on May 19th (2011), namely: present the fallout maps in colors that make sense. Too bad they didn’t take it a step further on the same color-corresponding-with-fallout-leves scale, so that comparing the fallout levels to Chernobyl would be easier for the visually-inclined.. Oh so close… Not the same, but very similar. Almost the very same UNEP-style color choices even. See below my legend comparison (updated) for how they compare.
On a side note, I still haven’t found inspiration to “color-translate” the JUST-Cesium-137 map from my September 30th “Extended Fukushima Fallout Maps – Sept 29 MEXT Release. Fukushima vs. Chernobyl – 2“. The map published in the The Asahi Shimbun (shown above), this October 24th, happens to be for Cs-134 + Cs-137 combined as well, so doesn’t compare to the UNEP map’s Bq/m^2 correctly either. It would have been nice if they had used the UNEP scale, then I could see how badly or awesome I did in my time-killing attempts. Anyhow, word of warning continues thus: the comparison only works to a point… ’cause (please note!:) the Chernobyl fallout map for all of Europe is for cs-137 only (Hence my correction note on Oct 3), and… in this case even though the map legend colors look practically the same, THEY’RE NOT.
Aside from my preference for intuitively-easily-interpreted map legends, all I was really trying to say was that, while there are significant differences, the Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear disaster appears to be at least on par with the Soviet Union’s Chernobyl nuclear disaster as far as radioactive contamination released into the environment goes.
There were (and still are) folks in (what I consider) denial, [the global warming alarmist/zealot George Monbiot is a good example…], some who have been damn vocal in trying to make Fukushima-Dai’ichi sound like it really wasn’t a big deal, who’ve even been trying to make it sound like it’s barely as bad as the (much less severe) Three Mile Island nuclear disaster [global warming skeptic Anthony Watts, for example [whose posts and data resource pages I often appreciate otherwise] shared this pro-nuclear crap on his blog on March 26, for example]. But, well… sadly but for the long term future perhaps fortunately if nuclear energy gets the ax, the Fukushima’s mess appears to resemble that of Chornobyl (I shall be writing it the Ukrainean way from now on), and as the evidence and consequences become clearer, I foresee “the pro-nuke crowd” shrinking to just a bunch of tin foiled hat wacko’s soon enough, just like the “anthropogenic global warming hysteria fear mongers” (or what’s left of that pathetic attempt to subvert science – maybe I’ll share my two cents on that whole issue some day here on this blog… – But I digress).
It’s even quite possible that it may end up being worse. Hard to estimate, and thus hard to compare, given the fact that much of the released radionuclides have been ending up in the water, rather than the air. The (sometimes) scientific magazine NATURE just (Oct 25, 2011) came out with this article, http://www.nature.com/news/2011/111025/full/478435a.html, citing research published in the Journal of Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, stating:
“[…] The new study challenges those numbers. On the basis of its reconstructions, the team claims that the accident released around 1.7 × 1019 Bq of xenon-133, greater than the estimated total radioactive release of 1.4 × 1019 Bq from Chernobyl. The fact that three reactors exploded in the Fukushima accident accounts for the huge xenon tally, says De Geer. Xenon-133 does not pose serious health risks because it is not absorbed by the body or the environment. Caesium-137 fallout, however, is a much greater concern because it will linger in the environment for decades. The new model shows that Fukushima released 3.5 × 1016 Bq caesium-137, roughly twice the official government figure, and half the release from Chernobyl. The higher number is obviously worrying, says De Geer, although ongoing ground surveys are the only way to truly establish the public-health risk. […]”
Anyway, here’s how the above Fukushima fallout map legend compares with the Chornobyl fallout map legend I used for the map I created based on the “legendary wacky” data map released by MEXT (see my previous Extended Fukushima Fallout Maps – Sept 29 MEXT Release. Fukushima vs. Chernobyl – 2 blogpost for that). Interesting… See how they’ve moved away from the original MEXT map legend, shifted to similar colors and grey scale as the UNEP map, but how the theme of “making Fukushima APPEAR less bad than Chornobyl” subtly applies here too… Skip the red, too alarming. j/k! Yet… a tiny wee bit odd, no?
My newly updated (Oct 26, 2011) Fallout map colors legend comparison:
For more about the colors in the bars on the left, see my little Elaboration on my Cesium-137/134 Fallout Color-Legends “Translation Legend”, which includes sources for those maps’ legends.
PS: This is not a science blog. Even though it’s not entertaining, I did just entertain you, didn’t I? If not, see my Disclaimer.