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Sofia Ahmed
By Sofia Ahmed April 16, 2024

Erroneous forecast of 85-foot waves was caused by weather system data glitch

If Your Time is short

  • Ventusky, a weather forecast data website, said on X that its map visualizations had forecast large waves as part of a "model error." 

  • This video footage of large waves crashing in South Africa is from 2023.

  • Learn more about PolitiFact’s fact-checking process and rating system.

Last week, erroneous images from a weather forecast website showed massive waves forming between Antarctica and Africa, and some social media users linked them to the total solar eclipse. 

"Anomaly Coming From Antarctica the Day After Exlipse Producing 85ft Waves!!" misspelled text on the April 14 Facebook video read. 

In the video, a man shows a map visualization of a red mass that began near Antarctica and expanded as it moved toward South Africa. "The day after the eclipse, this massive anomaly shows up out from under Antarctica," the man says. "As the day went on on the 9th, they grew, they grew, and they grew." 

He then showed video footage of flooding in Cape Town, South Africa. The man said the waves were caused by alien aircraft. 

This post was flagged as part of Meta’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram.)

Featured Fact-check

The map images originated on a website called Ventusky that visualizes weather prediction data. Ventusky posted April 12 on X that the wave forecast was an error. 

"Despite numerous reports of UFOs or Atlanteans launching from the ocean, yesterday’s image of giant waves near Africa was due to a model error," Ventusky wrote on X. "Fortunately our provider, the German Meteorological Institute @DWD_presse, has already resolved it, and the forecast is fine." 

In another April 14 X post, Ventusky clarified that the error came from model data from DWD, short for Deutscher Wetterdienst, the German Weather Service.

Google reverse-image searches showed the images of flooding included in the Facebook post were from 2023 in South Africa. The same video footage of large waves breaking in South Africa were posted on X and Instagram in September 2023. 

We rate the claim that the day after the total solar eclipse, 85-foot waves traveled from Antarctica to South Africa False. 

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Erroneous forecast of 85-foot waves was caused by weather system data glitch

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