The claim: 1922 news article about the Arctic said sea level rise would make coastal cities uninhabitable ‘within a few years’
Social media users are again spreading the false claim that a 100-year-old newspaper article reported that sea level rise was on the brink of destroying most coastal cities.
The posts include text from a 1922 Associated Press article about a report from the U.S. consul in Bergen, Norway, to the Commerce Department on “climate conditions” in the Arctic. The article, which was published in the Washington Post, reported ocean warming, diminished ice cover and changes in wildlife populations.
However, in the social media posts, a line is added to the text that was not in the original article: “Within a few years it is predicted that due to the ice melt the sea will rise and make most coast cities uninhabitable.”
A June 1 Facebook post that included the added text was shared 1,500 times in the last two months.
Similar posts that include the fabricated text date back to at least 2015.
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USA TODAY reached out to the Facebook users who shared the claim for comment.
Original article does not include text about coastal cities
The Washington Post published the AP article on November 2, 1922.
USA TODAY reviewed an archived version of the article and found that it did not include the sentence about sea level rise and coastal cities.
The claim was previously debunked in a 2014 article on the Real Climate website.
Our rating: False
Based on our research, we rate FALSE the claim that a 1922 news article about the Arctic said sea level rise would make coastal cities uninhabitable “within a few years.” That prediction was not in the original article.
Our fact-check sources:
- AFP, July 18, Century-old Arctic report altered to discredit global warming
- Real Climate, April 30, 2014, Faking it
- Associated Press, Nov. 2, 1922, Arctic Ocean getting warm; Seals vanish and iceburgs melt
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