France is in the sweaty grasp of a hot weather phenomenon known as la canicule — and forecasters are running out of ways to describe both its immediate danger and ominous long-term significance. Last week, meteorologist Ruben Hallali found an apt metaphor in this image: a weather forecast model for Thursday, June 27, whose patterns of temperatures across France just happened to create the image of a screaming skull. Naturally he tweeted it paired with Edvard Munch’s 1893 painting, “The Scream”.
The map was first published on June 20 on Météociel, a French site that automatically generates weather pattern visualizations based on data from various forecasting models. Météociel spokesperson Sylvain Dupont told CNN that this particular map had been generated from real data created by the US predictive Global Forecast System. “By chance, it just happened to be possible to imagine a special form of a skull in this map,” he said, emphasizing the randomness of the apparition. “There are so many maps created on our site for each updated forecast that it is statistically possible for some to look like something.”