Back on the 14th, Snopes debunked a fraudulent map circulating on the net, purporting to be from the Australian Radiation Services. That is a real organization, but has nothing to do with the above purported “fallout map,” which looks a little like something that would show up on the inside cover of a Gamma World reboot.
The “rad” is an obsolete unit of absorbed radiation dose. The unit currently in use is the “roentgen-equivalent man,” or rem, in the United States, and the sievert in most other countries. The use of the rad as a unit can often be a tip-off that any information you’re getting about radiation is fraudulent or pseudoscientific, which has been true for a while now.
Obviously, since doses above 1000 rads are likely fatal, and doses above 200 rads usually cause serious illness, this map is intended to freak you out. Did it work?
In any event Monday the 14th (or even earlier, over the weekend) would have been a ludicrous time to begin making projections about how much radiation would cross the Pacific, especially since nobody’s 100% sure even now. It’s almost certain to be irrelevant in medical terms, however.
The REAL projection, from the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization, doesn’t include amounts of radiation. It also has these wonky dots that represent the Organization’s monitoring stations. That map appears to be entirely un-fraudulent and was obtained by the New York Times despite its not being released to the member governments but not to the public by the Organization — probably in an attempt to avoid causing panic (way to go!!!)
The Australian Radiation Service puts the following disclaimer at the top of its site, in red:
DISCLAIMER: Australian Radiation Services is aware of information about radioactive contamination being spread from the Japanese nuclear reactor incident released under the ARS logo and name. We wish to be clear that this information has not originated from ARS and as such distance ourselves from any such misinformation.
The real projection is far less satisfying in visceral terms — see? Here is a screencap of it, and you can find the real interactive version at The New York Times, who loves you far more than the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization.