CO2 Optical Illusion

By Steve Goddard

People see what they want or expect to see. A great example is in today’s NASA Earth Observatory image of the day article.

A heat wave scorched the eastern United States in early July 2010, straining power grids, slowing transit, forcing nursing homes to evacuate, and prompting East Coast residents to shelter in “cooling centers,” according to news reports. Temperatures topped 105 degrees Fahrenheit (41 degrees Celsius) in Baltimore for two consecutive days. The heat wave was a global phenomenon. Beijing also experienced near-record heat, and temperatures soared to 122 degrees Fahrenheit (50 degrees Celsius) in Kuwait. This global map shows temperature anomalies for July 4–11, 2010, compared to temperatures for the same dates from 2000 to 2008. The anomalies are based on land surface temperatures observed by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite. Areas with above-average temperatures appear in red and orange, and areas with below-average temperatures appear in shades of blue. Oceans, lakes, and areas with insufficient data (usually because of persistent clouds) appear in gray.

The author missed mentioning the fact that almost all of Mexico and Australia were far below normal. The author missed the fact that much of north and equatorial Africa was below normal, as was much of Asia and eastern Europe.

To quantify this, I did a pixel count on their high resolution image.

It turns out that 5% more pixels were below normal than were above normal. The animation below makes this easier to visualize. Red is above average temperatures, blue is below average temperatures, and white represents average temperatures.

Below are close up animations

This is not a perfect equal area projection – so the pixel count method is not 100% accurate. However, it is clear that NASA claims of a global heat wave are incorrect. Some places were hot, other places (like where I live) were cold.

The author noted that it is hot in Kuwait in July? What are the chances of that?

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Don’t confuse ’em with the facts…

Sean Peake

Brilliant!

blcjr

Nice.
What software are you using to count pixels?

James Sexton

WTG Steve! That’s funny to turn their own maps used for hyperbole into maps of reason and rationale. Of course, we know the response will be “but the blue areas were only moderately cool while the red areas were really, super, tremendously hot!”

I just watched the global evening national news (Canada). The anchor was selling the world is melting right off of the Nasa press release. I don’t suppose the objective researched story exists anywhere any more…

James Sexton

Glen Shevlin says:
July 16, 2010 at 4:13 pm
“…… I don’t suppose the objective researched story exists anywhere any more…”
Objective researched stories? What is this that you speak of?

R. de Haan

Maybe the Islamic world buys the crap from NASA.
We certainly don’t.
Thanks for a job well done.

George E. Smith

Hey Steve; I don’t see the ice anywhere; what happened to that ?
I sure do like your blink comparator imagery. It’s amazing what the eye can perceive in a flash; when presented in a useful way.
And nice that you have access to the raw pixels to play with.
Stories about the Gulf War; and Iraq, talked of Coalition troops out in all their gear with Temperatures as high as 134 F; which I take to be in shade air Temperatures; what’s the chance of that in July. And Vostok, could be pushing -90 C or thereabouts at exactly the same time.
George

Doug in Seattle

NOAA has a narrative they are expected to support. I expect this administration to do everything within their power to get passage of watered down version of cap and trade before the August recess. Then they will come back in November to pass the full version during the lame duck session. Until then expect nothing but alarm from NOAA.

Spam

A heat wave scorched the eastern United States in early July 2010, straining power grids

You know, I do wonder how much of the “record summer highs” in cities in summer is due to air conditioning discharges.

Mac the Knife

NASA shows Australia as colder than a witch’s pips…. and NOAA says they’re frying! I sure feel real good about funding these fine public servants in their pursuit of scientific truths! Makes one proud to be a US tax paying citizen, it does!!!
//sarcasm off

Henry chance

Be afraid, very afraid. The heat in D.C. is unpresedented. Actually it caused an earth quake. Remember Haiti?
Rumor has it was caused by Barney Frank slipping in the bathtube. Still checking on the rumour.

Jose Suro

Hyperbole warning – as in “figure of speech” – can’t be to careful in these the heydays of “political correctness” .
Gotta love it when someone uses their opponents own guns on them :). WTG!

I love the blinkometers, but in this case they aren’t even necessary. NASA’s own original map screams ‘normal distribution, mean of zero!!!’ Without counting anything, it’s obvious that the above-befores equal the below-befores.

jaymam

If anyone from NASA is reading this (hah, of course they are!) can NASA please rotate the Earth a bit to the east so that New Zealand shows?
In a recent article that I’ve lost track of, NZ has the highest proportion of sceptics per population of any country, and should not be ignored. We’ve also had record low temperatures here. Thank you so much!

I don’t have access to the news report because I didn’t buy the paper and can’t find it online, but The Star (the supermarket tabloid) reports that in the future, Earth will be so hot that humanity will have evolved wings to keep from touching the surface.
I think The Star has some real climatologists on board.

Rod

I grew up in awe of NASA and what they could accomplish. Man, the current crop of activists that have taken over are sure trying every trick in the book to trade in on the great reputation earned by their wonderful scientist and engineer predecessors. Just about reached the credibility limit by now, though, I would think. What a tough job some future guys will have trying to restore the organization’s standing – probably better to just disestablish the place and start over with new names and teams. Quite sad, really, but it seems to be happening to a lot of previously great institutions. Thanks, Gramsci.

Hysteria

Objective researched stories? What is this that you speak of?
or to be even more pedantic – “What is this of which you speak?”
and
it’s really hot in Kuwait in July – sheesh – who’d a thunk it?

Jimbo

They say “The heat wave was a global phenomenon.”
What did they say about the freezing cold and snow this past winter over the northern hemisphere and other areas? It snowed in SAUDI ARABAI.
BBC News – Snow hits Mediterranean coast
Pythons, citrus and iguanas perish in Florida frost not to forget our beloved corals and warm loving manatees.
I could go on but you see cherry picking is easy especially when it’s warm. :o)

Jimbo

Correction:
It snowed in SAUDI ARABAI. [ARABIA]

James of the West

Anybody else notice the DMI polar temp graph this week – looks like it might dip down below freezing again in July….but NOAA has arctic as warm,

DirkH

Frank Lee MeiDere says:
July 16, 2010 at 5:18 pm
“I don’t have access to the news report because I didn’t buy the paper and can’t find it online, but The Star (the supermarket tabloid) reports that in the future, Earth will be so hot that humanity will have evolved wings to keep from touching the surface. ”
Obviously a reference to the Homo Vespertilio :
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Moon_Hoax

DonS

Poor Judd is dead
A candle lights his head
He’s lyin’ there so peaceful and serene.
So long, NASA, it was great while it lasted.
I’ve been a bit snippy about Eurotrash questioning the future of NASA. Guess I’m done with that.

Theo Goodwin

You are brilliant. Thanks for this illiminating look at the map and maps. Often people say to me that it sure is hot today. And I say to them, “Are you aware that you live in Kuwait [actual name withheld]?”

Bill Illis

This is the same image you can get at the Nasa earth observatory website (click on 8 day anomaly for July 4th to July 11th) at:
http://neo.sci.gsfc.nasa.gov/Search.html?group=67
One can also download the temp anomalies from this image in 1.5 degree blocks in a CSV for Excel format.
The average anomaly in the map is -0.03C (versus the 2000-2008 baseline) so it was not scorching hot – it was just below average for the relevant time period.

H.R.

Spam says:
July 16, 2010 at 4:42 pm
“”A heat wave scorched the eastern United States in early July 2010, straining power grids”
You know, I do wonder how much of the “record summer highs” in cities in summer is due to air conditioning discharges.”

AHA!! The modelers should forget about GHGs. You have found the holy grail of climate science; the missing feedback mechanism!
Good ol’ summer temps
== turn on air
Temps go higher from AC exhaust
== turn up air
Temps go higher yet from more AC exhaust
== crank up the aire some more
etc.,
== etc.
Pretty soon you have runaway AGW.

Yuba Yollabolly

Steve states: “The author missed mentioning the fact that almost all of Mexico and Australia were far below normal. The author missed the fact that much of north and equatorial Africa was below normal, as was much of Asia and eastern Europe.”
Yet the article clearly states: “…temperatures are below-normal for a large part of North America and parts of Eurasia.”
Steve said: “People see what they want or expect to see.”
Sure got that right.

Stephan

Mann! it is absolute freezing here in South America LOL (so far -15C anomaly) BTW nothing out of the ordinary for “climate”

“A heat wave scorched the eastern United States in early July 2010, straining power grids, slowing transit, forcing nursing homes to evacuate, and prompting East Coast residents to shelter in “cooling centers,” according to news reports.”

You may like it, Joe Bastardi may like it, but I really really hate La Nina because I have to live in the areas affected. Even Forrest Gump knows by now that La Nina correlates to much hotter temperatures on the east coast of the US. And yet, NOAA and NASA seem to have forgotten weather 101.
All of this reminds of me an episode of the Simpsons I saw today. The episode is Much Apu About Nothing. In the episode, 1 bear roams the neighborhood and an angry mob then demands a bear patrol, which they get even though this is the only bear ever seen in the neighborhood. Homer is then delighted the bear patrol is working. Here is the relevant part:

Homer: Not a bear in sight. The Bear Patrol must be working like a charm.
Lisa: That’s spacious reasoning, Dad.
Homer: Thank you, dear.
Lisa: By your logic I could claim that this rock keeps tigers away.
Homer: Oh, how does it work?
Lisa: It doesn’t work. It’s just a stupid rock. But I don’t see any tigers around, do you?
Homer: Lisa, I want to buy your rock.

Homer thought correlation was causation. There were no tigers and there is a rock in the yard. Therefore, the rock keeps away tigers. But Lisa was right, that is spacious reasoning. The same with CO2 and that map. CO2 is higher and temperatures are higher. Therefore, more CO2 causes higher temperatures. That logic is just as asinine and spacious. And yet people want to buy the “rock” that NASA, NOAA, the UN, East Anglia, Michael Mann, James Hansen, Gavin Schmidt, et al. is selling. How appropriate that the Simpsons parody the fallacy of such logic a long time ago. That episode was aired in 1996.
It is simply amazing that basic meteorology is thrown out the window for an agenda.

Steve Schapel

Jaymam: “NZ has the highest proportion of sceptics per population of any country”
Hmmm, I would be interested to see the source for that information. If it’s true, how did we get the most rigorous CO2 tax in the world? If it’s true, why did we only get 120 people to a recent march to parliament to protest against said CO2 tax?

1DandyTroll

Crap, now I understand why the three stage model rocket weren’t designed nor built by NASA. And why it took some high school students or what ever with a couple of hundred bucks to take actual new pictures of earth in a new way from space, almost anyway, like add at three stage non-nasa rocket to the whole weather balloon package and maybe a low orbit will be the next best thing before NASA gets all mental over peoples R/C satellite “Big Gun” battle. :p

DirkH

Yuba Yollabolly says:
July 16, 2010 at 6:21 pm
“[…]
Yet the article clearly states: “…temperatures are below-normal for a large part of North America and parts of Eurasia.”
Steve said: “People see what they want or expect to see.”
Sure got that right.”
Good find. One sentence in the entire wall of text mentioning below normal temps, the rest talking about scorching heatwaves. Difficult to find, yet now NASA can say they’re objective. So we can say in the map there’s 55% below normal , in the text we have about 5% mentioning of below-normal temperatures. They know how to spin it.

LightRain

S. Africa is shown as above normal, yet during the World Cup most of the world (outside of NASA) saw and heard how unseasonably cold it was. What’s Up With That?

jack morrow

WTG Steve!

GeoFlynx

“Global” temperature would include the 71% of the Earth surface covered by ocean. Nasa’s MODIS (Medium Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer) operates on both the Terra and Aqua spacecraft. Since sea surface temperatures are available at the OCDPS, my guess is that we are only seeing part of the story (29%).

questioning

I’m concerned that you didn’t address the global water temperatures, especially the apparent significant increase in the Atlantic temps, which have the greatest reaching affect not only in area but in duration. Land temps come and go, but water temps linger on much longer…

Tom in Florida

“A heat wave scorched the eastern United States in early July 2010, straining power grids,”
I wonder how a grid using mostly wind power would have been strained.

Ray

They may lie all they want. Eventually all the warming doom they are predicting will not take place. Instead the world will wake up will nothing to eat since temperatures will drop. And as the Chinese have shown, these will be one of those triggers for a revolution. They want to impose a Global Government… they will get a Global Revolution.

Robert Austin

Wade says:
Good post and Homer is hilarious, but the pedant in me cannot resist substituting specious for “spacious“.
Lisa: That’s spacious reasoning, Dad.
spe·cious
   /ˈspiʃəs/ Show Spelled[spee-shuhs] Show IPA
–adjective
1.
apparently good or right though lacking real merit; superficially pleasing or plausible: specious arguments.
2.
pleasing to the eye but deceptive.

pat

this is such an excellent piece, perhaps it could do with a thread of its own:
17 July: Australian: Amos Aikman: Sorting Bangladeshi disasters from the fact or myth of climate change
Rising floodwaters and other evironmental problems cannot be simply blamed on the impact of man-made climate change
Already facing a surfeit of environmental crises, Bangladeshi policy makers have been quick to cry against global warming; environmental groups have sought to raise the spectre of climate migration. On the ground, however, the consequences of climate change are often similar to those of development, overpopulation and natural disasters, and it is hard to tell them apart. …
What’s more, many problems are complicated by developmental factors, such as embankment building that has produced apparent sea-level rise unrelated to climate change…
“The first culprit is the embankments, the second is the Farakka dam diversion, the third is climate change. Who contributes how much? That needs to be studied and looked into, it’s not a simple question,” Nishat says. However, even though Bangladeshi researchers are candid about such problems, environmental groups and Western media reports often ignore them…
http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/features/sorting-bangladeshi-disasters-from-the-fact-or-myth-of-climate-change/story-e6frg6z6-1225892653229

Guys: “ImageJ” from the NIH.
Google it, download it.
You can analyse pixels quite easily, and you can split RGB images into color components, and if they are of the right type, in terms of the color graph/numerical value, you can retranslate the images into “hard numbers” to be used in a spreadsheet, etc.
Take you about 10 minutes to download and set up.
Your tax dollars at work!
Max

Mike

The baseline is the 2000-2008 average. Thus, “cool” means cooler than the average for the warmest decade on record. And “hot” means very hot. “This global map shows temperature anomalies for July 4–11, 2010, compared to temperatures for the same dates from 2000 to 2008.”
http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=44664
People who do not read often end up confused.

Jason Miller

So the reddish pixels have a value of +1 and the blueish pixels have a value of -1 instead of a scale of +12 to +1 and -1 to -12. By doing this you have removed all the weight represented in the original image. Yes, you have displayed the areas that were warm versus cool, but what is the significance of such a display when the weight of the pixels is discarded? I want to know how much hotter are cooler each area was. I can strip the weights myself by seeing all the blue or red pixels as two separate shades.
This is like having a limit of 8 people on the elevator. It is important whether the 8 people are elementary school students or 8 men from a Largest Men in the World meeting. That’s why the capacity on elevators is written as weight. Who is being weighed makes all the difference.

Though NASA map shows 5% more cold anomalies than hot ones, I wouldn’t believe their data.
As LightRain correctly mentioned above, everyone knows that South African weather was colder than usual in June, but NASA map shows it was warmer than usual.
Even when these Big-Brother-Tit-Milkers are forced to tell some of the truth, they lie.

anna v

A comment should be made on the one week they are grabbing out of the basket.
What about the week before, or the week after? My comment comes because it shows in red south of France where my son is, and I know that a bit before they were complaining of having 19C temperatures in the middle of the summer!
Glad to see they got Greece right.

Mike says:
July 16, 2010 at 8:18 pm
The baseline is the 2000-2008 average. Thus, “cool” means cooler than the average for the warmest decade on record. And “hot” means very hot.
—…—…—
Propaganda = The “hottest decade ever recorded” is at the top of a whopping 4/10 of ONE degree increase over a record low point in the 20th century between the highs of the 1940 and the 60 year later 2000 high. Gee. Less than 1/2 of one degree.
The ENTIRE global hype ( Obama’s 1.3 trillion dollar tax) is based on hype about a spotty 1/2 of one degree temp rise. And that rise doesn’t correspond to CO2 increases either.
hint: We are rising up from a low temperature of about -1.0 between 1600 and 1850. We are coming back up towards a high about 1/3 of a degree higher. Temp’s were warmer in the year 100-200 AD and in the years between 1000-1100.

James Allison

Jason Miller says:
July 16, 2010 at 8:21 pm
The point of SG’s post is that NASA only focused their article on the heated bits of the Earth using hyperbole in order to make it all seem quite extreme. The question you should ask is why didn’t NASA at least balance the article by using the same hyperbole to describe the colder bits of the Earth. Is this a perfect example of an agenda at work here – do you think?

The data for South America is false. In Argentina we are having record cold temperatures. This July is a repetition of the 2007 July when it snowed in Buenos Aires for the first time since 1918. It snowed again yesterday. It even snowed in the province of Santiago del Estero where it has never snowed!
Today was the coldest day in 10 years in the entire country, in all places. It keeps snowing in Tucumán, Salta and Jujuy, northern provinces close to the boder with Bolivia, north of the Tropic of Capricorn. And not only in the mountains but at low altitudes (300-500 m asl).
A temperature graph for my nearest city Alta Gracia updated to July 15th:
AltaGracia-15-JUL-2010
Any newspaper in Argentina is speaking about this unusual cold weather and the terrible energy crisis it has imposed on the country.

Ben

What I always wanted to know what is the point in reaching a “baseline” in temperatures.. And who cares how one week compares to said baseline. One week is weather according to our pals at real climate, and yet this is a press release about global cooking?
Just to be clear, I think the entire baseline is bogus. Baselines need much more data to even come close to approximate a baseline for temperature data. When climate moves at millenium scales and we have a baseline of 30 years….and we even discuss this?
I also tend to think, whats the point of having the most biased scientists in the world in charge of NASA temperature charts? Whether intentionally or inadvertantly through observer bias, those temperatures are at best “good enough for Government work” and at worthless.
Shrug, just things like the NASA press release make me want to rant.

Martin C

What also is interesting about this article is the last paragraph. Note the first sentence:
“Heat waves often spark discussions of global warming, but it’s important not to consider a single heat wave evidence of long-term climate change; heat waves can and do occur in any kind of climate. However, climate warming is expected to increase the likelihood of heat waves. Unusually warm temperatures in May and June 2010 continued a long-term trend of warming, especially pronounced in the Arctic.”
Anyone who was using the east coast heat wave to continue spouting global warming (Michael Mann, Joe Romm, et. al. ) needs to read it.
But of course, the last two sentences have to give its ‘dig’ to a warming environment. Sure, in a warmer environment, one would expect more ‘heat waves’, as compared to cooler environments ( . . so what, nothing other than the obvious there . . .) .
Yet although unspoken, one can assume what they believe is causing the warmer environment . . . (oh, and though I haven’t gone back to look at any data, was the arctic really that much warmer in May/June?)