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?