A World on Fire: It’s All in the Image

Guest Essay by Kip Hansen

 

WOF_featured_imageThe latest scare story flashing across the ‘Net from nearly every main stream media outlet is the frightening image of a world on fire released by NASA yesterday.  Headlines abound as the story spreads like wildfire:

NASA posts satellite image of ‘world on fire’ showing every fire burning on the planet right now

Stunning NASA image shows a ‘world on fire’

A world on fire: Shocking NASA image reveals the fires ravaging the globe as temperature records around the world fall

Climate change sets the world on fire

Anthony Watts covered the original release of this story here at WUWT.

My wife and I spent over ten years on the island of Hispaniola, where both Haiti and the Dominican Republic are found.  I am personally very familiar with their agricultural system having organized several humanitarian projects that furthered agriculture there.

I was surprised by the image presented by NASA:

World_on_Fire

In the image above, splashed across the front pages of the world yesterday, we see, circled in white, Hispaniola, covered in red — indicating fires (day and night) on 22 August 2018.

Always alert to bias in journalism covering science issues, I took a bit of a closer look…literally….

DR_on_Fire

In a close up of the island of Hispaniola shows how many fires and the extent of the fires — I’ve circled every one in white — had I not, they would be too small to see.

It is August and time to burn and then harvest the sugarcane fields….the pungent smoke will be rising from fields all over the DR and blowing on the gentle trade winds wafting a distinctive burnt sugar aroma across the island.

burning_cane_800

“Sugarcane is harvested by hand and mechanically. Hand harvesting accounts for more than half of production, and is dominant in the developing world. In hand harvesting, the field is first set on fire. The fire burns dry leaves, and chases away or kills any lurking venomous snakes, without harming the stalks and roots. Harvesters then cut the cane just above ground-level using cane knives or machetes.”

In an earlier career, I designed and built web sites for major sporting events and by necessity learned the fine art of photoshopping to improve the quality and appearance of images on the web.   One problem almost impossible to overcome, especially back in the 1990s, is “monitor pixel size” — the size of individual dots on your computer monitor.  Monitors are vastly improved today, but the problem persists for web graphics.  This is the true source of A World On Fire.

When NASA wants to present an image of where the fires are, each fire must be at least one pixel in size — you can’t really make the data point any smaller. When presenting the whole world view, each little burning field requires one bright red pixel.  Thus, the three dozen burning cane fields in the Dominican Republic, when shown on the world map, cover the entire island of Hispaniola.

It’s all in the pixels.

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Author’s Comment Policy:

I am not a web artist by any means — I did once have our web team’s “artist” dismissed because I had a better eye for web images than he did and thus had to re-do all of his work.  Today’s web graphics are a dream compared to the 1990s, when we were restricted to the 216 “web safe colors”.

Lesson:  It always pays to take a closer look.

Start with “Kip…” if you are speaking to me.

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Quick Links:

image of a world on fire released by NASA yesterday.

NASA posts satellite image of ‘world on fire’ showing every fire burning

Stunning NASA image shows a ‘world on fire’

A world on fire: Shocking NASA image reveals the fires ravaging the globe

Climate change sets the world on fire   

NASA story here at WUWT

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138 thoughts on “A World on Fire: It’s All in the Image

    • NASA knew what they were doing when publishing that misleading image“.
      Yes, NASA knew what they were doing.
      NASA were … well, given who NASA are …
      NASA were lying.

      What other possible exlanation is there? That NASA didn’t understand what they were posting? That NASA didn’t check who or what was causing the fires? That NASA simply didn’t care what the truth was as long as they got an alarming headline?

      NASA were lying, and/or NASA are disgracefully incompetent. Take your pick.

      I pick “and”.

      • “What other possible explanation is there? ”

        Why does NASA continue to employ people who damage NASA?

        feck·less
        adjective
        lacking initiative or strength of character; irresponsible.

        • Various civil service acts that make it very difficult to fire government employees, even those who show blatant incompetence or willfully work against the interests of their supervisors.

          Need to toss ’em all and go back to unrestricted hire-and-fire, often disparagingly called the spoils system. It’s much harder to maintain a bureaucratic swamp if it stands to be flushed every new administration.

          • drednicolson ==> Can’t say I agree with that. One of the major reasons Third World countries don’t work, especially budding democracies, is the “spoils system” in which the new “President” throws out everyone who really knows what they are doing (at least at a management level) and replaces them with incompetent (or just plain ignorant) members of his own political party and people to whom he owes favors.

            Even the smart, well-educated, well-meaning appointees get replaced in the next election cycle just as they are beginning to understand their duties and responsibilities. Coupled with kleptocracy, it is worse than a benevolent dictator running a happy, for the people, bureaucracy.

          • Well then there is the Greek approach, where no one is thrown out and all new cronies are added after each new government is formed. After a few decades you end up with a ginormous bureaucracy and also ginormous retirement obligations.
            Then you go broke.

          • Kip, Federal employees are triple protected, Civil Service laws, public employee unions and their Democratic Party friends in Congress. While throwing them all out after each Presidential election would not be wise the problems with the present system we face are just as bad. Yet today it is nearly impossible to fire a federal employee no matter how bad they are.

            An overwhelming majority of federal employees are registered Democrats. A larger majority are liberal to far left. A majority donate only to Democratic candidates. A growing percentage are now registered socialists.

            There are federal employees today that during the Cold War would not have been able to get security clearance.

            Consider the most recent issue with federal employees, the Veterans Administration. It had been a mess for decades. Most of Congress knew but the Democrats refused, then fought, not to change the law to make it easier to discipline, demote and fire incompetent and even criminal staff. Even after passing the Act supposedly fixing the problems, some of the staff that had been fired prior to the Act got their jobs back. Appreciate that under the previous rules what it took to fire any federal employee.

          • Kip, neither system works. And the protected system of today lends itself to corporate corruption of the entire government. We need the ability to fire any and all employees for any good reason. The government should NEVER be so big that it can’t be overhauled from top to bottom every four years. [Hint: the government is currently far too big.]

            The problems you mention come from corrupt or incompetent individuals. That’s a problem with our educational system. And our educational system has been corrupted by government bureaucrats (Civil Service Deep State).

            Ideally, we need smart, logical, ethical individuals in places of power to appoint smart, logical and ethical individuals to head up the VERY FEW agencies we end up keeping and to hire only smart, logical and ethical individuals to perform the smaller tasks.

            Perfection you’re never going to get, but we have to start somewhere. Right now, we have government BLOAT that’s deadly to the entire planet and a revolving door between industry and government that has to stop.

    • TDBraun ==> NASA press office certainly knew when they had an image that would make a powerful impact — it is hard to believe that they were not aware that it is a mis-representation. Since it touches on climate (see headlines), exaggeration is the New Normal.

    • “Never attribute to malice that which can be explained by incompetence or stupidity.” I’m sure that whoever put this together thought ‘Everyone knows that zoomed out everything looks bigger than it is-they use Google Maps after all.’ Now the person who wrote the headline “World on Fire,” since his job is to get you to look at the article, thought, ‘Cool! Zoomed out it looks like the world is on fire! I’ll put that in the headline and people for sure will check it out.

      • In certain areas it is imperative to reverse the assumption. For example, when dealing with climate scamming science.

      • Richard, like your quote, but though it’s always a good place to start, never eliminate the possibility that malice may be involved. This notion that “conspiracies” don’t exist is just plain nonsense. People are selfish. Anyone who doesn’t know this is either blind or stupid. And some crimes or unethical behavior requires 2 or more people — and the moment they talk about doing that crime or unethical behavior, it’s a conspiracy — a conversation with malice as the intent. When I researched my book on the topic, I was surprised to find out that there are at least 489 new conspiracies starting EVERY second, on average. And that’s based only on the known conspiracies.

  1. As the whole World slowly loses interest in the Climate Change-Global Warming Scare, and buttons their wallet, the manipulators have to burn the midnight oil, stoking the furnace of Global Calamity to re-engage the Faithful and reclaim the flow of money.

    • Isn’t it terrible that we get all this news about a few fires in California when the whole of sub-Saharan Africa is in flames and no-one mentions it? (Sarc)

    • Most grownups would use very fine tip pens to create more detail for drawing. NASA, more interested in propping up the global warming illusion, still uses crayons and chisel tip markers, which is supported by 97% of pre-school children.

    • Jan ==> What the image shows is the whole-world vie of the NASA app EOSDIS Worldview, with the overlays for “Fires and Thermal Anomalies” for Day and Night. Some of these could be factory smokestacks, brush piles being burned, or anything that makes a hot spot.

      • Right. When I was in the area of Campagnia (in Southern Italy) during mid September, the air was thick with smoke. Turns out that was the start of the hazelnut harvest, so they burn out all the brush under the tress, then layout nets to catch the nuts when they shake the trees. No handpicking allowed…

          • Yet another useless fact: The amount of Italian hazelnuts acquired for Nutella is based on the difference in the exchange rate of the Euro and the Turkish Lira.
            Turkey is a fierce competitor in the global hazelnut market.
            So the air quality in Campagnia is dependent on an exchange rate.
            And you thought the climate was complicated!

      • MarkW ==> The NASA app is quite interesting, and showing “Fires and Thermal Hot Spots” is just one feature. Go to the app EOSDIS Worldview and click Add Layers at the bottom to see what can be viewed.

      • How is it deceptive? It’s showing where fires are on the planet. Some of these are intentional man-made ones and others are not. Certainly there are many in Scandinavia, California, and Australia that are out of control bush fires. I can’t speak to whether or not this is usual for California or Australia but it most certainly isn’t in the case of Sweden. It seems to be a very reasonable question to ask whether their appearance is due to the warming of the arctic over the last century.

        • It’s deceptive by making the fires seem bigger than they are.
          It’s deceptive by claiming the planet is on fire.

          None of the fires are unusual, for the most part they are caused by bad forest management practices, nothing to do with weather.

          • What’s your evidence for the fires not being unusual and for them being caused by bad forest management practices?

    • I would suspect much of the fire in the Amazon basin is agricultural in nature also–slash and burn prepping for spring planting. Could be the same in southern Africa

  2. It’s too bad that the media has picked this up and foolishly turned it into an alarmist message (but no surprise!). I don’t think NASA is to blame.

    Kip, your comments about pixels are illuminating. Thanks.

    • Yes NASA IS TO BLAME They knew what they were doing . They should have split the image up to the size where they could of got 1 fire to 1 pixel. But then NASA GISS is run by the one of the most alarmist of alarmists . Gavin Schmidt

    • No, NASA absolutely is to blame. It is their visualization, their red pixels. It is not as if spinning were surprising given the tool NASA gave.

    • NASA generated the picture, then released it to the media. But it’s the media’s fault for running with it.

      Are you really that desperate?

      • Kip, I understand your point. But it’s a press release, after all. It’s designed to get attention – that’s what press releases do, just like many of the titles of posts here. They could have said something like “NASA Has a Tool to Identify Where Fires Are Based on Satellite Measurements,” but that’s ponderous and boring. Or it could have been, “The World’s On Fire” – that truly would have been alarmist.

        I do understand the point, though.

        Others here are focusing on the image, and I see their point, too. I’m not sure the pixel size is the explanation, though. I think it’s a matter of being able to see where fires are at the scale of the Earth as a whole. If the dots were smaller, individual small fires wouldn’t be visible on the image, and that could be a problem for those who use the tool. No one with any sense at all will look at the picture and jump to the conclusion that half of sub-Saharan Africa is ablaze.

        • Kristi ==> I am curious as to what you think they will think when they read the headline on the web page of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration “A World On Fire” and the see the image? [referring to yours “No one with any sense at all will look at the picture and jump to the conclusion that half of sub-Saharan Africa is ablaze.”]

          I agree that no person with a well-stocked critical thinking mental toolbox would think that half of sub-Saharan Africa is ablaze….but surely they’d think that there were what?….massive wildfires?…lots of wildfires?….what would they think? What did the headline author want them to think? And, is that wildly different than the reality? [Hint: zoom zoom zoom in…]

        • So it’s OK to be misleading in a press release, because you need to get attention.
          The fact that they can’t be seen except by blowing them up 10’s of thousands of times, is just evidence that the title is deceptive.

  3. It’s not climate change causing the fires. Climate change may increase the severity but not the frequency and randomness. These fires are often the result of PYROTERRORISM. The U.S. Forest Service had a conference on Pyroterrorism. One of the goals of Jihad is to hurt the Infidel. Plans are on the internet for building remote-controlled incendiary devices. It’s just not politically correct to mention Pyroterrorism. Might scare the public.

    • Everything in that picture is bogus. Everything. The Earth does not look like that, not even if you decided that it is a good idea to show microwave channel on the rgb channel ‘red’. The red (which has nice spinny connotations to hot and danger) pixels work as a mask to show where individual peaks are. Their coarseness heavily pollutes nearby regions to the extent they completely mislead the random watcher. The picture, and the headlines used with it, are, in essence, what fake news often consists of.

      https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/a/a8/NASA-Apollo8-Dec24-Earthrise.jpg/480px-NASA-Apollo8-Dec24-Earthrise.jpg

      This is what the Earth looks like from space (picture credit: Wikipedia/Johnson Space Center, see link location)

      • ” Their coarseness heavily pollutes nearby regions to the extent they completely mislead the random watcher” – a bit like they use coarse grids to spread temperatures across the globe.

  4. As a television meteorologist, the only reaction I could ever get out of the newsroom was an over-reaction. It is implanted in their journalistic genes to use superlatives whenever possible. A small branch lying in the yard after a thunderstorm is “…the scene of the devastation…” They always want to know the last time something so bad happened, so they can say that whatever happened today was “the WORST since… “, even if it is something that happens on a regular basis.

    Climate change is a story made for journalists. There are no hard facts to stick to or verify. No restraint is required when reporting on something that is only speculation.

    Is the world on fire? Obviously not! The headline is complete nonsense, put in the paradigm of catastrophic global warming, the headline becomes acceptable as a partial metaphor. The journalist, no longer constrained by reality, can expound endlessly on immeasurable horrors, thus fulfilling their greatest desires.

    The media is pro-global warming like a drug addict is pro-drug dealers.

    • The result of the media’s coverage is that people get the wrong idea of what’s happening in the world.

      The correct news is that fires are much less prevalent than they used to be. link It’s mostly because of changes in land use. The news coverage would make you think fires have increased a lot when the opposite is true.

      The one place where everyone, media included, agrees is that crime is near an all time low. link Even so, people’s perception is that crime is increasing. The daily coverage of crime is such that most people forget the occasional story that tells them about the fact that crime has decreased a whole bunch over the last decades and century.

      It amuses me that some people think the cave people must have been wonderful and unsullied by civilization. In fact the archaeological evidence is that they were quite likely to have their heads smashed in. link Steven Pinker points out that things have been getting better for a long time. You wouldn’t know that from the news. link

      • You are Caveman Bob. Your neighbor is Caveman Dave. Dave wants your big piece of meat. Or wants your woman. Or thinks you smell bad (or at least, smells worse than him). Or plain just doesn’t like your face. Whatever reason, Dave going to come smash your head in, Caveman Bob. What you do about it? Call poh-lees? Poh-lees not invented for few thousand years. Fohns a few thousand more. Better get own club and try to smash Dave head in first. And hope Dave big brother Mongo the Boulder Juggler not in cave town.

    • Do any of these “journalists” understand the long-term side effects that such behavior will have on their health?

      By side effects, an example would be increasingly high blood pressure that becomes permanent and requires rather stiff medication to prevent strokes and cardiac events.

      I’d love to see a report on that, myself.

      • To a large degree, those who get journalism degrees have already failed in other areas. If they fail at journalism, then they try teaching.

    • The media is pro-global warming like …
      drug dealers are pro-drug (addict).

      The media are complicit. They are not just the guys in the newsroom getting an emotional boost from thrilling themselves. They are the dealers, reaping rewards.

  5. Yup….the B.C. government has done the same thing with a map showing the fires in that province. Big red dots with no relationship to the size of the fires themselves. Just nonsense.

  6. If you look closely at the Worldview you can see that Chicago, much of Northern Illinois and some of Indiana are also on fire. Apparently the great Peshtigo fire has also reignited. October 1871 all over again. Funny that our local midwest media does not seem to be covering this.

    I went to the NASA Worldview site and when I zoomed in all the red blotches disappeared and only a few tiny widely dispersed dots could be seen. Maybe they picked up my trash burning barrel.

    • Chicago’s on fire? Really???? Well, where have I been? Oh, is that all happening on the South Side? I did not know that house fires count as woodland fires, especially when they are nowhere near the forest preserves! I have been enlightened!

      So we can “get” NASA for fabricating the evidence. That would be nice. Are those idiots including the controlled burns by the local DNR and Fire Department people? I saw one that covered about a quarter acre and was impressed by the skill of those people to keep it where it belonged.

      No, I do not want to see anything remotely like the 1871 Peshtigo Marsh fire – EVER!

    • Also the NW Gulf coast (from New Orleans to Veracruz?) looks like there are nearly as many fires as on the W US coast. Mexico similarly has agricultural fires, usually evident and mentioned on the weather, Louisiana has sugar cane and marsh fires, most later in the year with offshore winds.

      Posted some of this before, in Mark Monmonier’s “How to Lie with Maps” he writes about the misuse of modern graphics. He has a chapter on “Map Generalization” and one on “Maps for Political Propaganda.”

      Who will write How to Lie with Satellites? It would be useful. I have an old photo showing a Louisiana marsh fire during a norther. It was small and narrow but covered several, then larger, pixels.

      • I don’t know (I’m just guessing), but I imagine that fracking has caused all this flammable stuff to come to the surface and dang, IT HAS IGNITED. We’ve got to stop poking holes in our great big juicy sphere! Besides, isn’t it rather like your mom’s warnings about putting somebody’s eye out with something sharp?

        Anyway, do recall my preliminary admission of ignorance, guesswork, and a fertile imagination. And then watch for the headlines soon to carry this water too. Song writer Cole Porter got it right nearly a century ago with his hit “Anything Goes”. ” . . The world has gone mad today, And good’s bad today, And black’s white today, And day’s night today . .” Who knew it would so easily apply to hired science and its supporting presstitution?

    • Rick — Sara ==> I wrote once a piece called What Are They Really Counting?.
      They are showing “Fires and Thermal Anomalies” — places that are “hotter” than their surroundings. One dot each….so a nice bonfire at a High School Football rally, my brush pile being burned, the local garbage incinerator smokestack, the cement factory chimney, Yosemite’s Hot Springs?

      NASA says “The MODIS Fire and Thermal Anomalies layer shows active fire detections and thermal anomalies, such as volcanoes, and gas flares. “

      • Well, then, my response to NASA’s report is that it is concocted out of moon bunnies and cloud songs, because it implies that the bonfire in my back yard is an out-of-control forest fire, when it is not.

        In a word: prevarication. it seems that this is the only thing they can do now.

        I’m beginning to think that anything they say, including stuff about gravity waves is mostly hoohah to support Einstein’s reputation and get more money. And I no longer believe that the “wow” signal is just cometary hydrogen emissions.

        Did I tell you that I have a Space Shuttle Doorgunner School certificate? It’s true. I have it framed and hanging on my wall. So there!

  7. THERE ARE NO POSITIVE FEEDBACKS

    Modern day climate science (aka Climate alarmism) has always promoted the theory of CO2 warming causes a positive feedback of more water vapour which then causes more back radiation which then causes more warming which then causes more water vapour and on and on ad nauseam. This is the so called runaway global warming CAGW armageddon scenario that we are are all familiar with and yet have never experienced. CO2 levels in the past have been almost 8000 ppm and the earth still hasn’t seen armageddon. The reason is that there is no such thing as a positive forcing of temperature in the atmosphere.

    The IPCC makes a big deal of this with many different so called greenhouse gases but always forgetting about the largest greenhouse gas water vapour. The IPCC provides no exact method by which positive forcing would happen or when, but instead just provides the general scenario that I did in my 1st sentence. Why has the IPCC been unable to provide a detailed process of CO2 heat forcing? It is because it doesnt exist. The IPCC has been unable to counter the argument that only 8% of the upward IR has even the potential to be absorbed by CO2 and water vapour.

    Since water vapour can be anywhere from 0 to 100 times the amount of CO2 in the air , any small increase of CO2 in most any local area is dwarfed by the water vapour content. Since CO2 only increases 1/2 % per year, and water vapour can increase up to 40000 times in any local area, there would have been runaway positive feedback from water vapour itself in a local area. The tiny amount of potential IR (8% ) that may get absorbed by both CO2 and water vapour is immediately carried away to the atmosphere by the N2 and O2 because of the 10^9 number of collisions per second that is happening. To get an idea of how impossible it is for LWIR to heat the air, try pointing a powerful hand held infrared heater upwards towards the sky in a shelter with no roof. No matter how long you point you will not heat that air in the shelter. If it happens to be freezing cold in that shelter in the winter time; you will freeze to death(without cold weather protection) long before your thermometers register a change in temperature. If water vapour was providing a positive reinforcing, the 86.4 W/m^2 of evapotranspiration at the earth surface would have long ago boiled our planet.

    Instead water vapour causes 3 negative forcings.
    1) The very fact of evaporation of oceans and other water takes heat from the water and transfers it to latent heat. Also a little bit of heat is also taken from the air at the same time and is also turned into latent heat. That water vapour molecule then gets carried upwards by convection and the air eventually saturates and then condenses. The latent heat that is released then travels upwards into the high atmosphere and eventually lost to space. If that wasnt true then the 86.4 W/m^2 of evaporation latent heat would have unbalanced the earth energy budget 4 billion years ago when the oceans formed.

    2) WATER VAPOUR IS ONLY PRESENT IN APPRECIABLE QUANTITIES IN THE LOWER 5 KM OF THE TROPOSPHERE.
    Increased water vapour in the lower troposphere( 5km or lower)reduces the lapse rate in the troposphere thereby dropping temperatures in the lower troposphere. The opposite happens when water vapour decreases. In that case the lapse rate increases and the temperature increases during the day. We are not talking about cloudy nights in a desert. That is a different phenomenon.

    You can easily see the lapse rate conclusions expressed by the fact that dry deserts mean average temperatures are always higher than wet moist jungles at the same latitude.

    3) Cloud cover increases with increased water vapour and thus prevents some of the solar radiation during the day from getting to the ground thus cooling the surface.

    The UAH satellites have shown warming since 1979 but they have also shown that along with the lapse rate ( the higher regions are colder) the actual RATE of warming over the 38 year period is less the higher you go in the troposphere.

    Anybody worrying about ice sheets melting and causing a big decrease in albedo and thus more warming can rest easy because clouds are the cause of 97% of albedo on the earth with 3% caused by ice sheets.

    There is even a theory that all of the warming that UAH has shown is a result of the 38 year period having less clouds, thus increasing the solar incidence by 0.143W/m^2.

    **********************************************************************
    So if water vapour is a negative feedback then we could add all the CO2 we wanted to; to the atmosphere and would only choke when it got to 10000 ppm.

    Of course the plants are only asking for 1000 ppm so we won’t go overboard. However at the measly growth rate of 1/2% per year in atmospheric CO2 , we could never get to 1000 ppm anyway.

    • The last sentence should read it will take us 180 years to reach 1000 ppm assuming that we don’t run out of fossil fuels by then.

    • Yes indeed Alan. Well said.

      There is a simple fact which is well known that, in my book, proves that water provides a very strong NEGATIVE feedback.

      The kettle in my kitchen boils at 100C no matter how much I turn the heat up. (at sea level)
      The reason for this is that: at water phase change, absorbed/rejected energy occurs at constant temperature.
      The kettle situation is just one particular datum point on the trace of the enthalpy v temperature curve for water. On the top of Everest the boiling temperature is around 68C.
      A quick look at my Steam Tables reveals that for every Kilogram of water evaporated from the Earth’s surface around 680 WattHrs. of energy is dissipated into the atmosphere and beyond into space.

      One has only to look at the Cirrus clouds up there some 40,000 feet, nudging the Tropopause as ice crystals at around -50C to ponder upon how they got there, where the energy went and why the crystals are growing.

      IMO considering water feedback purely in greenhouse effect terms is a total dereliction of scientific duty.

      • Air pressure and density also play a role. Air gets thinner the higher you go, and it’s possible to “superheat” water when it’s under supra-sealevel pressure. Propane is transported and stored in liquid form in pressurized containers. Should it leak out, the evaporation is endothermic enough to flash freeze on contact.

    • Alan T ==> You seem to have posted this comment to the wrong essay.

      This essay is about NASAs press release about A World on Fire.

    • Here is NOAA’s projection for Atlantic storm season:
      First it was 10 to 16 named storms, 5 to 9 hurricanes, and 1 to 4 major hurricanes, predicted on June 1, 2018.
      Then they revised it on August 12, 2018:
      9 to 13 named storms; 4 to 7 hurricanes; and o to 2 major hurricanes.
      Did Irma count in that tally? And that Gulf storm that came straight north from the Gulf of Mexico up the Mississippi valley and dumped a nice big bucket of wet stuff on the cornfields was good stuff. Is the tornado count down this year, or did I miss something? I don’t watch the news any more because I got tired of turning the sound down when the newsies started on their political rants.

    • Locally (SE US), the August average high was 5 F below the historic monthly average in 2017 and is running 7 F below that average so far in 2018. It’s not hot everywhere.

        • Yes it is balmy in SE OK. The August monthly average high for Fort Towson is 94 F. So far this August, the average has been only slightly lower at 92.4 F.

      • Jeff ==> Moderation here is nearly always done with a light hand, as Anthony prefers.
        You do the right thing by pointing out the off-topic comments….

        • I find complaints about being off-topic to be far more distracting than the off-topic posts themselves.

  8. When younger I used to peel sugar cane with my teeth in order eat the interior. Now I only go for immediately pressed/crushed out juice – if juice several minutes old the product is inferior & will pass it up unless desperate.

    Over 45 years ago at an Ecuadorian hot springs I was told that part of an annual health tradition was breaking a fast with early morning fresh sugar cane juice & then using the hot springs. Maybe it was just a family’s sales pitch since commercial fields can yield 3 tons of juice per hectare.

    There are microbial endo-phytes, most commonly Glucono-aceto-bacter diazo-trophicus & also Herba-spirillum rubri-sub-albicans, that thrive in sugarcane stem segments. I wonder if ingesting these has some benefits for humans from their by-products of metabolism (or subsequent intermediary molecules that circulate) since the first endo-phyte metabolizes stem juice sucrose/glycerol/glucose/gluconate & the latter endo-phyte metabolizes stem juice organic acids malate/fumirate/aconitate/etc. This speculation is because there are jungle plant hunters who think some indigenous plant remedies’ effectiveness is due to an endo-phyte.

    These endo-phytes in the sugar cane stem are N2 fixers & their number (cells/ml juice) , as well as respective ratio to one another, is variable with different sugarcane cultivars. These are living in the stem & not the roots (unlike legume roots N2 fixing bacteria); although not definitively detected in every sugar cane crop they are common among commercially grown strains.

    • gringo- I used to take a piece of sugarcane with me on geological survey traverses in Nigeria (1960s). You could buy a foot or so of cane at the local marketplaces for a penny or two. They had clearly been scorched a bit on the outside.

      • Maybe scorched sugarcane stores better, if the endo-phytes are inactivated by heat. Whether sugarcane is burnt & harvested right away in the wet/humid environment or done so in a drier situation it’s sugar content will vary & gradually change over the days that follow.

        For example one variety of sugarcane trialed in a high humidity & rainier zone had ~13.75% sucrose 4 days after burning & promptly cut (dry matter content ~ 29%) . When same sugarcane trialed in about a half drier zone had ~15.5% sucrose (dry matter ~30%) likewise 4 days after burnt & cut.

        In the case (day 4 after burned & cut) of that variety of wetter grown cane there was still 97% of the original sucrose left, while in contrast there was 99% of the original sucrose left in the drier grown cane. So possibly some Glucono-acetobacter diazo-trophicus cells survive exterior burning if grew deep in the wetter cane stems than survive in the drier grown cane (ie: residual G. diazo-trophicus endo-phyte population recovers cell numbers to level where are utilizing about 2% more sucrose by 4th day, verses drier grown cane).

        I think there has been genetic research suggesting New Guinea as being where sugarcane traces back to. A wild NewGuinea variety (Saccharum species) was experimented with around 75 years ago to see what different lengths of light caused. The most stalks (vegetative growth) in that wild strain appeared under 10 hours of light (averaging 14.7 stalks of 36 inches), yet the tallest canes grew under 14 hours of light (averaging 10.6 stalks of 10.6 inches).

  9. Oh dear africa on fire from coast to coast, is surely a bit over the top. Twenty years ago I lived in Tanzania, the pungent smell of smoke caused by farmers burning their fields was then already typical when leaving the airplane on the airport returning from an overseas journey.

  10. Hello.
    This may be a little off topic but a recent quote in relation to air conditioning states that your average person gives off some 600 BTU. Some seem to think it may be more.
    Does anyone have a calculation for how many people it will take to raise the average temperature of the Earth to 37 oC. It seems quite likely that we will be able to achieve this without the help of Solar Flares, Fossil fuels or the like.

    • Wally ==> Well, Jeff is right — that is totally off topic — but an interesting question.
      Perhaps you can take it as a Home Work assignment- you need heat radiated per hour per person, you could use 8 billion people for population. Monckton’s (and others) who figure watts/m2 etc should have the necessary conversions.
      See if you can do a guesstimate and get back to us,

    • Wally, I thought you were going to ask what density of people would be necessary to be interpreted as a conflagration on NASAs site….

      (bringing your comment back into being on topic.).

      • How about the number of people at a football stadium on a warm, sunny day? How much does that congregate crowd raise the local temperature enough to be considered “fire”?

    • We need to stop driving cars; since making ethanol out of sugar cane increases burnt acreage. I don’t know about you, but I as a Western (well, culturally at least) mostly White mostly Able-bodied Male (not standard, but male anyway) am guilty when some poor farmer at Haiti burns a field causing anthropogenic global red pixels.

      Sorry about that. I’m sure once I can get a job nearer I’ll get rid of my gasoline taxes and replace them with enjoyment of some bus subsidies. Then I’m not to blame, I hope. If that doesn’t help, I’ll self-identify as colored queer other gender and insist my culture is to be saved from European oppressors. Then I’ll be freed. At least after I’ll grow a long beard and start reciting Arabic prayers.

      /sarc, but not completely everywhere.

  11. KIp is right about the enhancement of pixels. When you process satellite imagery with Supervised Classification you get pixel anomalies. Since users are mixing high-tech (processing imagery) with low-tech (looking at pixels with eyes) you need to enhance the pixels to be visible. In ENVI, for example, you turn on a feature called “clumping” which adds pixels to the anomaly pixel until it is visible. You can choose how many pixels to add to the one true anomaly, and it looks like NASA chose a very high number.

    • Ron Long ==> Thanks for the insight on the software side…as usual, one person’s bug is another person’s feature.
      EOSDIS Worldview has a lot of possible overlays (see Add Layers). Zooming In on any area finally gets down to the one pixel thermal anomaly being represented by one screen pixel….and reason begins to rule.

  12. Kip,
    Thank you for your vigilance and lucid explanation.

    I am afraid I have become an anachronism. People used to care about their reputations for integrity and at least attempt to be honest.

    • John Garrett ==> NASA was doing OK until they (someone there) writes the press release and titles it: A World On Fire. They double-down on the bad by failing to give a plain language explanation that the whole world view greatly exaggerates the extent of the fire and that not all the “thermal anomalies” shown represent wildfires by any means.

  13. Kip,

    Just curious. I understand that a pixel is the size of an individual dot on your monitor (and that the size of a pixel has changed with time, and probably depending on the quality of your monitor too), and that the “scale” of a pixel will vary as one zooms in and out, but as a rough estimate, how much area does a pixel represent at the scale of the global image on NASA Worldview?

    • Phil ==> To avoid being too technical and running up against the differences in individual computing equipment, the way to see this for yourself on your computer is to go to EOSDIS Worldview, drag the view to center an area of personal interest, then zoom in, zoom in, zoom in, (the + on the right hand side of the screen above a minus sign) until the red dots quit getting smaller at each zoom. Now the data points are represented by one pixel on you screen — they may to almost too small to see…so look carefully. (This is why I circled the dots in my example in the essay.)

      • Egad, the more you zoom in the smaller the spots get until they are hardly visible. Drag to another location and the giant spots on the periphery slowly disappear as the screen refreshes. Reminds me of something about the Emperor’s clothes …

    • Many mobile devices have software that changes the native pixel size (like Retina on Apple devices) so that stuff isn’t unreadably small on high resolution displays. This may exacerbate the problem if you’re accessing Worldview from a tablet or smartphone.

  14. Am I supposed to believe, from this image provided by NASA, that the entire region of Central Africa is on fire? Really? NASA is allowing itself to be be-clowned as Mr Limbow would state it. Time to find specifically did this and fire their a$$.

  15. Kip, I have a place in Sosua that I Just returned from a few days ago and I hadnt even smelled the fires. Probably an onshore breeze from the Atlantic kept the air fresh. This dishonest reporting should be taken up with NASA. I’m sure Trump wouldnt be pleased.

  16. I recommend “How to Lie with Maps” by Mark Monmonier.

    In this case they should have accepted that a pixel will cover many square miles and used colour coding to show how much of the pixel is on fire; e.g. less that 5% = no colour, 5-10% = dark blue, and so on until 95-100% red. Then the map would have a lot less colour and most of it dark blue.

    • Bill ==> At the whole world scale, single pixels are barely visible and would visually be washed out when viewed that way….it is an interesting display problem.
      See some comments above to the link to the app and zoom in until each data point is one pixel….

  17. Kip —
    You could not be more wrong.
    I just looked at the image viewer Anthony gave the link to yesterday, the EOSDIS Worldview.
    They use a *Dot* to represent the feature. As you zoom in, the dots are redrawn to be the same size on your monitor. Therefor, the dots cover a smaller and smaller area as you zoom in.
    (This holds true from minimum zoom, {world view}, until Max zoom-1, then on the last zoom step, the dot does draw to a larger size.)
    There is the distance scale on the lower right of the viewer. You can drag the image so that a dot is just above the distance scale, and estimate the dot diameter in meters or feet for any given zoom factor.

    Pixels have nothing to do with it, except perhaps on the Satellite imager.
    As a note:
    The image displays fires *and* what they call Thermal Anomalies.
    On one cluster in the D.R., i moved the date marker back to June, and the anomaly is present in all time slices. Therefor, an industrial source, not a wildfire.

    • Tony,

      I did the same thing and don’t know about pixels but one large red spot resolved into a bunch of neatly arranged dots that I took to be vents or smoke stacks.

      • JimG ==> You can use Google Earth to zoom in on the same location and see if you can make out what it is. Power Plant or a big factory, oil refinery with lots of gas flares, etc.

    • “On one cluster in the D.R., i moved the date marker back to June, and the anomaly is present in all time slices. Therefor, an industrial source, not a wildfire.”

      I also did the same thing … except with a known entity fire (that started last week). The anomaly is present in all time slices. Therefore, a mapping/programming/lying error.

  18. Issues a statistician would complain about. Not compared to 30 year average (or some other average), no key that lists or leads to a blog about the fires in question, a one day image has no statistical value of its own but feeds the anecdotal snake oil monster, no coding for man made versus wildfire versus human/weather/resource management caused. There is culpability enough to share. I overheard a conversation about getting prepared for a US West coast hurricane season if global man made climate disruption continues. That little piece of information came from watching CNN/ABC/CBS/NBC. But I also hold the conversationalist to blame for not remembering her intermediate/middle school science lessons. Only stupid people believe everything they hear. A mirror sign should be affixed in the bathroom reminding the conversationalist of his/her stupid condition.

    • Pamela ==> I grew up in California (Los Angeles, born and raised). We don’t have hurricanes, except remnants of the rare hurricanes that hit Baja.
      The wiki lists them at California Hurricanes.
      Anyone who has surfed the California coast knows that the Pacific waters there are generally c o l d.

  19. I thought Trump had fixed up NASA being used as a political tool? The same kind of thing happens in the government (taxpayer) funded ABC in Australia. This obvious left agenda is an annoyance. Sad thing is, a varying percentage of the population (sometimes alarmingly high), swallows this nonsense.

    • So, if there were hundreds of bushfires (wildfires) burning in eastern Australia the day before the NASA image, why can’t I see any red on the map? Six alleged arsonists charged BTW

  20. Kip,

    Today’s Astronomy Picture of the Day APOD
    https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap180826.html
    to my surprise used the term “Forest Fire” instead of the recent meme “Wild Fire” that is so much scarier.

    APOD in their caption said:

         “Large forest fires on Earth are usually caused either by
         humans or lightning and can be visible from orbit.”

    I wonder if there was a discussion about word usage between the keepers of that web page. In the past they’ve been strongly in the Catastrophic Global Warming camp. I know, I am banned from posting on their discussion board for my views to the contrary.

  21. Blimey, the situation is so bad even parts of the North Sea are on fire! Maybe the Viikings are invading us again, which is useful to know seeing as the Royal Navy is now so small it probably can’t stop the rampaging horde.

  22. Let’s say you’re a globalist with a “climate change” agenda and you have a few million dollars in your pocket itching to make a statement. Hire a few arsonists to set fires worldwide, then leak the idea that NASA should investigate all the fires? Not everything is a conspiracy, but how tempting would it be if you were worth several billion dollars to feed your pet projects with a few well-placed conversations (conspiracies)?

    It’s human nature to be selfish. The “climate change” scam wasn’t an accident, stupidity or incompetence.

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