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An app for misinformation

January 31, 2012 - Harry Eagar
RtO hasn't said much about global warming lately. You either get that it's a hoax or you don't. No point repeating the evidence.

It may, however, be useful to note, from time to time, the dishonest ways the GW crowd keeps pounding away at public opinion.

I have downloaded something called NASA's Earth Now to my iPhone, which purports to present the "vital signs" of the planet: air temp, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, gravity field, ozone, sea level and water vapor. (Why not soot? Volkcanic gases?)

The "data" are presented without context. Right now, I'm looking at sea level, which -- presented as false color maps -- was higher in December than -- something. Who knows what.

There's worse. The "surface air temperature" map is not of surface temperature. If you read the fine print (and the fine print on a 3-inch screen is fine indeed), you learn that the temperature maps are really satellite observations at the 10,000-foot level.

Not explained is that the relationship of upper air temps and surface temps is, to say the least, uncertain.

The dishonesty of Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which runs this disinformation site, is the point I wanted to make. But, wait, There's more.

Naturally, there is no mention that satellite observations of air temperature are less reliable at night. The false-color maps give no indication of how reliable the maps might be.

How many people know about the differences day/night in satellite measurements? Not many, I bet.

But even the least informed app user can notice something curious: The color at the poles is black. No data.



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