I seem to have got onto some stupid PR spam list. The latest comes from Nat Geog, and is typically silly. It sez: As you probably know, most people have a hard time seeing exactly where on the planet global warming has taken its toll. This photo gallery from NationalGeographic.com reveals global warming in action. http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2007/10/photogalleries/greenland-pictures/index.html The gallery includes 8 stunning photos that illustrate how global warming has affected the beautiful country of Greenland. You might be surprised to see how the rising temperatures in the region have boosted mining and agriculture production- perhaps even enough to bring Greenland closer to declaring its independence from Denmark! Of course, a warmer climate has its devastating effects too–check out the photos yourself to see more.

Of the pix, 1 is a pretty pic of icebergs. It tells you nothing. 2 is some nice houses: if it tells you anything, its that life there is nice. 3 is hunters on the snow, 4 is some oil drums. They tell you nothing. 5 is a potato. If it says anything, it is that GW is good. 6, musk ox. Ditto. 7, some sled dogs. The pix says nothing but in the interests of balance I’ll allow the caption, which says GW is bad, maybe. 8 is some fish, and says GW is good.

Overall score: GW good: 4. GW bad: 1. GW neutral: 3. Now compare that to the text of the spam and ask yourself: what are these people up to?

Comments

  1. #1 Andrew Dodds
    2007/10/18

    As someone who has their own veggie garden, I’d call the photo of a potato grown in Greenland EXTREMELY scary. Potatoes are extremely frost-sensitive – even in the UK, a late April frost is a potato grower’s nightmare..

    [True enough, but potatoes in Greenland aren't bad in and of themselves. SLR resulting from Gr melting might well be, but thats not what the picture shows -W]

  2. #2 Hugh
    2007/10/18

    That’s not a potato, it’s Mickey Mouse!

  3. #3 kevin
    2007/10/18

    Overall score: GW good: 4. GW bad: 1. GW neutral: 3. Now compare that to the text of the spam and ask yourself: what are these people up to?

    Um, I don’t get it. The pictures and captions match pretty well the snarky spam text, and is pretty much what I expected when I read the spam text. This looks to come from the “GW is a hoax, and if it is real then it will be good for us — just look at Greenland!” crowd.

    The national geographic photos and text were fairly calm and balanced, I thought — obviously GW won’t have the same effect everywhere, and Greenland might indeed benefit greatly from GW in many ways, and the photos did a reasonable job of pointing out the possible benefits to Greenland along with some of the potential problems as well.

  4. #4 Peter Hearnden
    2007/10/18

    “True enough, but potatoes in Greenland aren’t bad in and of themselves” and the same would apply to a first crop of wheat at McMurdo.

  5. #5 Eli Rabett
    2007/10/18

    You might enjoy this one and perhaps even learn something from it.

    [Oh dear. *I'm* not saying that nothing bad is happening. I *am* sayng that the Nat Geog photos don't support what they are trying to say. Now if they had used your photo, it would be different -W]

  6. #6 Webs
    2007/10/19

    I’m still trying to figure out how you missed what the photos are showing here. I would rarely call into question someones understanding of the world that writes on ScienceBlogs, but come on. Andrew was dead on about potatoes. And the fact that Greenland can sustain a healthy supply of them is pretty scary.

    [You are missing my point. The photos are intending, as I understand it, to illustrate aspects of global warmings impact on Greenland. If you assume that the impact is necessarily bad and any sign of warming ditto, then pictures showing warming are going to be scary. But that is cheating. What we need are photos showing something *bad in itself*. Clearly, a potato isn't bad. Its good: more food crops from Greenland -W]

    The first picture doesn’t show an object in it for perspective, and the photographer screwed that one up, but the size of those glaciers is quite large. And while there are better pictures out there, Greenland’s ice sheets are melting and at an alarming rate. The evidence is plentiful.

    [Oh course there is melt on Greenland. But that photo doesn't show it. It just shows some icebergs. You could have taken pictures like that 100 years ago -W]

    Can’t say much about pic 2. They statement below it explains what the photo was trying to convey, the idea that Greenland has a new economy and it is surging.

    The message under the picture of the hunters is also pretty clear, not sure what you missed there.

    [You said it: "the message under the picture" is clear. But the photo isn't. Its just a nice shot of some hunters -W]

    Ditto for oil barrel picture. Read the message under the photo. Oil was not a common resource for Greenland.

    Potatoes have already been discussed…

    Again, the photo with the Musk Oxen is pretty clear, as is the message underneath it.

    The message under the photo with the sled dogs is also pretty clear. Warming temperatures has caused ice to thin and melt.

    The last photo and message is also pretty clear, cod fish is going to be a bumper crop. Something that doesn’t normally happen in the normally cool waters of Greenland.

    If none of this makes any sense, perhaps some links on the geography of Greenland would be better.

  7. #7 J.
    2007/10/19

    William, may I just gently point out that, IMHO, over the past few months your blog-posts seem to be getting a little more bitter and snarky?

    [Oh yes you certainly can. I've noticed it myself :-) or :-(. I find I have less tolerance and sympathy for the amounts of nonsense published in conjunction with "GW". Which is bad news because I doubt the tide is likely to recede -W]

  8. #8 Hank Roberts
    2007/10/20

    Having studied ecology before the advent of ‘environmentalism’ I can only say, be brave. As the crowd tries to get onto the bandwagon and businesses begin to build and sell more bandwagons, the level of dreck will get worse. Sturgeon’s Law, you know.

  9. #9 uBeR
    2007/10/21

    It’s a bit naive to think nothing good can come out of warmer temperatures. I surmise it would not be unreasonable to consider both positive and negative aspects of (any) issue. I don’t necessarily think this is what NG was trying to do; I think they just were trying to make a point (GW is bad), but did so poorly.

  10. #10 pianoguy
    2007/10/21

    Not only is it a bit naive to think nothing good can come out of warmer temperatures – it’s so naive that I’ve never heard any person who wasn’t made of straw actually make that claim. The real question, of course, is what its effects will be overall. And at the moment, persuasive arguments that it will be anything but catastrophic are sadly lacking.

  11. #11 UBeR
    2007/10/23

    It wasn’t a strawman because I addressed his point directly, which was that NG is trying to make a point, but doing so poorly. I was simply making a point how the discussion of any possible benefits is surprisingly absent.