In actuality, it is a political campaign ad for .... Al Gore.
Fires across Africa
It is really pretty scary.
However, in other photos I've seen, the fires are not as bright as the city lights ... but in this photo they were brighter. (I assume that they were enhanced.) But Gore never used this data to support any specific point.
There have been a number of claims that the Arctic ice is melting because of soot (unburned hydrocarbons) settling on the ice. This causes it to absorb more heat and, therefore, to melt. (These are reasonable claims.) What if this soot actually came from these fires. Boy, I would sure like to see more data on this. It would be ironic if the melting Arctic ice cap was caused by African primitives and not the evil rich Americans. (Gore claims that they are having no effect ... but then shows a picture indicating that they are the primary source of soot. Which is it?)
This NASA data shows fires around the globe. However, notice that the data is false colored to show how many fires were detected per unit area over a 10 day period and displayed on a composite photo. You definitely should NOT assume that this is what you would see if you took a photo from space - this is data displayed on a photo.
It is likely that this is the same data that Mr. Gore showed ... but he said (implied ?) that his data showed a composite photo. Actually, its not clear exactly what Gore's point was ... except that is was pretty scary.
Mixing lights and fires made a very nice image ... too bad there is no point to it.
650 Kyr old Ice Cores
Previously, the only data that went back that far were the foraminifera sediment cores.
At any rate, the data is similar to that from other sources. Unfortunately, he never mentioned that the interpretation is still disputed - for instance
Some African towns were built high enough that there were no mosquitoes. (He claims that this is because it was too cold.) However, because of local warming ... there are now mosquitoes. I would love to see more data on this. I understand that mosquitoes are a problem in tropical Canada, but in the African ice fields ... ?
A number of large African lakes have dried up due to expanding desert.
A very large number of people in central Asia get almost all of their drinking and irrigation water from melting glaciers ... and these glaciers will be completely gone in a few decades. Again, this is due to expanding deserts.
In Antarctica, holes in an ice shelf made it fail faster ... and Greenland has the same holes. Therefore, we should expect the Greenland ice cap to suddenly disappear. (this is very questionable)
Regardless of your position on Global Warming, most people agree that using less gas (oil) is a good thing. However, since the Clinton administration did nothing to fix this problem, President Bush is the bad guy. (I don't understand his logic either.)
In my opinion, the fix is easy - add a $2 per gallon tax to every gallon of gas and give 100% of that money to the county (company) that produces the most efficient cars. The problem would be solved in 2 years. (Of course, cars would never exceed 25 miles per hour.)
Perhaps 80% of glacier loss is due to expanding deserts and not human caused Global Warming. (I actually do NOT have a reference for that number - I simply present it as an example.)
But to blame current problems on something that happened in the last 50 years is totally off the wall.
Totally Irrelevant data
Hole in the Ozone
This needs another comment - the "hole in the ozone" was "discovered" by big business (DuPont Co.). Then big business convinced the US government (the Reagan administration) to fix a problem that NASA still claims never existed. (The hole was real ... and it still is. It is a natural phenomena that has always existed. And Dupont made a fortune.)
There is a clip where someone (I think it was Gore) was questioning Dr. Hansen (a vocal Global Warming proponent). But I could never figure out what the point of the clip was. It looked like the additional material needed to set up the clip was removed.
Data that Promotes Al Gore
None of this makes sense if this is a documentary on Global Warming ... however, if he is running for office ... this is exactly what I would expect.
Pretty cleaver to get people to pay to see a political add.
Data that is Wrong or Misleading
These are some of the points that were either misleading or just plain crap.
All Scientists support Gore
In fact, many scientists claim that they could not get funding or that they had to modify their articles just to be published.
Even for theories that are known to be true, some respected scientists will argue the opposite point. That is the way true science works. If everyone is on the same side, then you know for sure that the data has been tampered with.
A real question is "What, exactly, was Gore looking for?" Is it possible that, with a slightly different question, the same set of articles might show 20% against Gore? Maybe 60%? The problem is that Gore's data mining method is not documented ... therefore, no conclusions can be accepted. (I call this fraud.)
However, there is no evidence that the current warming trend is enough to have any measurable effect. The top hurricane scientists have already said that there is no evidence at all that there are more or stronger storms than should be expected with normal variations.
But that did not stop Al Gore from milking this for all it is worth.
This is worse than misleading ... it is simply more fraud.
However, no one, including Al Gore, has bothered to produce a map showing how bad this is supposed to be.
And NO ONE has indicated that new coral is growing anywhere. However, there are dead reefs all over the world that were active during earlier warm periods. Funny that no one seems to be aware of that. Of course, if those existed (and they do), it would prove that this is NOT the worst warming in the history of the planet.
Fake Temperature Data
In particular, Gore pointed to the Medieval Warm Period and made it look like a joke. Yet, data from other sources (those published before Global Warming became an issue) show, without a doubt, that today is still not as hot as in the recent past.
However, to be fair, he should have listed all the companies that influenced the Clinton administration - there were hundreds.
But this film is propaganda ... not a true documentary.
Bush, oil, bad ... vote for me - can be heard loud and clear.
If the oil companies are faking the data, then show us the evidence. Comparisons between tobacco and oil are just misleading and emotional.
For instance, he mentioned a teacher that told his class that South America and Africa were never connected ... and then said that the same teacher is a part of the current administration - implying that President Bush hires only stupid people. He did not bother to mention that ALL teachers at that time had been told to tell students that answer ... including those scientist that support his own position. This was definitely funny, but it was a very misleading cheap shot.
Another cheap shot was explaining that when some other Bush administration scientist was forced to quit, he got a job with an oil company the next day. This implied that the oil companies are controlling the Bush administration's position on this issue.
But maybe the oil companies just pay better than Green Peace, some university, or the Democratic Party. Or maybe the oil companies recognize good people and hire them ... leaving the not so smart to support political agendas.
Why is only one possible interpretation possible ... and why is Gore's interpretation the only correct one? Just how stupid does he think the voters are? (Yes, I know they went to public school ... but, given a chance, they are able to understand the facts.)
The data should be able to support itself - the source of funding should not be that big an issue.
However, it is wrong to claim that northern trees have been killed by beetles because of Global Warming.
Specifically, forest destruction by various parasites (beetles and the like) was blamed on Global Warming. I agree the that warming is the problem ... but it was worded in such a way that it blames you and me.
It is his basic assumption - that Global Warming is caused by humans - that colors every statement. Any effort to describe it as an unproved theory is ridiculed.
To be truly effective, this film should have focused on how to solve the problem not on convincing people that there is a problem. He did spend about 2 minutes on solutions (big deal) but nothing that the average person could do. Nothing the average person could vote on. (Hey, maybe we should vote for him since he won't share the answer with us ... or was the answer simply that Bush is the problem ... yes, that was the REAL message.)
After all, his group was in the white house for 8 years and they did nothing to fix the problem. (The Kyoto treaty will punish the bad ... but it is NOT a fix.)
All the coming attraction previews were for other leftwing type documentaries - talk about a targeted audience. There was not a single main stream movie preview.
His primary lecture hall had a great display behind him - very well done. The bit with the elevator was very good.
If this was a true documentary, then his data would be publicly available ... with references ... so that other people would be able to verify or dispute any and every claim.
Additional Related Al Gore Quotes
These are a few quotes from Larry King Live - Aired June 13, 2006.
The person he put in charge of the White House environment office, a fellow named Philip Cooney -- he was kind of a bit player -- but he ran the disinformation campaign on global warming for the American Petroleum Institute, and then he was -- even though he had no scientific training -- he was empowered to censor all of the reports on global warming that came from the EPA and from elsewhere in the government intended to alert the American people.
If he thought that Exxon, Mobil or one of the other handful of irresponsible companies on this issue wouldn't like it, he struck it out and I think that ought to be seen as an extremely serious breach of trust.
If you present actual facts that big Al doesn't like - you are running a "disinformation campaign".
Every claim Al Gore makes about his opponents can also be made against him.
Scientific arguments are not won by name calling - you actually need a few facts.
What Really Matters