This was shared into my Facebook feed today.
While this image is not the actual image from NASA, NASA did have an image similar to this item. It was not a single satellite and they were not “odd readings” however. “Global warming proponents thought they were on to something. They were surprised to find this image was a manifestation of the force of farming in the United States”. Well, not exactly. NASA researchers intentionally worked out how to “tease” plant data out of satellite data streams from satellites not designed for crop monitoring.
Te claim that these farms produce “40% more oxygen than the Amazon rain forest” is not in the NASA press release, although this is: “Data showed that fluorescence from the Corn Belt, which extends from Ohio to Nebraska and Kansas, peaks in July at levels 40 percent greater than those observed in the Amazon.”
Flourescence is not measuring oxygen but measuring plant growth:
Healthy plants convert light to energy via photosynthesis, but chlorophyll also emits a fraction of absorbed light as fluorescent glow that is invisible to the naked eye. The magnitude of the glow is an excellent indicator of the amount of photosynthesis, or gross productivity, of plants in a given region.
Photosynthesis does produce oxygen but the 40% more oxygen claim is not in the NASA press release.
Wording used in this propaganda poster is designed to add intrigue to the propaganda messaging.
The analysis revealed that carbon cycle models – which scientists use to understand how carbon cycles through the ocean, land and atmosphere over time – underestimate the productivity of the Corn Belt by 40 to 60 percent.
“Corn plants are very productive in terms of assimilating carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. This needs to be accounted for going forward in trying to predict how much of the atmospheric carbon dioxide will be taken up by crops in a changing climate.”
The message that the corn belt is productive is real, but this poster has twisted and distorted the findings to make claims that are not made by NASA, and then used that to assert claims about “global warming”.
The claim that the region produces “40% more oxygen than the Amazon” is not made by NASA. The study found that plant productivity, measured via fluorescence, at its peak, is 40% greater than the Amazon; that’s where the 40% figure comes from. NASA itself says that on annual basis, the tropics are overall, more productive than the Corn belt. The poster leaves out the (incorrect) claim about corn belt being more productive than the Amazon is only true during the peak of the corn growing season.
Typical of propaganda posters, this poster works by
- An appeal to authority (NASA)
- Citing facts and figures (even though they are not true)
- Displays an impressive visual graphic to grab attention
- Makes assertions that are not true.
- Falsely asserts mystery elements (“odd readings”, “global warming proponents”, “surprised to find”.
- The only true statement is “This satellite image shows the photosynthesis of America’s 100 million acre Corn crop.” (about 80 million acres are currently in use for corn).
Text for Search Engine Indexing
What are farmers doing besides feeding the rest of us? A NASA satellite found some odd readings over the United States. Global warming proponents thought they were on to something. They were surprised to find this image was a manifestation of the force of farming in the United States. This satellite image shows the photosynthesis of America’s 100 million acre Corn crop. Further research found the US corn crop, at it’s peak, produces 40% more oxygen than the rain forest. Thank you farmers.