Snow in Egypt? Deconstructing Internet Images

This week Egypt did, in fact, witness snowfall, and that fact is historic. Egyptian news is reporting it’s the first snowfall in 112 years. Egypt gets less than an inch of rain per year, and even in the winter the nights generally only get into the 50s, and the days get into the 80s.

Climate Change?

First, to be clear, I absolutely accept that climate change happens. I also believe in man-made climate change, which is totally not what the simple phrase “climate change” means. The climate is always changing. One of the things that made the 14th century suck was a climate downturn.

But pointing to any single event as evidence of anything, including climate change, immediately becomes problematic. Yes, it’s odd. It hasn’t happened in 112 years. On the other hand, it happened 112 years ago. Do we point to now and not then as climate change? Do we point at both and then ignore the 111 years in-between?

That’s the same logic that convinces people the world is about to end because we occasionally have large earthquakes.

Photoshopped Snow

My main interest here, however, is the images that have circulated in connection with this story, such as this:

Fake Pyramids in Snow

Very cool, right? Also very not real.

When I first saw the image, I started looking for news articles stating how much snow actually fell. To get such even coverage without a touch of sand showing would require some significant snow.

The more glaring problem is how the pyramids themselves are so evenly covered. Pyramids are not flat-sided. They are built from blocks a couple feet tall. So while it make perfect sense that now would rest on the horizontal surfaces, why are there no uncovered vertical surfaces? Surely the pyramids should have more of a stripey appearance.

And, indeed, the image appears to be a Photoshopped version of this image:

Real Pyramids

The Snowy Sphinx, or Mini-Sphinx

This is the other image that has been making the rounds:

Sphinx in Snow
Twitter via the Mirror

Although I find a different angle of it to be more helpful. The issues are the same either way.

Fake Pyramid in Snow
“This is Fake, but what a good fake it is!”
Legal Insurrection

No, it really isn’t a good fake.  I would bet money that the author of the accompanying article added that description afterward when someone called him/her on it.

This image has all sorts of problems. Look at the snow on the Sphinx’s paws. It’s deep. Like several feet deep, at a guess, if you compare it to the people and the fact that the Sphinx is 60 feet tall. How much snow fell in Egypt? It’s also fluffy. Ever seen  several feet of super-fluffy snow? Me neither.

The reason for this is that this isn’t the Sphinx at all. It’s a 1/25th model of the Sphinx at Tobu World Square in Japan. Now our 60 foot statue is a 2 foot model, the snow is not deep at all, and it’s in Japan, where snow is not unusual. The people are also miniature models.

Tobu displays dozens of miniature models of world landmarks. In the back of the first picture, you can see the Eiffel Tower rising above the Great Pyramid.

Actual Pics of Middle East Snow

There are some stunning and/or amusing pictures coming out of a snowing Middle East right now. The Mirror has a great gallery of them. But I’ll leave you with this one:

Snowmen in Israel
Getty via the Mirror

This is an ultra-Orthodox Jew in Israel making snowmen. I love it because it breaks the stereotypes of deeply religious people being unable to have fun or be frivolous.

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