The chimp walking on its hands is the equivalent of the insets of the Greenland ice plot: it is a suggestive picture of a larger effect than has been observed.
The picture can be a true picture of a circus chimp that has learned to walk on its hands, so it is not "wrong". But it suggests something that is not correct.
I don't see the problem here. The insets seem to me to be intended to show the range of melts; the minimum and maximum. I don't think that's incorrect or even misdirection. That's also relevant information.
But I don't think this is a big deal. Different people will have different reactions to the form in which something is presented, and there are all kinds of ways someone can get the wrong idea by looking too quickly at something. I think trying to avoid all possible confusions in advance ends up being unreadable. It might be possible to add two more diagrams, with a "norm" as of 1960 and a "norm" of 2000; but I don't think it will make any major difference.
As for being "dry", I would much rather scientists don't try to remain dry and dispassionate.
There's been a lot of discussion in recent years, in all kinds of contexts, for how science is communicated. There's a problem with basic science understanding in the general population, not just on climate but in all kinds of areas, and ironically the USA is particularly bad by comparison with many other nations. And (as has been pointed out!) scientists are in competition with other voices that understand and use every PR trick they can think of. The great strength of science, in my view, is that it is real. Distortion for the sake of a communication is a bad idea. But I don't this example qualifies as that.
If you follow the "scienceblogs" group set up by Seed magazine, you can see a lot of this debate on good science communication being engaged. It often gets extremely heated. One interesting contribution is a recent book by Randy Olson: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1597265632/?tag=pfamazon01-20 (link to amazon).
Good science communication has to be accurate, but it also has to engage and motivate. You won't satisfy everyone, but personally I think this report is a step in the right direction. It is very clear, very punchy, with nicely set out major points, well referenced, accurate, and engaging many popular confusions and misconceptions directly. It gets away from "climate models", which lots of people find confusing and don't understand, and deals much more in the observables.
Cheers -- sylas
PS. In the example of the rainforest and the SUV, there are a number of problems. One is that usually "citizen" does not weigh up pros and cons at all. They don't even know the pros and cons, in many cases; and they often resent being educated if the knowledge is disquieting. Second, there is the problem of the commons. A lot of people get really hung up about their rights and freedoms, and presume that they do in fact have a right to use their SUV if they like, regardless of the effect on someone else's rain forest. Basically, they consider the "atmosphere" as a common dumping ground for their SUV and it's their own business, no-one elses, what they decide to do with it. But that same atmosphere is not only theirs. It is a common resource, shared by all kinds of folks, and what one person does with the common property affects others. How do you sort out rights and freedoms in that case. I don't know; this gets beyond only science. And scientists are not only scientists, they are citizens as well, and may freely decide to engage in political and social spheres.
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