Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Tim Ball: He Was Denying Stuff Years Ago

From the Climate Audit comments section (Number 10):

When Environment Canada replaced most weather stations with Automatic Weather Observing Stations (AWOS) the results were so unreliable they hired retired former employees and others to go out with hand held instruments to check. I have no idea what data was actually placed in the ‘official’ record. The stations were so unreliable that NAVCANADA, a government agency set up to run airports, refused to accept the AWOS instruments. This led to a government inquiry chaired by Senator Pat Carney, which as usual went nowhere, despite evidence there was a problem. Sadly and ironically, one of the motivations for closing weather stations was the advent of satellite data. Typically, they found out after the fact that the satellites were very limited in what they could detect, for example, precipitation type and amount. Then they decided that the temperature data from the satellite which was better than their surface data was unacceptable because the record wasn’t long enough. At the same time they were using similar length Total Ozone Measuring Satellite (TOMS) data to introduce draconian and totally unnecessary CFC policies. These issues quickly become juggernauts, especially in governments, that it becomes the unwritten policy to continue the lie rather than determine the truth.

Mr. Timothy F. Ball, probably Canada's best known climate change skeptic, once published a letter to the editor (in the June 12th, 1996 edition of the Globe and Mail) in which he bitched about global warming and, more to the point, referred to the "so-called" ozone hole and the "Draconian policies" it had inspired.

Mr. Ball has been on the conspicuously wrong side of the great scientific debates of the late 20th century and, as the above makes clear, has been content to remain on the wrong side for decades after the science has been decided.

Ozone depletion denial competes with anti-Darwinism for the title of the "fringiest of the fringy" science award, so it is interesting to point out that not only Mr. Ball, but several of his "friends" at the Friends of Science (like Sallie Baliunas), Canada's best-known climate change denial organization, were also out fighting against the Montreal Protocol in the mid-1990s.


canuckistanian said...

damn those draconian policies banning chloro-fluro-carbons are denying me the right to develop melanoma due to increased exposure to UV rays. what a bunch of commies, it was all a marxist conspiracy to deny the sunscreen industry and oncologists additional profits...i tell ya.

Anonymous said...


Perhaps you'd need to learn a little science before using your keyboard.

There are 12 times as much UV rays at altitude in Ecuador as at sea level, yet melanoma rates are no higher.

Go figure that one. Can't manage it? Try asking an expert on melanoma.

Oh by the way, I was expecting something other than "Tim Ball has been on the wrong side of scientific debate" to something tangible like, I don't know, evidence?

bigcitylib said...

John A,
John a,

And Australia has one of the highest melanoma rates in the world by virtue of sitting in close proximity to the hole. (And by virtue of its inhabitants being relatively light-skinned).

And unless you think the science around ozone depletion is somehow not settled, I would think the mere fact that Mr. Ball has argued against the "so called" ozone hole is enough to put him in the company of fringies.

Anonymous said...

Isn't it true that the hole in the ozone has been proven to be variable on it's own accord, and that it actually closed up at one point, to the surprise of scientists? This is a case were maybe Tim Ball was right?

Anonymous said...

Was he right in his testimony? You be the judge.

Transcripts (confirmed by comparing to the video)

House of Commons,
Issue No. 35,
Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence of the Standing Committee on Environment
Respecting: Pursuant to Standing Order 108(2), consideration of the depletion of the ozone layer
Third Session of the Thirty-fourth Parliament, 1991-92

In the first few pages, Ball argues strongly against the evidence that ozone destruction could be related to CFC pollution, etc. He offered zero science of any kind, no data, no theories, no claims except that environmentalists "cry wolf". The MPs asked whether he didn't have anything to say about the subject.


"I gave a two-hour presentation on global warming to graduate students and faculty at the University of Alberta. The very first question was 'Is it true you've been denied funding by the major funding agencies in Canada?' The answer is no, because I have never asked. The point of the question was to assail my credibility. If you are not funded by NRC and SSHRC, your research is considered valueless."

"In response to the question, as a historical climatologist – and I referred to the fact that I hadn't got funding from NRC or SSHRC when I first applied because I fall in between the cracks. As a climatologist, I'm classified as a scientist. When I go to NRC they say oh, no, history, that's SSHRC. You go to SSHRC and they say, oh, a historical climatologist. That's climate, that's science.

NRC: National Research Council, now NSERC
SSHRC: Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council

Anonymous said...

With 32 years as a Professor, he should know.


PhD 1982
Hired as assistant Prof 1983
Retired 1996

= 32 years