David Appell tells of his correspondence with Tim Ball

The other day I challenged Tim Ball’s assertion that “the world is cooling.” I showed temperatures plots for the last several years, and of course it depends on how you want to define “climate” — do you consider it the last one year of temperatures, the last five years, the last ten years, etc.? Of course, none is inherently correct — there is no fundamental definition — but all are meaningful to consider.

As I noted, all moving averages over the last 25 years are increasing, though there is perhaps a small flattening in the last few months of the 5-yr moving average, which frankly doesn’t seem all that important.

I wrote Tim Ball and challenged him on these facts, and got back some answers that frankly don’t make a lot of sense to me.

The most remarkable of which is:

I am in agreement with Sherwood and Craig Idso that there is no warming evident in the record since 1930.

But last time around it was

Yes, it warmed from 1680 up to 1940, but since 1940 it’s been cooling down. The evidence for warming is because of distorted records. The satellite data, for example, shows cooling.

1940, 1930, the number seems to change as often as the number of years he reckons he was a professor.

In other Tim Ball news, despite his confident prediction of cooling, he won’t put money on it. Desmogblog has more.

Comments

  1. #1 Dano
    October 16, 2007

    This is a good case where JQ’s “delusionist” is appropriate. This is beyond denial.

    And let us celebrate David’s return.

    Best,

    D

  2. #2 Rob
    October 16, 2007

    You know you would think that there are too many global warming denialists around. There are other areas where there special brand of science could be helpful. Take lead paint. Mattel and China are having huge problems with lead painted children’s toys. You’d think there would be a huge gold mine out there for one of these guys to switch over to lead paint. They can write how it really isn’t harmful that banning lead paint is the real killer!

    How about “Human physiology is really complicated! We can’t know for sure lead paint is bad for you. Let’s not be rash about it!”

  3. #3 Boris
    October 16, 2007

    2,

    Well, Zbigniew Jaworowski, of ice core denial fame, thinks that the movement to remove lead from gasoline was based on a “stupid and fraudulent myth.” So maybe we can hook him up with a consulting gig.

  4. #4 Demesure
    October 16, 2007

    “…though there is perhaps a small flattening in the last few months of the 5-yr moving average, which frankly doesn’t seem all that important.”

    RSS linear trend for monthly temperatures shows there is a slight cooling since 2001. UAH shows there a “trend” of 0.17°C/century over the last 5 years. Global emissions are increasing unabatted (+3%/year over the last decades), yet the warming has stopped for 5 years.
    Houston, we have a problem.

    [RSS data](http://www.remss.com/pub/msu/monthly_time_series/RSS_Monthly_MSU_AMSU_Channel_TLS_Anomalies_Land_and_Ocean_v03_0.txt)

    [UAH data](http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/climate/research/uahncdc.lt)

  5. #5 cce
    October 16, 2007

    2001 isn’t 5 years ago. It is 6 years ago.

    The 5 year linear trend from October 2002 to September 2007 is (degrees per century):
    UAH 1.24
    RSS -2.15

    So, according to two interpretations of the same satellite data, we are presently warming at twice the rate of the last century, or we are cooling at twice the rate that the other interpretation shows we’re warming. And the data that shows we’re cooling (RSS) incidentally gives us the largest amount of warming of any of the temperature plots (GISS, Hadley, UAH, RSS) since the satellites went online. So, yeah, we have a problem, and its name is selective interpretation of contradictory methodology over a time period too brief to sort AGW from natural variability.

    But at least they’re getting creative with the “Global Warming stopped in ____” canard.

  6. #6 cce
    October 16, 2007

    Also, you linked the wrong MSU channel for RSS. You want TLT (temperature lower troposphere) not TLS (temperature lower stratosphere).

  7. #7 Dan J
    October 17, 2007

    Someone posted “The Denial Machine” in parts, and this part begins precisely (if you can use that term, with the speaker) where Tim Ball says “I am one of the few people qualified to speak about climate change…”.

    http://video.aol.com/video-detail/the-denial-machine-pt-4/2396016454

    I also recommend:

    http://m-w.com/dictionary/delusion

    and

    http://bigcitylib.blogspot.com/2007/09/timothy-ball-denies-it-all.html

  8. #8 Dan J
    October 17, 2007

    For those who care to read and compare, here are are some overlooked statements on how to make (and revise) weather and climate predictions. But readers can draw your own conclusions.

    1. Western Producer article (1996): “The next hot drought won’t be until about 2035″ – Tim Ball. Based on his modeling method (adding 17), he also indicated that a minor “cold” drought could occur in 2006. The Western Producer is Canada’s main agricultural newspaper, http://www.producer.com/ . Unfortunately they do not archive on-line.

    Reality: a major, record-breaking drought hits 2002-2003.

    2. Subsequent Agvision TV interview, after the drought was well underway:

    (Kevin, interviewer) “I’ve heard you say that the drought that results from climate change, like we’ve had in the past three years in the prairies, should come as no surprise, and that it was entirely predictable. Can you explain that?”

    (Ball) “…So there’s all kinds of very good correlating evidence for the droughts. I wrote a column 2 years ago predicting this current drought. So there’s really no excuse for being caught or blind-sided by it. ”

    http://agvisiontv.farms.com/story.cfm?segment=129

    The good example, that lesser scientists (who got it wrong) should follow:

    Google agvisiontv “tim ball” and you find the following:

    http://agvisiontv.farms.com/home.cfm?showid=30

    “Kevin Stewart interviews Dr. Tim Ball who insists the drought conditions of the past couple years were entirely predictable and should have come as no surprise.”

    Maybe that explains it…

    “Few listen, even though I have a Ph.D, (Doctor of Science) from the University of London, England and that for 32 years I was a Professor of Climatology at the University of Winnipeg. For some reason (actually for many), the World is not listening. Here is why. ”
    http://www.orato.com/node/398

    http://web.archive.org/web/20031008220038/http://www.envirotruth.org/drball.cfm

    http://web.archive.org/web/20060205093317/http://www.envirotruth.org/drball.cfm

  9. #9 J
    October 17, 2007

    So, let’s see. In three years (2004-2007), the number of years of cooling increased by 13 (ten years in the 1930s plus three years at this end).

    At this rate, by 8007 Ball’s cooling will have worked its way back in time to the last glacial maximum … while completely eradicating the Holocene along the way.

    Since I live north of the terminal moraine for one of the Pleistocene ice sheets, I’m a bit worried about this.

  10. #10 pough
    October 17, 2007

    For some reason, I thought Timball never claimed himself that he was climatology prof for 32 years, that it was just the work of an overzealous PR person. I can understand someone else getting 8 and 32 years confused, but Tim was a prof at the UofW for 8 years and he remembered it as being 32!? Those must not have been good years for them to have dragged on like that.

  11. #12 ben
    October 17, 2007

    I don’t know who this Tim Ball guy is, but I say that global warming ended yesterday.

  12. #13 Ian Gould
    October 17, 2007

    Pough,

    Tim is just challenging the hidebound mathematical fatcats with their bland refusal to consider alternate theories of counting.

  13. #14 z
    October 17, 2007

    not only does ball live in a highly conservative province where the major industry is oil, he lives somewhere where the temperature hits -20F (-30C) with frightening regularity. he secretly sits home of night generating methane and CO2, cackling softly to himself.

  14. #15 pough
    October 17, 2007

    I think he lives here in B.C., actually. One of those links refers to him living near Victoria.

  15. #16 pough
    October 17, 2007

    Ian, maybe we should send Jc over to teach those mathematical fatcats a thing or jillion about counting.

  16. #17 Dan
    October 17, 2007

    Re: #10. Yes, after a person says something many times on paper, the web, and before audiences, some of it sticks. Check this sequence out:

    1) Global Warming: The Cold, Hard Facts?
    Date Posted: 05/28/06
    http://www.orato.com/e-buzz/2006/05/28/global-warming-cold-hard-facts
    “…I was the first Canadian Ph.D. in Climatology
    …for 32 years I was a Professor of Climatology at the University of Winnipeg.”

    2) http://www.orato.com/node/7458
    “Dr. Tim Ball was the first Canadian Ph.D. in Climatology.
    … for 28 years was a Professor of Climatology at the University of Winnipeg.”

    3) http://www.canadafreepress.com/2007/global-warming020507.htm
    Global Warming: The Cold, Hard Facts?
    By Timothy Ball

    Monday, February 5, 2007
    “…I was one of the first Canadian Ph.Ds. in Climatology
    … was a climatology professor at the University of Winnipeg. For some reason (actually for many), the World is not listening. Here is why.”

    http://www.nhinsider.com/nhigb/2006/9/29/george-c-marshall-institute-letter-to-congress.html
    Initial version.
    Dr. Tim Ball
    Professor of Climatology
    University of Winnipeg

    Recently corrected version:
    Dr. Tim Ball
    Retired Professor of Geography (1971 -1996)
    University of Winnipeg

    (Ball’s BA was obtained in 1970. His MA was obtained in 1974. PhD in 1983.)

    http://sciencepolicy.colorado.edu/moveabletype/mt-comments.cgi?entry_id=947
    Dr. Tim Ball
    Professor of Climatology
    University of Winnipeg

  17. #18 stewart
    October 18, 2007

    Ball suggested reviewing ‘Junkscience’ and ‘CO2science’ for up-to-date background on climate change. He clearly noted against ‘RealCimate’ (the only one that’s run by climate scientists).
    Odd, for a climate scientist he seems surprisingly incurious about most climatology research. I wonder what he’d think of the Royal Society webpage on the issue?
    http://www.royalsoc.ac.uk/page.asp?id=6229
    And yes, he lives in or near Victoria BC, but the funding he doesnt care to follow up often comes from Alberta (e.g., through Friends of Science, now fortunately defunct)

  18. #19 bigcitylib
    October 18, 2007

    1) Tim Ball lives on Vancouver Island.
    2) the Friends of Science more or less became the NRSP (Natural Resources Stewardship Group), led by Ball and a PR guy named Tom Harris.
    3) The PR outfit Harris is involved with (High Park Advocacy Group)works for the Canadian Oil Patch.
    4) When Tim Ball talks climate science in the setting of the Climate skeptic list, he is continually refering to events back in the day (before his retirement). Climate scientists now, according to Tim, are apparently a bunch of modeling obsessed young punks.

  19. #20 Reality Fungus
    October 18, 2007

    How about we stay on topic?

    There’s $125,000 cash ready to be plucked by anyone who can connect the dots when it comes to global warming.

    Pick up the cash and settle the global warming argument once and for all.

    Can’t be that hard, right?

    http://www.junkscience.com/

  20. #21 Laser Potato
    October 18, 2007

    I thought *everyone* knew that “challenge” was rigged.

  21. #22 Reality Fungus
    October 18, 2007

    Clearly, I’m not as smart as you.

    Explain how it’s rigged. I would be most appreciative.

  22. #23 Eli Rabett
    October 18, 2007

    Fungi should really learn to read the back of cereal boxes, but then what do you expect of couch mushrooms?

  23. #24 Tim Lambert
    October 18, 2007

    Dear Mr Fungus, I have a whole category for Steve Milloy. Go to the side bar and click on “Milloy”. And pay attention, because it will be on the exam.

  24. #25 z
    October 18, 2007

    “And yes, he lives in or near Victoria BC, but the funding he doesnt care to follow up often comes from Alberta (e.g., through Friends of Science, now fortunately defunct)”

    Ironic, BC being probably the most environmentally “left” province in Canada, and Victoria being the garden spot of the province. I don’t see the folks decrying Gore’s supposed hypocrisy complaining that Ball doesn’t live in Alberta, or, better, just downstream from the Athabasca tar sands mining operation.

    Speaking offtopically re Canadian environmentalism, I remember even as a kid traveling through Ontario by rail being amazed at the bleak and lifeless landscape outside Sudbury, which we all learned in school to be proud of as a world source of nickel, the smelting of which I later learned produced a lot of sulfur dioxide. Yesterday I happened to read that Dr. David Strangway of University of Toronto, the geophysicist who trained the Apollo astronauts for their moon exploration, chose the Sudbury area to train them in conditions where the hand of life has not set foot.

    So, had Canadians had any environmental scruples during the twentieth century, mankind’s exploration of the moon may not have been a success. Ha!

  25. #26 Reality Fungus
    October 18, 2007

    Mr Lambert, if you are correct, then the $125,000 should be easy pickings.

    The only real ‘ground rules’ posted are quite clear:

    “$125,000 will be awarded to the first person to prove, in a scientific manner, that humans are causing harmful global warming. The winning entry will specifically reject both of the following two hypotheses:

    UGWC Hypothesis 1
    Manmade emissions of greenhouse gases do not discernibly, significantly and predictably cause increases in global surface and tropospheric temperatures along with associated stratospheric cooling.

    UGWC Hypothesis 2
    The benefits equal or exceed the costs of any increases in global temperature caused by manmade greenhouse gas emissions between the present time and the year 2100, when all global social, economic and environmental effects are considered.”

    Nothing overly obtuse. As noted, should be easy pickings for you or your readers.

  26. #27 z
    October 18, 2007

    “to prove, in a scientific manner, that humans are causing harmful global warming”

    Any such request is null and void without an a priori clarification of the nature of what constitutes scientific proof. In particular the second premise, “The benefits equal or exceed the costs of any increases in global temperature caused by manmade greenhouse gas emissions between the present time and the year 2100, when all global social, economic and environmental effects are considered.” I’d be greatly interested to learn what, in the mind of such an eminent economist, constitutes scientific proof of the relative costs of things for the next century. Feel free to share with me your own understanding, since you seem to have gained more specific definition from this than I have.

    Tell ya what, though, I’ll send ya $10 via paypal if you can prove, in a scientific manner, that energy is conserved.

  27. #28 Brian Schmidt
    October 18, 2007

    Fungus neglected to include that the denialist Steve Milloy gets to decide whether someone has proven him wrong, and then would (theoretically) pay the winner from Milloy’s denialist website.

    “It’s difficult to make a man understand something when his paycheck depends on his not understanding it.” -Sinclair

    Or in this case, admitting that one has been a corporate tool and paying $125,000 in the bargain.

    Fungus, do you have any interest in betting me? Check out longbets.org/196.

  28. #29 dhogaza
    October 18, 2007

    Well, Reality Fungus …

    Entrants acknowledge that the concepts and terms mentioned and referred to in the UGWC hypotheses are inherently and necessarily vague, and involve subjective judgment…

    JunkScience.com, in its sole discretion, will determine the winner, if any, from UGWC entries. All determinations made by JunkScience.com are final.

    In other words, Milloy doesn’t have to pay off under any condition.

    Reality Mushroom – you’re a tool.

  29. #30 sleepy
    October 18, 2007

    This fungus has been livin’ in the dark ‘n feedin’ on bullsh*t too much for its intellectual health.

  30. #31 Ian Gould
    October 19, 2007

    I’m tempted to offer a billion *you heard me – a billion!) US dollars to anyone who can prove that increasing anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions will not result in an increase in average global temperatures.

    (Ian Gould in his sole discretion, will determine the winner, if any, from entries. All determinations made by Ian Gould are final.)

    whaddaya say, Fungus?

  31. #32 Reality Fungus
    October 19, 2007

    I don’t understand the hulabaloo.

    Firstly, if you do not know/understand what constitutes ‘scientific proof,’ you are clearly very wise in not participating in the challenge.

    Secondly, if you can indeed make your scientific points clearly and unequivocally, making an irrefutable case in public would surely unmask Molloy once and for all. There is no rule that says the paper cannot be in the public domain.

    It is clear that in making an ad hominem attack on Molloy is proof positive that you do indeed know very little about what constitutes scientific argument and debate. Further, based on what evidence do you state that Molloy is not credible and would not honor his challenge?

    It seems to me that the opportunity to collect $125,000 and debunk Molloy in the process would be a most worthy cause to those who excoriate and castigate him!

  32. #33 John Cross
    October 19, 2007

    Fungus: but it’s not about trust, its about conflict of interest. Who would take that challenge on when the person who will be paying out the money will also be the judge. However the solution is easy. If Milloy is really interested in a fair contest, all he has to do is develop a pannel of climate scientists who are qualified to judge the work involved. They of course should be free from finding of any organization that has any ties with Milloy, but that should be easy, after all there are a large number of climate scientists, just pick some at random.

    Regards,
    John

  33. #34 John Cross
    October 19, 2007

    Ian: you forgot to state that there would be a $15 entrance fee (only to cover the admin costs of course).

    Regards,
    John

  34. #35 dhogaza
    October 19, 2007

    Firstly, if you do not know/understand what constitutes ‘scientific proof,’ you are clearly very wise in not participating in the challenge.

    Science doesn’t prove, science merely accumulates evidence.

    In the case of AGW, massive amounts of evidence.

    But the biggest problem, of course, is that Milloy gets to decide arbitrarily what constitutes “scientific proof”, states up front that definitions are vague, and states that he and he alone gets to judge whether or not you meet his vague standard of proof which he does not define.

    Something tells me reality fungus is being less than honest here.

  35. #36 z
    October 19, 2007

    “Firstly, if you do not know/understand what constitutes ‘scientific proof,’ you are clearly very wise in not participating in the challenge.”

    Please, enlighten us. This is the second time I’ve asked. Here I am seeking to better myself and all you did after the first time was get smug.

  36. #37 guthrie
    October 19, 2007

    There is always the possibility that Reality fungus is genuinely perplexed and does not know the realities of the situation.

    Perhaps they would like to approach Milloy with the “scientific proof” themselves? Easy money, if you copy and paste the IPCC TAR4, surely?

  37. #38 dhogaza
    October 19, 2007

    Easy money, if you copy and paste the IPCC TAR4, surely?

    Given that Milloy rejects the conclusions of the IPCC out of hand, the IPCC AR4 wouldn’t win.

    Additionally, the contest states that the entry must be ORIGINAL WORK done SPECIFICALLY FOR THE CONTEST. So, for instance, submitting a summary of lab work done 100 years ago showing the CO2 is a greenhouse gas may not qualify, depending on how Milloy decides to interpret “original work”. Which he gets to decide how he wants, when he wants, without telling anyone what he has decided.

  38. #39 sod
    October 19, 2007

    Firstly, if you do not know/understand what constitutes ‘scientific proof,’ you are clearly very wise in not participating in the challenge.

    i am another one who is clueless on “scientific proof”.

    why don t you provide one for newton’s laws, for a start?

  39. #40 Reality Fungus
    October 19, 2007

    Referring to the IPPC hardly makes for very credible scientific evidence.

    The IPPC is first and foremost a political entity- and one that has a less than stellar record when it comes to factual representation. They have claimed to have the support of scientists who have declared their opposition. There are scientists and government appointees on a commission that was supposed to be unbiased. Most people would find that more than a bit disturbing. When all is said and done, the IPPC has the same credibility as the UN Human Rights Commission.

    Newton’s laws cannot be disproved. Until they are, they are scientific realities.

    If you feel that the science on GW is that compelling, there is $125,000 there for the taking.

    A paper that is submitted to JS and published at the same time for peer review ought to settle the matter once and for all.

    Original and confirming research is not a ‘rewrite’- it is a legitimate scientific endeavor.

    I do find it interesting to note how much effort is being expended on reasons NOT to submit papers.

    Maybe $125,000 isn’t enough money

  40. #41 dopey
    October 19, 2007

    I think “Reality Fungus” may in fact be Milloy, complete with intentional misspelling of its own name. But I don’t care whether the Fungus is or is not that grub Milloy, because what it _certainly_is_ is troll and fool. If you’re confused as to why that is so just ask yourself what response it’s made to correction of its idiotic trolling comments. The correct answer “none” tells you you’re dealing with fool and troll.

  41. #42 Ian Gould
    October 20, 2007

    “Newton’s laws cannot be disproved. Until they are, they are scientific realities.”

    Einstein. Relativity. 1905.

  42. #43 dhogaza
    October 20, 2007

    Referring to the IPPC hardly makes for very credible scientific evidence.

    Your word against thousands of scientists hardly makes you a very credible source.

    Nor a very creative troll.

  43. #44 guthrie
    October 20, 2007

    dhogaza- I didn’t realise Milloy was that stupid. But clearly reality fungus has just outed themselves as another silly troll.

  44. #45 Jim Thomerson
    October 20, 2007

    When I took courses in climatology and meterology in the mid 1950′s, climate was the weather over tthe last 40 years. I’m suspicious of anyone who does not think of it that way.

  45. #46 z
    October 21, 2007

    “Newton’s laws cannot be disproved. Until they are, they are scientific realities. ”

    ???? This is your answer to the question of what constitutes scientific proof?

    “If you feel that the science on GW is that compelling, there is $125,000 there for the taking.”

    I’m still offering $10 if you can prove, in a scientific manner, that energy is conserved. Whassamatta, you’re not only too snooty to educate us for free, but you turn up your nose at $10?

    “A paper that is submitted to JS and published at the same time for peer review ought to settle the matter once and for all. ”

    Ah, that’s the problem; up to now nobody’s published peer reviewed papers predicting AGW. “Scientific proof” is best defined as having been published in a peer reviewed journal. I’m going to bed, I have a headache now.

  46. #47 Dan
    November 3, 2007

    Someone has some news about Ball’s old group, Friends of Scienz. Here are two good articles in the University of Calgary student paper.

    Science, education, funds
    A look into the Friends of Science connection to the University of Calgary
    http://gauntlet.ucalgary.ca/story/11826

    Editorial: “Friends” is a four letter word
    http://gauntlet.ucalgary.ca/story/11843

    Don’t miss the cartoon on the cover!

    Hallelujah. For a year, I’ve been amazed (not in a good way) that the U of C logo was on the Climate etc. Cancelled youtube piece from the FOS. (Wer haz my koolins gon??). I’m glad to see I was wrong, when it seemed U of C might not feel that it was worth putting a stop to it.

    FOS website:
    http://web.archive.org/web/*/http://friendsofscience.org

    e.g., this one is a beaut:
    http://web.archive.org/web/20050908091238/http://www.friendsofscience.org/

  47. #48 Dan
    November 5, 2007

    Now that is interesting. Regrets?

    Tim Ball, who FOS (1) listed as “Canada’s First Climatology PhD”(despite the fact that the text submitted for Ball’s PhD dissertation names and quotes Canadians with previous climatology PhD), bragged to the Fifth Estate interviewers that “I am one of the few people qualified to speak about climate change” (video 2).

    He now (Nov 5 news article) says:

    “So, how did I (Tim Ball) end up ‘starring’ in the Fifth Estate’s slick ‘docu-ganda’ despite having totally refused to participate?” (3)

    1.
    http://web.archive.org/web/20051028023311/http://www.friendsofscience.org/

    2.
    http://video.aol.com/video-detail/the-denial-machine-pt-4/2396016454

    in full at http://www.cbc.ca/fifth/denialmachine/

    3.
    http://canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/510

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