Ozone Hole Hype

Posted: January 8, 2011 by tallbloke in solar system dynamics

I’m protecting the anonymity of the person who said this until I hear from them that it’s ok to attribute it.

I was tasked with determining whether to shut down the UARS spacecraft program. One of the justifications for keeping it operational was that it was one of the prime data source for Ozone Hole monitoring. When presented with the record of ozone hole max/min extent, it was obvious that “the Hole” somehow was ignoring all the hype, the “science” and the politics. Since I knew the person who “discovered” the Hole, I asked him about it. The answer was that the Hole was real, but the “science” was pure hype. His theory was that it was a natural occurrence that varied on a periodic basis based on factors that were never later pursued. He was NOT the person who was credited with discovering the Hole – that person stole the credit by pubishing first.

Comments
  1. It’s good to know that some of these scientists are beginning to come out of the closet with regard to politically driven ‘science’ or ‘hype’, if that’s the latest name for it. The trouble is that the damage has been done and these same people are not prepared, or are possibly unable, to make full and public statements to the effect that they have, or have allowed, the Public and others to be misled. After all, why should they bring trouble upon themselves when for example politicians get away with it?

    Even if they did make make suitable statements, the spin doctors of the various vested interests would prevent it being dispelled and assign them a mental illness or similar to ensure they are discredited. In any case, all the legislation and regulation that is now embedded in the issue would take many years and huge expense to remove.

    In some respects I admire the fact they are now brave enough to speak out. However, it is probably of little consequence at this point in time as the myth will die slowly; hopefully with a suitably strong epitaph such that it can never be resurrected.

  2. tallbloke says:

    The fear of professional excommunication has a powerful effect. It has been noticeable that over the last few years, the only pro scientists speaking out against the AGW enterprise as a social phenomenon rather than some particular detail ahev been those who are recently retired, and no longer beholden to the institutions which paid them and had control over their conference attendence etc.

    Science needs to be freed of dogma, and the penalties meted out to heretics.

  3. Tallbloke, I think I know what you mean and I’m sure you know what you mean, but I feel your last sentence might be misinterpreted.

    It seems to me that scientists who are paid directly or indirectly, wholly or partially from the public purse should be fully accountable in the same way as those employed elsewhere are responsible for their actions. Possibly an independent auditing body would also be a good idea? Even if this proposed body had several hundred scientists sat about doing nothing but waiting to pick up alerts/tip-offs it would probably still be worthwhile given the damage we are seeing now.

  4. Tufty says:

    Just over three years ago, a key part of ozone depletion theory appeared to have been disproved – the break-down rate of dichlorine peroxide (Cl2O2). At the time I was surprised how low-key this discovery remained and maybe things have moved on since, but it taught me how shaky environmental science can be. Uncertainty morphs into certainty and once started, bandwagons don’t willingly stop.

    http://www.nature.com/news/2007/070926/full/449382a.html

  5. tallbloke says:

    Jonathan,
    I agree science needs more oversight, but even more, it needs the honesty and ethics propounded by Feynman. Self policing is far less onerous than having ‘the men from the oversight committee’ leaning over your shoulder. An absolute obligation to archive data and code before publication might help. Even if they are held incommunicado from competitors and public for a year to give the scientists a chance to do further study etc first.

    On the penalties meted out to heretics:
    Halton Arp found high red shift quasars associated with lower redshift galaxies which appeared to have spawned them. The powers that be found the effective way to sweep him under the carpet was to deny him telescope time, instantly moving astronomy back to the age of Galileo.

  6. Rog,
    I completely agree. What you are saying seems to be pretty much in-keeping with how patents should work. Maybe there is something to be learnt from them?

    Not being an astronomer but someone with an interest in the subject, I was unaware of the issue raised in your last paragraph. That sounds like an all too familiar story and as such brings it into focus. Does that then add to the issues of your thread on the electric cosmos?

    Tufty,
    Again, you are dead right. The ozone hole and most other similar issues fit the same pattern. How is a bandwagon stopped? Time appears to be the only method. Hardly satisfactory but unless the politicians do their real job it is the only way.

  7. Tenuc says:

    Science has become just another tool which is used by the ruling elite to manipulate public perception about reality and further their long-term goal (dream) of installing an unelected world government.

    Regarding O3, most of the science behind the ozone hole was debunked by the Crista-Spas ensemble of instruments, designed by scientists at the University of Wuppertal in Germany to monitor O3, and which was deployed by the Space Shuttle in November 1994.

    The Crista team announced its first results at a press conference in Bonn on Nov. 6, 1995, but the results of the mission were barely covered in the European press, and not covered at all in the United States.

    The German scientists told the press that 3-D images produced from Crista data showed that the models behind the ozone depletion scare are completely, and axiomatically, wrong and all ozone computer models produced so far had, in effect, been turned into waste paper.

    The 3-D images demonstrated that the ozone is organized in complex dynamic vertical and filamentary structures that are constantly changing, in patterns driven by deterministic chaos, while the models assume that the ozone layer is homogeneous, and use linear equations to model the stratosphere. Any attempt to model complex non-linear processes (such as those demonstrated to occur in the ozone layer) with zonal averaging and linear equations, will invariably give wrong results, regardless of how big a supercomputer is used. The methodology is completely wrong.

    However, this erroneous methodology is what the promoters of the ozone depletion scare have been using to forecast ozone depletion rates and to make policy. Another example of how government funded pseudo-science is used to benefit certain groups at the expense of the public.

  8. tallbloke says:

    Jonathan,
    Google around for Halton Arp and his mate (Tifft?). Interesting stuff.
    His book is called “Quasars, Redshifts and Controversies” and is on google books.

    I’m not really engaging with the E.U. stuff yet. I have a hard enough time visualising solar system orbital mechanics without trying to understand galactic scale electric currents! My general view is that for the stuff I’m mainly interested in at the moment, the visible masses and their motions give me the clues I need, and the electromagnetic effects probably amplify the signals I’m finding, so I can add those in later when I need to get quantificatory.