WMU News

Climatologist presents public talk on global warming Jan. 7

Jan. 4, 2000

KALAMAZOO -- The debate over whether global warming is a real or imagined environmental threat gets some people a little hot under the collar.

To help shed light on the science behind the controversy, the Department of Geosciences at Western Michigan University will include a presentation on global warming as part of its ongoing seminar series.

Dr. Robert C. Balling Jr., director of the Office of Climatology at Arizona State University, will speak on "A Climate of Doubt about Global Warming" at 3 p.m. Friday, Jan. 7, in Room 2000 Schneider Hall. His visit is being sponsored by the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, which has named him a 1999-2000 Distinguished Lecturer.

Balling is the author of a number of works on climate change, including the 1992 book "'The Heated Debate: Greenhouse Predictions Versus Climate Reality." He is a contributing author to the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

"The evidence that shows global warming is occurring seems overwhelming, but Balling will suggest some complex scientific issues that must be taken into account," says Dr. Duane R. Hampton, associate professor of geosciences at WMU who is coordinating Balling's visit. "He'll offer some good information for a general audience about some of the other factors that need to considered when trying to accurately predict climate change. He'll be offering the other side of the story."

Balling will explore such factors as volcanic activity levels, El Nino, the depletion of the ozone layer and increased output from the sun as issues that must be considered in looking at how the world's climate might change in the future.

A geography professor, Balling has been Arizona State's climatology office director since 1998. He is a senior climate consultant for the National Geographic Society's seventh edition of the "Atlas of the World and a member of the United Nations Panel of Experts on Desertifacation.

Balling is the author of two books and numerous journal articles relating to climate. He has a master of arts degree from Bowling Green State University and a doctor of philosophy degree from the University of Oklahoma at Norman.

For more information about global warming or Balling's visit, contact Hampton by phone at (616) 387-5496 or by email at <duane.hampton@wmich.edu>.

Media contact: Jeanne Baron, 616 387-8400, jeanne.baron@wmich.edu

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