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William Connolley

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William Connolley
Connolley in May 2008
William Michael Conolley

(1964-04-12) 12 April 1964 (age 60)
Alma materUniversity of Oxford
OccupationSoftware engineer
Years active2003–present
Known forBlog activity about climate change
Political partyGreen Party of England and Wales

William Michael Connolley (born 12 April 1964) is a British software engineer, writer, and blogger on climatology. Until December 2007 he was Senior Scientific Officer in the Physical Sciences Division in the Antarctic Climate and the Earth System project at the British Antarctic Survey, where he worked as a climate modeller. After that he became a software engineer for Cambridge Silicon Radio.

Connolley received national press attention over several years for his involvement in editing Wikipedia articles relating to climate change. Connolley was a member of the RealClimate website until 2007 and now operates a website and blog that discuss climate issues. He has also been active in local politics as a member of the Green Party.


Connolley holds an undergraduate degree in mathematics and a DPhil from St Edmund Hall at the University of Oxford for his work on numerical analysis.[1] He works as a software engineer for Cambridge Silicon Radio, designing embedded firmware.[2]

Until December 2007, Connolley was Senior Scientific Officer in the Physical Sciences Division in the Antarctic Climate and the Earth System project at the British Antarctic Survey. His research focused on sea ice measurement and modelling, including the HadCM3 global climate model (GCM). Connolley also worked on the validation of satellite data against more direct upward looking sonar observations in the Weddell Sea area.[3][4] He concluded that Bootstrap data produced a better fit than data produced by NASA and that GCM predictions are more realistic than previously thought.[4]

Connolley served as a parish councillor in the village of Coton (near Cambridge, England) until May 2007.[5] He was also a Green Party candidate for South Cambridgeshire District Council and Cambridgeshire County Council.[6]

Writing and editing

Connolley has authored and co-authored articles and literature reviews in the field of climatological research, with an emphasis on the climate of the Antarctic and the study of sea ice.[7] Connolley was a member of the RealClimate website until 2007,[8][9] and he operates a website and blog that discuss climate issues.[10][11] His blogs and one of his papers conclude that a majority of scientific papers in the 1970s predicted warming, not global cooling.[12][13][14] The Christian Science Monitor noted in 2007 that on Connolley's "personal website, and as a contributor to RealClimate.org (a website written and edited by working climate scientists), he's authored a number of articles that try to clarify the place of global cooling in the history of science" and commented, "Connolley and Schneider say that if the public had looked directly at the peer-reviewed scientific papers, and not at the popular media coverage, they would not have found any basis for a global-cooling scare."[15]

Wikipedia editing

Connolley began editing Wikipedia in 2003[16] and served as a Wikipedia administrator from 2006 until 2009.[17] He has been cited and quoted in the media regarding these activities, especially with respect to his editing in the area of climate change. He was cited by Nature magazine, in their December 2005 review of the reliability of Wikipedia, as an example of an expert who edits Wikipedia.[18] Nature quoted Connolley, in 2006, as saying that "some scientists have become frustrated with Wikipedia" but that "conflict can sometimes result in better articles".[19]

No weight given to subject matter experts

In July 2006, a New Yorker article described him as briefly becoming "a victim of an edit war over the entry on global warming", in which a sceptic repeatedly "watered down" the article's explanation of the greenhouse effect.[20] Connolley told the magazine that Wikipedia "gives no privilege to those who know what they're talking about".[20] Various books have cited Connolley as an example of how expert editors on Wikipedia are given "no more credence" than anonymous editors of the site.[21][22][23] In 2007, The Sunday Times of London ran an interview of author Andrew Keen that discussed Connolley and his Wikipedia editing. It identified Connolley as "an expert on global warming", stating: "After trying to correct inaccuracies Connolley was accused of trying to remove 'any point of view which does not match his own'. Eventually he was limited to making just one edit a day." The article stated that Wikipedia's Arbitration Committee "gave no weight to [Connolley's] expertise, and treated him with the same credibility as his anonymous opponent."[24][25][26]

Alleged abuse of administrative privileges

Two internal disputes at Wikipedia in which Connolley was involved received additional attention. A 2005 Wikipedia climate change dispute involving breaches of etiquette, rather than content bias, was cited by a paper in the Journal of Science Communication as an example that "resonated deeply as it highlighted what can befall respected experts who wade into controversial wiki-waters". The paper stated that Connolley did "not suffer...fools gladly".[27] The same paper noted a 2009 Wikipedia arbitration in which it was concluded that Connolley had used administrator privileges to his own advantage in content disputes,[28][circular reference] and these privileges were removed.[27] Other academic papers have discussed Connolley's editing activities on Wikipedia and the dispute resolution process as it has been applied to him.[29]

Personal life

Connolley has two children.[30]

Selected publications

See also


  1. ^ Connolley, W. M. (1989). Preconditioning of iterative methods for linearized or linear systems (D. Phil. thesis). Oxford: Oxford University Numerical Analysis Group. p. 208. OCLC 49766487.
  2. ^ Connolley, William. About Page Stoat Blog
  3. ^ "Dr William Connolley / Senior Scientific Officer / Climate Modeller / Physical Sciences Division". British Antarctic Survey. Retrieved 24 October 2010.
  4. ^ a b Connolley, W. M. "Sea ice concentrations in the Weddell Sea: A comparison of SSM/I, ULS, and GCM data" (PDF). Retrieved 26 October 2010.
  5. ^ Internet Archive copy of Coton Parish Website
  6. ^ The Green Party South Cambs Archived 1 October 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ See for example, Vaughan, D. G.; Marshall, G. J.; Connolley, W. M.; King, J. C.; Mulvaney, R. (2001). "CLIMATE CHANGE: Devil in the Detail". Science. 293 (5536): 1777–9. doi:10.1126/science.1065116. PMID 11546858. S2CID 129175116.
  8. ^ Connolley, W. M. (6 December 2004). "William M. Connolley Filed under: * Contributor Bio's — william @ 6 December 2004". RealClimate. Archived from the original on 16 August 2007. Retrieved 9 February 2010.
  9. ^ Connolley, William (1 December 2007). "Goodbye to all that" – announcement of departure from RealClimate. RealClimate. Retrieved 26 October 2010.
  10. ^ Stoat Taking science by the throat... Connolley's personal blog
  11. ^ "Connolley's webpage analysing papers relevant to a modern Ice Age". Wmconnolley.org.uk. Retrieved 22 July 2010.
  12. ^ Peterson, T.C.; Connolley, W. M.; Fleck, J. (2008). "The Myth of the 1970s Global Cooling Scientific Consensus" (PDF). Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society. 89 (9): 1325–1337. Bibcode:2008BAMS...89.1325P. doi:10.1175/2008BAMS2370.1. S2CID 123635044.
  13. ^ William Connolley (24 January 2005). "The global cooling myth". RealClimate. Retrieved 30 December 2009.
  14. ^ William M. Connolley (2005). "Was an imminent Ice Age predicted in the '70's? No". Retrieved 16 December 2007.
  15. ^ Azios, Tony. "Global-warming skeptics: Is it only the news media who need to chill?" The Christian Science Monitor, 11 October 2007, accessed 24 May 2011
  16. ^ "I am all powerful (part 2)". Scienceblogs.com. 19 December 2009. Archived from the original on 23 December 2009. Retrieved 22 July 2010.
  17. ^ "A child's garden of wikipedia, part I". Scienceblogs.com. 4 January 2010. Retrieved 26 October 2010.
  18. ^ Giles, J. (15 December 2005). "Internet Encyclopaedias Go Head to Head". Nature. 438 (7070): 900–01. Bibcode:2005Natur.438..900G. doi:10.1038/438900a. PMID 16355180.
  19. ^ Giles, J. (5 October 2006). "Wikipedia Rival Calls in the Experts". Nature. 443 (7111): 493. Bibcode:2006Natur.443..493G. doi:10.1038/443493a. PMID 17024058.
  20. ^ a b Schiff, S. (31 July 2006). "Know It All: Can Wikipedia Conquer Expertise?". The New Yorker. Retrieved 26 October 2010.
  21. ^ Rosen, Larry D., Mark Carrier and Nancy A. Cheever. Rewired: Understanding the iGeneration and the Way They Learn, p. 120, Macmillan (2010) ISBN 0-230-61478-7
  22. ^ Tammet, Daniel. Embracing the Wide Sky: A Tour Across the Horizons of the Mind, p. 206, Simon and Schuster (2009) ISBN 1-4165-7618-5
  23. ^ Keen, Andrew. The Cult of the Amateur: How Today’s Internet is Killing Our Culture, p. 43, New York: Doubleday (2007) ISBN 0-385-52080-8
  24. ^ Flintoff, John-Paul. "According to Wikipedia I'm the Mona Lisa", The Sunday Times, 3 June 2007, News Review p. 3
  25. ^ Flintoff, John-Paul. "Thinking is so over". The Times. ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 7 April 2021.
  26. ^ "End of expertise". John-Paul Flintoff. 3 June 2007. Retrieved 7 April 2021.
  27. ^ a b Mathieu O'Neil: "Shirky and Sanger, or the costs of crowdsourcing". Journal of Science Communication, Vol. 9, Issue 1, March 2010, International School for Advanced Studies
  28. ^ "Wikipedia:Arbitration/Requests/Case/Cold fusion 2". 13 September 2009. Retrieved 7 January 2023.
  29. ^ See, e.g., Forte, A.; Bruckman, A. (2008). "Scaling Consensus: Increasing Decentralization in Wikipedia Governance". Proceedings of the 41st Annual Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS 2008). p. 157. CiteSeerX doi:10.1109/HICSS.2008.383. ISBN 978-0-7695-3075-8. S2CID 7961848. and the papers cited therein
  30. ^ "William Michael Connolley" website. wmconnolley.org, accessed 14 May 2011
  31. ^ "William M. Connolley's page about Fourier 1827: MEMOIRE sur les temperatures du globe terrestre et des espaces planetaires". wmconnolley.org.uk. William M. Connolley. Retrieved 22 July 2010.