Tim Ball: turned out NN again

Those with long memories for trivia will remember the unlamented second deletion of Tim Ball, judged non-notable by wikipedia – ah, the shame of it. Now he’s been awarded the ultimate accolade of being deleted a third time – you don’t get much less notable than that.

I’ve taken an archive of the discussion page of the “deleted” page (technically its not deleted but moved page Timothy Ball to User:Jinkinson/Timothy Ball over a redirect without leaving a redirect ‎(Userfying per result of previous DRV), so its now at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Jinkinson/Timothy Ball. But as far as mainspace is concerned the result is the same: he’s not there) here, because its likely that the userified page will be deleted in time. Here you’ll find the admin who deleted the page explaining why: in essence, nothing has changed since he was deleted last time.

For those who don’t know the minutiae of wiki but are desperate to learn: its fairly common for pages to be “deleted”, but moved into the userspace of anyone who wants them, so that they can be worked on in decent obscurity. The user gets a reasonable period of time to work the page up, but if the admins think you’re just taking this piss and are leaving the page as a sort-of poor substitute of a mainspace page (as Lucy Skywalker did for the equally unlamented Leroux) your userspace copy gets rubbed out too.

Possibly interestingly, the major reason given for re-creating the Ball article was:

while Ball is not notable as an academic, he is notable for other stuff, such as claiming to be the first Canadian to get a PhD in climatology and to have been a professor of climatology (neither of which are true)

That wasn’t terribly convincing. Other arguments also failed: The raison d’être for this BLP is that Ball is a notable climate skeptic was met by Well, no. This article was twice deleted (here and here) precisely because Ball is not a notable climate skeptic.

[Update: (Protection log); 23:29:11 . . NuclearWarfare (talk | contribs) protected Timothy Ball‎ ‎[create=sysop] (indefinite) ‎(Any admin can override once they are satisfied this meets the conditions laid out at Wikipedia:Deletion review/Log/2011 January 3)]

Another one bites the dust

After tthe sad fate of Dr* Bob, it would seem that now Lindzen is officially Emeritus. But remember folks, I was there first.

I’m curious as to when this happened. Cato claimed him in August 2013 – perhaps then? No, it was earlier: May 2013. If you look at his wiki page you won’t find the E-word anywhere. Perhaps someone should update it?

The article I started with invites you to meet Richard Lindzen, the Alfred P. Sloan professor of meteorology at MIT but this is clearly wrong: he’s no longer a prof at MIT, he’s an E-prof. So he can’t be the APS prof. He could be the APS E-prof, but he isn’t. Cato gets it right: Emeritus Professor of Meteorology at MIT, where he was the Alfred P. Sloan Professor.

From the article we find stuff like Lindzen has made the strange journey from being a pioneer in his field and eventual IPCC coauthor to an outlier in the discipline but that’s not really true. L did a few big things related to atmospheric dynamics: atmospheric tides, QBO – read his wiki page for details – this was all great work, no doubt about it. But after, say, 1972 he’s done very little. And the early work, sort-of, was a bit dead-endish. Atmospheric tides: great. But it doesn’t lead anywhere. Gravity waves feeding QBO was good, and gravity waves are certainly relevant to present-day GCMs and climate work, and QBO is still an active area, but L’s stuff was all a bit to one side; calling him a pioneer is odd; he’s been off-mainstream for 40 or more years (also the article’s description of his involvement with the IPCC is deceptive; it suggests more involvement than occurred). In fact, as he pretty well says in the article, L is more of a dynamic meteorologist than a climatologist; insofar as those distinctions mean much.

Who is Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy?

s A trick question, of course. The answer is “the author of a blog post at WUWT entitled IPCC’s Report on Climate Change: Myths & Realities“. The blog posting itself is a more-than-usually-pointless mish-mash of nonsense, and isn’t worth reading. I did anyway, though, and can assure you that “A World Meteorological Organization insider’s view of the IPCC report” is wrong, because it isn’t really about the IPCC report at all; its just the usual stuff.

But it is being sold on credentials as “A World Meteorological Organization insider’s view”, and SJR claims to be “Formerly Chief Technical Advisor – WMO/UN”. “Chief Technical Advisor” sounds impressive, but even more impressive is SJR’s stealth-like ability to leave almost no track at all on the web, despite the claim of such a high-profile position.

I found http://www.zoominfo.com/p/S.-Reddy/541694135 which I think must be the same guy, as it makes the same claim. There are misc links to stuff about Hyderabad. His “Employment History” is very brief and laconic: Scientist ICRISAT. ICRISAT really exists, but the connection between the two that google can find is a paper on sorghum from 1984 (that’s searching on “site:www.icrisat.org Jeevananda“).

There’s also a book, Climate Change Myths & Realities dating from 2008. Some of it is astonishingly crude and rough by anyone’s standards: try looking at page 80, or page 108, or indeed page 1, which assures us that 0.93% of the atmosphere is organ. There are also a whole pile of pics in there that have clearly been ripped from elsewhere, with no attribution. The few bits about GW that I read were much like the stuff he posted at WUWT; i.e., uninteresting. The pic is from the end of the book, as is his claim to have “published about 500 scientific articles”, which is a fair number. Google scholar suggests his count is some way off. And the last ones I find are from the mid-90’s: Over-emphasis on energy terms in crop yield models may or may not be a worthy if minor and little-cited contribution; but the affiliation Agricultural Meteorologist (Managing Consultant, Jeevan Agromet Consultancy), Plot No. 6, ICRISAT Colony suggests that he wasn’t formally employed at that point. Perhaps he was retired from ICRISAT? He has at least one from 1974.

And his claim to be “Formerly Chief Technical Advisor – WMO/UN”? I can find nothing to support it.

[Update: delightfully, this post is now the #1 google hit for “Jeevananda Reddy”.]

Meanwhile, in Ukraine

Far more interesting things are going on.

Mann vs Muller

Michael Mann has an article in the HuffPo, Something Is Rotten at the New York Times. He’s complaining about the ill-informed views of Koch Brothers-funded climate change contrarian Richard Muller which is language that would normally put me off. But in this case I looked, and Muller’s A Pause, Not an End, to Warming does seem rather objectionable.

Some of it is just a mixed bag:

My analysis is different. Berkeley Earth, a team of scientists I helped establish, found that the average land temperature had risen 1.5 degrees Celsius over the past 250 years. Solar variability didn’t match the pattern; greenhouse gases did.

That’s him blowing his trouser trumpet. As everyone knows, the major feature of BEST was that it was boring. In the sense that it produced the same answers as everyone else. Muller’s implication that “Solar variability didn’t match the pattern; greenhouse gases did” is a result from his stuff is just drivel. But, at least he does acknowledge it as a result.

But it gets worse:

As for the recent plateau, I predicted it, back in 2004. Well, not exactly.

No, not at all. What Muller “predicted” was Suppose… future measurements in the years 2005-2015 show a clear and distinct global cooling trend. (It could happen.) He didn’t predict anything, he merely made a supposition; and the thing he supposed hasn’t happened. Apparently, to him, “that’s close enough” (if a clear cooling trend is close enough to a pause, then a clear warming trend must be close enough to a pause, so by Muller’s own logic he has nothing to write about).

But the bit where it really gets silly is:

If we mistakenly took the hockey stick seriously — that is, if we believed that natural fluctuations in climate are small…

which makes no sense at all. Muller was suckered by the septics waay back, and in 2004 wrote Global Warming Bombshell: A prime piece of evidence linking human activity to climate change turns out to be an artifact of poor mathematics. That was wrong then, and wrong now, but Muller is clinging to it. Not only is the fundamental point of his 2004 piece wrong, but the conclusion he pulls from nowhere – that the Hockey Stick implies natural fluctuations are small – is drivel too.

[Update: just to make that last point more clearly: what Muller is burbling about is the “the [MBH] Hockey Stick shows less variability than other reconstructions” idea. See for example https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hockey_stick_graph. And there is truth to that. But there is no truth to the idea that the Hockey Stick in any way contradicts decadal-scale fluctuations; indeed its obvious from the graph that Muller displays in his 2004 piece that these exists. So I really don’t understand what he’s been smoking.]


A occasional series of portraits of notable bloggers.


From Bizarre and vulgar illustrations from illuminated medieval manuscripts.

Phrase of the day (not, I should hasten to add, one that has any relation to the noble lagomorph) arrant gasconading from Houseman. From which comes “insult of the day” (or perhaps “motto of the day”):

…his mind had keenness without force, and was not a trenchant instrument. His corrections, deft as they are, touch only the surface of the text; his precise and lucid explanations are seldom explanations of difficulties, but only dispel perverse misunderstandings of things which hardly any one but Scaliger can ever have misunderstood. When a real obscurity had baffled Scaliger, it baffled Huet…

Death of a salesman, part 2

Continuing an occasional series on non-notable folk. Marcel Leroux stirred up the septics quite a bit. By contrast, who cares about Tim Ball? He was declared [[WP:NN]] some time ago but then someone recreated his page. And so we have [[Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Tim Ball]] (Tim, Timmy, Timothy, who cares about trivia?). Apart from the giggle-factor, there’s nothing very interesting in this; contrasting the first and second AFD’s is kinda fun; the level of give-a-toss is so much lower now.

Incidentally, its been pointed out to me, not for the first time, that all this stuff is just incomprehensible to anyone not soaked in the debate, not “in universe”. In which case, as a token gesture, I point you at the glossary, Kevin.

[Update 2013/11: the return of the death of…]


* Hockey stick spotted in BT

Manley: Climate and the British Scene

DSC_1880-manley-climate-and-the-british-scene_crop From the department for historical research. I happened to be in the Oxfam bookshop trying to empty our house, when I looked down and saw this in the pile of new arrivals. It hadn’t been priced but they took a fiver for it, which seems fair enough. Its a very British-meteorologist book, you can practically see him puffing on his pipe as he writes it. I am, of course, going to skip over all the nice climate and weather stuff, and look at the climate change, much to his dismay.

Manley factoid: he is buried in Coton churchyard.

You can read a few pages I’ve uploaded if you like, but you’re better off going to the convenient online copy. My copy is the fourth edition, by Collins / Fontana. It is marked as first published 1952, copyright 1952, but first published in Fontana 1962. The preface says that certain tables have been brought up to date (1961). The online one thinks it is from 1971. Manley died in 1980.

What’s the point?

To look at what he said, then, about past variations in climate. Most of the book isn’t: its about the actual climate. But on my page 279, in a table of various periods coming up towards date, we have:

About 500 B.C.

Climate again much damper with considerably cooler and more cloudy summers, less evaporation, more wind and rainfall. Rapid growth of peat over previously forested uplands especially where less well drained. Tree-line lowered by perhaps 1,000 feet. Birch increases in lowlands and in damp sites oak, alder and willow especially prominent. Summers perhaps 4o cooler than previous phase, winters still rather mild due to much wind and cloud (‘early Iron Age’).


Possibly minor amelioration and recession in Roman times; improvement about 7th and nth century, wetter around 1100, again more disturbed after 1300. Minor fluctuations with tendency for colder winters after 1550; tendencies probably more or less similar to those shown by Fig. 64. Minor drier and wetter groups of years in S.E., but uncertainty how far these are applicable in N. and W. Prevalence of colder winters in later 17th century, and recurrence 1740 onward; groups of generally warm summers, e.g. 1772-83; and cool, 1692-1700, 1809-18. Tendency in direction of milder winters since 1850 or earlier but not uninterrupted. Appreciable increase of average temperature in spring, summer and autumn since 1930. Despite 1959, the peak may have been passed.

[I’ve correct the OCR a couple of times, but otherwise this is copied from the online text. You can’t tell from this fragment, but from surrounding text I believe that temperatures are in Fahrenheit (good gracious) and so that 4o presumably is.]

DSC_1879-manley-fig-64-crop You’ll want to see fig 64, I imagine, so here it is.

Notice that he doesn’t share our obession with temperature being of overriding interest besides which everything else pales. And that although he describes cold temperatures around what we’d now call “Little Ice Age” kind of times, he doesn’t use the phrase. Of “Medaeival Warm Period” for that matter. And his temperature graph sticks a big upwards spike in “LIA” times.

He doesn’t explain these variations, though there is speculation about solar variation, perhaps acting via changes in circulation. The greenhouse effect isn’t mentioned; CO2 is, briefly: The atmosphere which envelops us is in the main a mixture of gases ; some of these are the permanent constituents, about one-fifth oxygen and nearly four-fifths nitrogen with small quantities of other gases. Water-vapour is the principal variable constituent; carbon dioxide is a minor variable constituent of potential importance. But the “potential importance” teaser isn’t followed up, as far as I can see.

He’s also very unclear about what might have caused the ice ages. Milankovitch doesn’t get a look in: Other suggestions have been made which postulate considerable variations in the intensity of solar radiation. It has been demonstrated by Sir George Simpson that a small increase in the power of the sun would ultimately give rise to increased cloud and precipitation in highland regions towards the poles; assuming that the land was already sufficiently elevated, the resultant increased cloudiness and snowfall would gradually give rise to an ice cap. He points out the importance of the fact that a widespread cloud sheet, once formed, reflects a great deal of the radiation falling upon it. The elegance with which his theory can be extended to explain the occurrence of cooler and warmer interglacials is attractive; it was published in the Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society for 1934, with some revision in 1957. But unfortunately, sufficient geological evidence is not forthcoming with regard to the relative coolness or warmness of the several interglacials which Simpson’s theory would require; interglacial deposits are rare, as they are generally removed by the succeeding glaciation. For this reason the elucidation of the full story of the British glaciations is tardy. Moreover full agreement has not been reached with regard to the number and extent of the several glaciations in other parts of the world.

None of which matters, really: its just an illustration of what people thought, then. And is perhaps some counter to the “Age of Gold” nonsense that some people spout.