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NASA’s Josh Willis Destroys Whatever Credibility He Had Left

May 22, 2017

By Paul Homewood



Dave Burton has written a very good retort to a rather ridiculous new video by NASA’s Josh Willis:



Notice that “catastrophic” is apparently not scary enough, these days. Global warming is now “the Apocalypse.”

The video starts out with two guys crawling along the parched ground under the blazing desert sun. One of them says to the other, “We’re gonna die out here, man. If only society had done more to fight climate change.” And it goes downhill from there.

There’s really nothing new in his video, nor in this article debunking it. So if you’re a “regular” at WUWT, and you’re hoping to learn something new, you needn’t bother reading the rest.

I counted eight claims in Josh Willis’s video. Let’s look at them, one by one:

Claim #1. “Record high global temperatures may have exacerbated our current situation.”

Wrong. “Global warming” mostly just warms higher latitudes. It makes harsh, cold climates milder. The warming effect at low latitudes is slight, and mostly increases nighttime lows, not daytime highs.

If those fellows are dying in the hot desert, they obviously are not at higher latitudes. Where they are, global warming is slight.
In fact, higher CO2 levels make plants more drought-resistant. So, thanks to anthropogenic CO2, deserts and near-deserts are shrinking and greening, most strikingly in the Sahel & Sahara. Even the severely politicized National Geographic admits that it is happening, though they don’t mention CO2:




The full essay is worth reading here.

But Josh Willis has form, which Greg commented over at WUWT:





What Greg is referring to is the ARGO data.

NASA take up the story:



On a Thursday evening in February 2007, Josh Willis stood in front of his laptop, his wife cajoling him to get ready to go out to dinner. He looked with a sinking feeling at the map he had just made. Willis, a scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, specializes in making estimates of how much heat the ocean stores from year to year.

Photograph of Josh Willis

Josh Willis is an oceanographer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory who specializes in sea level trends and the response of the oceans to global warming. (Photograph courtesy Josh Willis.)

“The oceans are absorbing more than 80 percent of the heat from global warming,” he says. “If you aren’t measuring heat content in the upper ocean, you aren’t measuring global warming.”

In 2004, Willis published a time series of ocean heat content showing that the temperature of the upper layers of ocean increased between 1993-2003. In 2006, he co-piloted a follow-up study led by John Lyman at Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory in Seattle that updated the time series for 2003-2005. Surprisingly, the ocean seemed to have cooled.

Not surprisingly, says Willis wryly, that paper got a lot of attention, not all of it the kind a scientist would appreciate. In speaking to reporters and the public, Willis described the results as a “speed bump” on the way to global warming, evidence that even as the climate warmed due to greenhouse gases, it would still have variation. The message didn’t get through to everyone, though. On blogs and radio talk shows, global warming deniers cited the results as proof that global warming wasn’t real and that climate scientists didn’t know what they were doing.


What follows is a quite shameless account of how the ARGO data was tampered with.

Greg is spot on with his criticism.

  1. May 22, 2017 5:54 pm

    Thank you for this, Paul. Very educational!

  2. May 22, 2017 7:55 pm

    “The oceans are absorbing more than 80 percent of the heat from global warming,” he says.
    – – –
    But the oceans have negligible to zero ability to absorb long wave radiation (e.g. so-called ‘back radiation’ from the atmosphere), so he can only be referring to solar radiation itself, which even warmists must know is not man-made.

    • John F. Hultquist permalink
      May 22, 2017 8:52 pm

      So in addition to “just making stuff up” the fellow cannot write clearly.
      Usually, any ability to write well is pounded out of a person on the way to a Ph .D.
      Exceptions can be found.

      • May 22, 2017 8:59 pm

        In 1969 after reading my MA thesis, my major professor said, “Young lady, I have one thing to say to you: you certainly can write.” In 1987, my PhD dissertation of 300 pages was approved with the request that I add a couple of pages to the conclusions (my committee noticed I had run out of steam in mid-page)–same major professor. I reread i about a year ago–darn good.

        Count me as one of your exceptions.

    • May 22, 2017 11:02 pm

      Re: “oceans have negligible to zero ability to absorb long wave radiation (e.g. so-called ‘back radiation’…”

      That’s not correct. The oceans absorb LWIR just fine, and when the air is warmer the warm air in contact with the water warms it a bit, too.

      • RealOldOne2 permalink
        May 25, 2017 1:40 am

        Re: “The oceans absorb LWIR just fine”
        Only the first few microns do, as that is as far as the ~15µm wavelength of CO2 LWIR can penetrate into the oceans.

        And since those upper few microns of the ocean are always cooler than the layers just below it, there is no transfer of energy downward from that uppermost layer down into the depths of the oceans.

        And since on a global average the atmosphere is colder than the ocean surface, there is no heat transferred from the colder atmosphere into the warmer surface of the ocean, as that would violate the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics.

        Perhaps oldbrew should have said that the oceans have negligible ability to absorb heat from LWIR coming from the colder atmosphere above the oceans.

        High energy radiation from the ~5800C Sun penetrates up to ~200m deep into the oceans. So the Sun does transfer almost all of the heat that is transferred into the oceans.

        Josh Willis’s claim “The oceans are absorbing more than 80% of the heat from global warming” is a tacit admission that global warming is overwhelmingly natural, not anthropogenic.

  3. May 22, 2017 8:02 pm

    This must have been the price of admission into the next level of the warmunist priesthood.

  4. Tom O permalink
    May 22, 2017 9:35 pm

    Isn’t it amazing how ARGO data and satellite data came into vogue with the alarmists as soon as the el nino removed the pause from the satellite record? Now they can completely forget all prior warm periods, especially the 1930s.

  5. AndyG55 permalink
    May 23, 2017 6:14 am

    ARGO data has now become totally NON-credible !!

    Well done, Josh.. you bozo !!!

  6. Athelstan permalink
    May 23, 2017 8:08 am

    Oh dear Lord.

    The big shiny thing in the sky heats the earths surface – period. With, the axial rotation, gravitational forces greatly helping, oceans redistribute warm water to cooler areas via the giant oceanic conveyor and hey presto it’s just like a sort of planetary scale – aircon system and brilliantly for us – it works too!

    FFS man made emissions of a life giving gas do not have any – even a trace of influence and thus are, totally, a figment of a tiny few of twisted minds.

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