Thursday, January 9, 2014

Something Really Obvious: Wondering Willis Eschenbach doesn't check facts...

Sou | 12:15 AM Go to the first of 4 comments. Add a comment

Wondering Willis Eschenbach wanders further from reality in a follow up article at WUWT on CERES (archived here, latest update here).

The title comes from Willis himself, who wrote in a response to another comment:
Scientists may be wrong, and often are. But when you think you’ve uncovered a “major error”, something really obvious, well, you should check your facts very carefully before uncapping your electronic pen …

Now I don't know if Willis considers himself a scientist or not.  If he does, then he's not being very scientific. He has concluded that
...the system works as follows. When the GHGs increase, the TOA upwelling longwave radiation decreases because more is absorbed. In response, the albedo increases proportionately, increases the SR. This counteracts the decrease in upwelling LW, and leaves the surface temperature unchanged.

The evidence he provides is that he says he has found "the longwave and the reflected shortwave is strongly negatively correlated, and averages -0.65 globally".  By which I think he means that as outgoing longwave radiation decreases, reflected shortwave radiation increases.

It looks as if Willis is proposing a version of Lindzen's Iris Hypothesis, which was long ago found wanting.  But despite being asked at least twice (once today and once on a previous occasion), Willis hasn't acknowledged that.  He wants to claim the idea for himself.

In his own words, what Willis is arguing is that:
the earth has a strong active thermoregulation system which functions in part by adjusting the albedo (through the regulation of daily tropical cloud onset time) to maintain the earth within a narrow (± 0.3°C over the 20th century) temperature range.

Except he's wrong.  As well as all the papers I've already linked to, Earth's surface temperature hasn't been maintained "within a narrow +/- 0.3°C over the 20th century.  It's risen by 0.8°C since the early 20th century - and by about one degree since 1910.  In addition the oceans have heated, a lot.  About 90% of the extra energy from the increased greenhouse gases has gone into the oceans, which is demonstrated by the rise in sea levels. (As the water heats it expands.)

Willis' "Crackpot" Pseudo-Science vs Observations

Why doesn't Willis show a temperature chart? Because it would show up his ideas as dumb.  For example, compare Willis' ± 0.3°C over the 20th century with observations:

Funny thing, apart from Willis chastising someone else for "not checking facts very carefully" (when you think you’ve uncovered a “major error”, something really obvious), is that no-one has asked him where the energy is coming from that's heating the surface and the oceans and melting ice.  Everyone seems to want him to be correct, so they aren't seeing the big fat flaw in his argument.

And no-one has asked for evidence supporting his cloud hypothesis either.

But a couple of people have questioned him.  For example, one person asked him why he sees clouds as only reflecting incoming shortwave radiation and not longwave radiation from the surface.

Willis is quickly adding runs to his "crackpot" score using the points system idunno linked to.

The global mean energy budget

By the way, in addition to the paper I quoted from yesterday, regarding Willis' previous wonderings, there are sections in the IPCC AR5 WG1 report that deal with top of atmosphere energy fluxes.  For example, in Chapter 2 on page 2-24 there is this paragraph:
The estimate for the reflected solar radiation at the TOA in Figure 2.11, 100 W/m2, is a rounded value based on the CERES Energy Balanced and Filled (EBAF) satellite data product (Loeb et al., 2009; Loeb et al., 2012b) for the period 2001–2010. This dataset adjusts the solar and thermal TOA fluxes within their range of uncertainty to be consistent with independent estimates of the global heating rate based upon in situ ocean observations (Loeb et al., 2012b). This leaves 240 W/m2 of solar radiation absorbed by Earth, which is nearly balanced by thermal emission to space of about 239 W/m2 (based on CERES EBAF), considering a global heat storage of 0.6 W/m2 (imbalance term in Figure 2.11) based on Argo data from 2005 to 2010 (Hansen et al., 2011; Loeb et al., 2012b; Box 3.1).

It's not a simple matter to work this out.  Willis thinks he can overturn all the detailed workings of lots of scientists by crunching some numbers that I suspect he doesn't understand.  Compare Willis' conceptualisation of the energy budget with the diagram from the IPCC report.  Willis' first. His notion is on the far right.  His notion of the science is on the left and in the middle. (Click to enlarge.)

Source: WUWT

Now for how scientists portray the global mean energy budget - Figure 2.11 from page 2-127 of the final draft of WG1. Click to enlarge.

Figure 2.11: Global mean energy budget under present day climate conditions. Numbers state magnitudes of the individual energy fluxes in W/m2, adjusted within their uncertainty ranges to close the energy budgets. Numbers in parentheses attached to the energy fluxes cover the range of values in line with observational constraints. Figure adapted from Wild et al. (2013). Source: IPCC AR5 WG1 page 2-127


  1. Willis just added 20 more crackpot points:

    10 points for beginning the description of your theory by saying how long you have been working on it. (10 more for emphasizing that you worked on your own.)

    Amended slightly, because Willis didn't begin his description but came in later.

    I work in total isolation, with no co-workers

    I put hours and hours into checking my facts, and then I re-check them

    And then there is this:

    As a result, we can say that atmospheric GHGs including CO2 most assuredly are radiating more energy than they are absorbing, in the ratio of 610 / 350.

    GHGs must be running seriously low on energy.

    1. Willis' comments at January 8, 2014 at 9:27 pm and January 8, 2014 at 11:54 pm


    2. Willis is getting pwned in that thread something shocking, and his first response having been aggressive, he can't now back down. He's a nasty, ignorant, stupid piece of work.

    3. Hi Sou,

      Watt about a night out at the bingo?


      If you ever feel in need of a break from WUWT, I know it's quite a lot to ask, as the following site is a bit more from the hard, cutting edge of denial science, and the arguments are often more coherent, and less transparent, but you might one day feel up to the task of taking on a review or two of the work of the doyen of denialism:


      Obviously, there's more credible science to wade through with Inferno than Watts, but I think that the compare and contrast could be an excellent way for you to show Tony how its really done.



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