Josh Willis

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Josh Willis
Josh Willis.jpg
Alma mater Scripps Institution of Oceanography
Known for Argo (oceanography)
Spouse(s) Dixie Aragaki
Awards Charles K. Witham Environmental Stewardship Award, JPL,[1] 2011 Ocean Sciences Early Career Award from the American Geophysical Union[2]
Scientific career
Fields Oceanography
Institutions Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Thesis Combining satellite and in situ data to make improved estimates of upper-ocean thermal variability on eddy to global scales (2004)
Doctoral advisor Dean Roemmich

Joshua "Josh" K. Willis is an oceanographer at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. His area of expertise is current sea level rise, as well as measuring ocean temperatures.[3] When sea level fell from 2010 to 2011, Willis stated that this was due to an unusually large La Niña transferring more rainfall over land rather than over the ocean as usually happens.[4] In addition, Willis is the project scientist for Jason-3.[5]


Oceans cooling[edit]

In 2006, Willis et al. published a time series measuring ocean heat content, which concluded that the ocean had cooled from 2003 to 2005.[6] A similar conclusion was reached by scientists at NASA's Langley Research Center (LRC).[7] While Willis cautioned against drawing conclusions based on such a short time period, the study was widely covered in the media, with climate change skeptics citing it as evidence that global warming was no longer occurring.[7] Willis also noted that some model simulations show periods of four to five years during which the upper ocean does not warm.[8] Willis suspected something was awry when the researchers at LRC concluded that Earth's energy imbalance had remained the same over that period of time, which led to a researcher at LRC named Takmeng Wong becoming "surprised, even a little alarmed" at Willis's results.[7] The original 2006 paper has since been corrected, with Willis et al. stating, "Most of the rapid decrease in globally integrated upper (0–750 m) ocean heat content anomalies (OHCA) between 2003 and 2005 reported by Lyman et al. [2006] appears to be an artifact resulting from the combination of two different instrument biases recently discovered in the in situ profile data."[9]

Challenger expedition[edit]

On May 21, 2013, Willis co-authored a paper regarding measurements of ocean temperatures taken during the Challenger expedition in the 1870s, which were compared with measurements from Argo. This paper concluded that the global ocean had indeed warmed since the 1870s,[10] and received wide media attention.[11][12]

Deep ocean warming[edit]

On October 5, 2014, Willis was a co-author on a paper reporting that the warming of the deep ocean had not contributed to a detectable extent to either sea level rise or the Earth's energy budget.[13] Willis said its findings did not challenge global warming because "the sea level is still rising”.[14]

Willis is the Principal Investigator of Oceans Melting Greenland (OMG).[15][16][17][18][19][20]

The Second City[edit]

Willis is a graduate of the Conservatory Program of The Second City Training Center.[21][22][23][24][25][26][27][25][28]

Personal life[edit]

Dr. Willis is married to physiatrist Dr. Dixie Aragaki.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Josh K. Willis CV" (PDF). JPL. Retrieved 7 September 2013. 
  2. ^ "Willis Receives 2011 Ocean Sciences Early Career Award". American Geophysical Union. 2011. Retrieved 7 September 2013. 
  3. ^ "Josh Willis". Jet Propulsion Laboratory website. Retrieved 7 September 2013. 
  4. ^ Buis, Alan (23 August 2011). "NASA Satellites Detect Pothole on Road to Higher Seas". Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Retrieved 7 September 2013. 
  5. ^ "Reddit Interview: Josh Willis". JPL. 17 October 2012. Retrieved 7 September 2013. 
  6. ^ Lyman, J. M.; Willis, J. K.; Johnson, G. C. (2006). "Recent cooling of the upper ocean". Geophysical Research Letters. 33 (18). Bibcode:2006GeoRL..3318604L. doi:10.1029/2006GL027033. 
  7. ^ a b c Lindsey, Rebecca (5 November 2008). "Correcting Ocean Cooling". NASA Earth Observatory. Retrieved 7 September 2013. 
  8. ^ Revkin, Andrew C. (1 April 2008). "Ocean Cooling and Global Warming". New York Times. Retrieved 7 September 2013. 
  9. ^ Willis, J. K.; Lyman, J. M.; Johnson, G. C.; Gilson, J. (2007). "Correction to "Recent cooling of the upper ocean"". Geophysical Research Letters. 34 (16). Bibcode:2007GeoRL..3416601W. doi:10.1029/2007GL030323. 
  10. ^ Hobbs, W. R.; Willis, J. K. (2013). "Detection of an observed 135 year ocean temperature change from limited data". Geophysical Research Letters. 40 (10): 2252–2258. doi:10.1002/grl.50370. 
  11. ^ Nesbit, Jeff (31 May 2013). "Is More Global Warming Hiding in the Oceans?". Retrieved 10 September 2013. 
  12. ^ "Century-old science helps confirm global warming". Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies. Retrieved 10 September 2013. 
  13. ^ Llovel, W.; Willis, J. K.; Landerer, F. W.; Fukumori, I. (5 October 2014). "Deep-ocean contribution to sea level and energy budget not detectable over the past decade". Nature Climate Change. 4: 1031–1035. doi:10.1038/nclimate2387. 
  14. ^ Lloyd, Graham (8 October 2014). "NASA rules out deep ocean for hidden heat". The Australian. Retrieved 7 October 2014. 
  15. ^ "OMG". Retrieved 12 May 2017. 
  16. ^ "OMG". Retrieved 12 May 2017. 
  17. ^ Carol Rasmussen NASA releases new, detailed Greenland glacier data January 2, 2017
  18. ^ "Ocean might swallow California sooner than you think – Orange County Register". Retrieved 12 May 2017. 
  19. ^ Sheets, Hilarie M. (16 September 2016). "Art and Science Meld as NASA Announces a New Artist Collaboration". Retrieved 12 May 2017 – via 
  20. ^ Viskontas, Indre. Inquiring Minds Podcast 131 Josh Willis - Greenland Is Melting!
  21. ^ Pacific, Aquarium of the. "Aquarium of the Pacific - Aquarium News - Sketch Comedy Meets Climate Change in The Lollygaggers". Retrieved 12 May 2017. 
  22. ^ "Using Comedy to Communicate Climate Change". 11 April 2017. Retrieved 12 May 2017. 
  23. ^ Willis, Joshua. "Science - Sea Level And Ice (329C): People: Joshua Willis". Retrieved 12 May 2017. 
  24. ^ "Josh Willis". YouTube. Retrieved 12 May 2017. 
  25. ^ a b "Watch a NASA scientist and a yellow puppet explore Greenland’s melting glaciers". Retrieved 12 May 2017. 
  26. ^ "Josh Willis". 20 December 2016. Retrieved 12 May 2017. 
  27. ^ "Climate Scientist". Occupassionate. Retrieved 12 May 2017. 
  28. ^ "Josh Willis (@omgnasa) - Twitter". Retrieved 12 May 2017. 

External links[edit]