Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Gordon Fulks PhD Physics, Gets Smacked

Oregon climate change skeptic denier had an op-ed in the Oregonian the other day, "The changing climate of climate change." It contains the usual distortions
The evidence causing great grief is the refusal of the global temperature to increase for the past 15 years. It sloshes back and forth as one would expect on a planet with vast oceans and atmosphere that are never in equilibrium, but does not warm as some claimed it would with slowly increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide. Consequently, cracks are developing in the scientific facade supporting the dogma.
and the usual histrionics
Reading the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences is much like reading Pravda during the Cold War: You do not look for beliefs, but for hints of change.
ending with the usual bullshit
Although the public has little knowledge of science and too easily falls for scams, scientists know that they cannot hold onto theories in the face of contravening evidence, even with vast government largess hanging in the balance. Those who have struck a Faustian bargain are beginning to worry that the devil may one day come to collect.
Today's paper has a letter from Oregon State University climate scientist Andreas Schmittner that gives Fulks a failing grade in science:
As a climate scientist who actively works and publishes in this field, I know what most of my colleagues also know. Temperatures and sea levels are rising, glaciers and sea ice are melting, and man-made greenhouse gases are to blame.

Gordon Fulks, however, in his Jan. 20 column ("The changing climate of climate change"), disagrees. Can he be right? Let's examine his arguments.

Fulks claims that global temperatures have not risen during the past 15 years. This is not true. Most heat trapped by carbon dioxide and other gases added to the atmosphere is absorbed by the oceans, as clearly seen in measurements available at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration website. Could the warming observed during the past 100 years be from heat that "sloshes back and forth" between the oceans and the atmosphere, as Fulks claims, or changes in the sun? No.

Even former climate skeptic Richard Muller, who has recently re-examined the surface temperature measurements, comes to the same conclusions as other climate scientists before him: Humans are the main cause.

Fulks flunks climate science. He cherry-picks information that supports his conclusion and ignores the rest. That's not science. Could it be that Fulks is right and a new ice age is imminent and all the academies of sciences that predict further warming are wrong? Of course.

But it is similarly unlikely that smoking is healthy and all medical associations are conspiring to fool you with their "radical" views on tobacco.

Schmittner is an associate professor in Oregon State University's College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences.
Schmittner is a climate modeler, and the lead author of this 2011 paper in Science that combined paleoclimate data with a climate model and found a lower than usual value (2.3 K) for climate sensitivity, with a lower uncertainty range (1.7 - 2.6 K, with 66% probability).

There are several other letters in the paper, too, none of them in support.

You really have to wonder why a paper like the Oregonian keeps publishing this kind of stuff. My theory is that it attracts a lot of traffic from debating commenters (so far, 233 on the original article), but maybe I'm just cynical.

Oh yeah -- Fulks wants you to know he has a doctorate in physics. He really wants you to remember that, even announcing it before he asked a question at a seminar (who does that kind of thing?), though there's no evidence he has legally changed his name (yet) to "Gordon Fulks PhD Physics."

1 comment:

Chuck Weller said...

Besides his being tripped up by a present day practicing and publishing scientist, no one ever asks Fulks how long it's been since his research was published in a peer-reviewed journal. He would have to say, "Well, it's been a long time...really long."

Fulks has published only two peer-reviewed papers in his entire life: his doctoral dissertation in 1975 and his final paper in 1981. 40 years ago he started his research and 34 years ago he stopped. But he insists he is Dr. Fulks, Ph.D. That's a forty year old doctor in astrophysics who quit research a generation ago. Seems like a waste, but more importantly, obviously he stopped learning about the time he stopped researching.

How does he make a living? He works for the conservative backed (look it up) Cascade Policy Institute which has a history of arguing for draconian and notorious conservative causes including privatization of education and denying global warming.

Fulks claims he never takes money for his denying climate change opinion pieces (mostly appearing in "The Oregonian"), yet he always attaches his email address, in essence an invitation to far right groups to request a speech for an honorarium and expenses. And what does he get from the Cascade Policy Institute? I'm sure he is paid handsomely, and he gets to say he works in a think tank that is heavily funded by fossil fuel interests. That answers the question: why would a Ph.D. think global warning is a scam?