Sometimes, people just go “over the top”. That’s a nice way of putting what happened to Tripp Funderburk when he got too wrapped up in blind disagreement over a story we recently carried at WUWT by Jim Steele:
Note the picture shows exposed coral, and some of the coral has bleached. Seems a no-brainer to me and many other people that coral can’t survive without being submerged, and as Jim Steele argues in his essay:
…Indonesian biologists had reported that a drop in sea level had bleached the upper 15 cm of the reefs before temperatures had reached NOAA’ Coral Reef Watch’s bleaching thresholds. As discussed by Ampou 2017, the drop in sea level had likely been experienced throughout much of the Coral Triangle including the northern Great Barrier Reef (GBR), and then accelerated during the El Niño. They speculated sea level fall also contributed to the bleaching during the 1998 El Niño.
Jim is drawing on findings of a peer reviewed publication, Ampou 2017, not his own opinion. See the abstract:
Coral mortality induced by the 2015–2016 El-Niño in Indonesia: the effect of rapid sea level fall
The 2015–2016 El-Niño and related ocean warming has generated significant coral bleaching and mortality worldwide. In Indonesia, the first signs of bleaching were reported in April 2016. However, this El Niño has impacted Indonesian coral reefs since 2015 through a different process than temperature-induced bleaching. In September 2015, altimetry data show that sea level was at its lowest in the past 12 years, affecting corals living in the bathymetric range exposed to unusual emersion. In March 2016, Bunaken Island (North Sulawesi) displayed up to 85 % mortality on reef flats dominated by Porites, Heliopora and Goniastrea corals with differential mortality rates by coral genus. Almost all reef flats showed evidence of mortality, representing 30 % of Bunaken reefs. For reef flat communities which were living at a depth close to the pre-El Niño mean low sea level, the fall induced substantial mortality likely by higher daily aerial exposure, at least during low tide periods. Altimetry data were used to map sea level fall throughout Indonesia, suggesting that similar mortality could be widespread for shallow reef flat communities, which accounts for a vast percent of the total extent of coral reefs in Indonesia. The altimetry historical records also suggest that such an event was not unique in the past two decades, therefore rapid sea level fall could be more important in the dynamics and resilience of Indonesian reef flat communities than previously thought. The clear link between mortality and sea level fall also calls for a refinement of the hierarchy of El Niño impacts and their consequences on coral reefs.
He also cites supporting data that shows sea level falling at a GBR tide gauge:
So, this all seems pretty straightforward, if you bother to read beyond the title. Apparently, one Tripp Funderburk, a newcomer to WUWT in our comments section, did not, and left this comment:
Jim does not post these pieces of fiction in science journals. He could never survive peer-review when his only real aim is to try and pretend that that climate change and global warming are not happening. Tough to get approval for propaganda that ignores the obvious reality of hot water caused by climate change and global warming causing coral bleaching and death.
Meh, we get angry non-readers all the time, I didn’t think much of it, but then he posted THIS comment:
Jim Steele, the bird call expert, says: “widescale bleaching not worrisome.” That is one of the dumbest statements I have ever read. The fact that so many sheep believe in this fiction is sad. Bleached corals expel algae that provide 90% of their food. Bleached corals do not grow, they do not reproduce, they have lost their food source and energy. Starving not worrisome? The fact that the denialists are so hopeful that widescale bleaching is not glaring obvious example of the destruction of climate change that they prop up Jim Steele, a nature walk expert, is unseemly. He is a charlatan, and pretending that the Great Barrier Reef is not bleaching due to anything but climate change is poppycock.
I felt compelled to reply, so I added this note, since Tripp included links to his Facebook page in his comments (click his name), looking at his Facebook page was fair game:
[NOTE: according to his Facebook page (linked in his response name section) Tripp has an MBA from Duke University and is the “Director of Operations at Coral Restoration Foundation International”. Looking at that website’s staff directory, https://coralrestoration.org/about/meet-the-team/ his description reads:
Tripp Funderburk is a PADI certified Divemaster and has received SSI Ecological Diver Recognition for Coral Restoration Theory and Methods, Coral Nursery Construction and Maintenance, and Coral Abundance and Health Assessment. Before joining Coral Restoration Foundation, Tripp worked in public policy in Washington, DC, including eight years as a legislative assistant to US Representative Bob Livingston. Tripp served as staff on both the House Appropriations and the House Administration Committees. Tripp also worked in government relations for The Washington Group and The Livingston Group where he represented Fortune 500 companies, trade associations, and non-profit organizations. Tripp received his M.B.A. from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business and his undergraduate degree in economics from the University of Virginia.
So it seems Tripp is just an policy/politics/business management guy with an interest in diving that found a job after his patron, Rep Bob Livington, imploded and resigned after a series of adulterous affairs made him national news. Other than surroundign himself with people who on this coral foundation, he appears to have no scientific training, unlike Jim Steele, otherwise he would not have to resort to to ad hom attacks on Mr. Steele’s training, and no other substantial arguments. Given coral is his sole source of employment, this famous quote is applicable to Tripp
“It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!” – Upton Sinclair, 1935
– Anthony Watts]
A mild admonishment, but apparently, Tripp upped his game, and his game was a might bit ugly as Jim Steele shared both with me privately via email…
Thanks for pushing back on Trip Funderburk. He has been relentlessly stalking and denigrating me at WUWT and Climate etc. He called my house again last night to verbally assault me.
…and with WUWT readers via comments:
Trip is now calling my house, dropping F bombs and launching insulting rants.
I really like what Nedimyer and the Coral Restoration Foundation International are doing. Trip is a business major overseeing their operations. The tremendous loss of staghorn and other Acropora sp coral in the Caribbean due to disease and predation makes it difficult for those species to recover because they reproduce mostly by fragmentation. A complete loss of staghorn on a reef usually means that reef needs to be colonized from a fragment from another reef. Coral Restoration Foundation collects living staghorns breaks them up into many smaller pieces and grows them and then replants them.
It would be a shame if Trip’s low life behavior threatens the foundation’s good work. Perhaps a few emails or calls to the foundation would alert them to Trip’s detrimental behavior
(305) 453-7030 firstname.lastname@example.org
Trip dishonestly cherry-picks a few words from one sentence that said, “However bleaching without mortality is not a worrisome event no matter how extensive. Rates of mortality and recovery are more important indices of reef health.”
If bleaching persists then mortality will follow. If bleaching is temporary, then observation after observation reports recovery to pre-bleaching conditions and every thing Trip is worried about is no longer a problem. Not being a biologist such simple facts elude him.
This reminds me of climate activist and self-proclaimed journalist Anna Haynes, who so disagreed with me and others in Northern California, that she took to calling our homes, and in my case, showed up at my office to confront me. Dr. Judith Curry also had some ugly scuffles with Haynes.
Hopefully Tripp gets the message this time, that this sort of behavior is not acceptable, especially from somebody who is supposed to be a professional for an organization who according to Jim Steele, does good work he approves of.
It’s OK to disagree, it’s even OK to rant on blogs about things you disagree on, but taking the disagreement off the blog and into the person’s home is a big no-no.
Cool it, Tripp.