On How the Earth Keeps Cool
Written by Anthony Bright-Paul
A young lady on Facebook sent me the usual accepted version concerning Climate and Global Warming. I have forgotten her name for the moment – it will return doubtless in a short time. Oh yes, it is Harfiyah.
To whom I would make this reply. Most, if not all scientists do agree on the facts, but alas they cannot always agree on the conclusions.
I would like to ask you a series of questions and see if we can agree together. Firstly, what is the Globe? Now we cannot live without air, and this globe of ours has an atmosphere some 65 miles high to the edge of Outer Space, sometimes called the Karman line. Just how do we have this atmosphere? How is it retained? After all if it is simply air, why does it not simply blow away? And indeed, why also do the seas likewise not slip off the edge of the earth and drain away to Outer Space, leaving the Earth simply as a desolate rock?
Well, I will not attempt to answer that question, but I understand that Mars lost its atmosphere, so there is no reason why the same thing could not happen to the Earth.
That is just a question for you and friends on Facebook to ponder. But now I have a more direct question. When you run a tap of water, particularly a mixer tap, how do you tell whether the water is cold, warm or hot? After all the water coming out of the tap looks much the same, if not identical. But you can tell the difference simply by putting your hand under the water and you will immediately feel whether it is cold, tepid or hot. How do you do that? Well, of course, it is by touch, it is by Conduction. Everyone is able by touch to know the difference in the heat of the water, although they may not know the exact temperature. So Harfiyah, do you agree with that so far?
You know also that you can bring water to the boil in a kettle. So you have to exert some type of force to bring the water to 100 degrees C, boiling point. Do you agree to this? For this is a simple example of the 1st law of Thermodynamics, that heat can only be produced by ‘work done’. On the other hand when you have made your drink of tea or coffee, at first it is too hot to drink, but within minutes it will cool just by itself. Do you agree that this is a simple fact that everything by itself will cool? Do you agree with that? For that is the 2nd law of Thermodynamics. There is no steady state, is there? Everything upon this blessed Planet is either being made hotter or by itself is cooling off. Do you agree that this is a fact of experience? If so, that’s great – we can agree.
Not so very long ago all the scientists in the world and all the priests and the wise men all believed that the Earth was static in the middle of the universe and that the Sun went round the Earth, – the module enunciated by Ptolemy. Very reasonable too! To all intents and purposes we are standing on a stable platform, the Sun is rising in the East and setting in the West. Along comes Copernicus and Galileo, and not to be forgotten Giordano Bruno, and they declare that the Earth is travelling round the Sun in an ellipse, which takes a year, and at the some time we are revolving on our own axis every single day, wobbling and tilting at the same time. Nowadays all scientists agree that this is the truth. Do you accept that this is true? After all we know very well when we are travelling at 60mph in a car, yet when we are travelling round the Sun at 66,000 mph we hardly feel a thing. Most people nowadays however accept that Copernicus was right. Do you?
So now you see why I asked you about air. Is it not amazing if we are truly travelling at 66,000 mph, just how do we retain all this air? Why does not the whole atmosphere that is some 65 miles high, why does it not all blow away to Outer space?
We have agreed, I hope, that you could feel the difference between hot and cold water. Can you feel the difference between hot and cold air?
Now here is a funny thing. Scientists all agree that the air is 99% Oxygen and Nitrogen and just 1% Greenhouse Gases, – Water Vapour, Carbon Dioxide and Methane and a few others. So the vast amount of our air is Oxygen and Nitrogen and scientists of all kinds and persuasions agree that it is transparent. And it is obvious. As I look out of my window I can see the willow across the road, because the air is transparent. Even if I stand on a cliff top I can see a ship on the horizon that is over 9 miles away, because Oxygen and Nitrogen, the main constituents of air are transparent. Do you agree to this?
Furthermore, and this is the interesting part, Oxygen and Nitrogen are not only transparent visually, they are also transparent to radiation, in particular to infrared. So the question is this – how does the air warm up? Or doesn’t it? I will return to this question later.
Now the Greenhouse Gases are opaque – why, only this morning the weather forecast on the BBC said there was thick mist but it would soon burn off. You can see mist, you can see fog and you can see clouds, but you don’t see through them. Why? Because they are opaque! Do you agree?
Further more these gasses are also all opaque to infrared radiation from the Sun. What does that mean? Well as all the Warmist scientists declare these molecules warm up. Do the Skeptics disagree? No, not at all! And they radiate every which way. Do scientists agree on that? Sure they do.
So these molecules absorb radiation and emit radiation. And what happens when a molecule emits radiation? The answer is simple and agreed by all Physicists – the molecule cools down. It cannot be otherwise, can it? As something absorbs radiation it heats up – as it emits radiation it cools down. Agreed?
Let us return to the two principle gases that make up 99% of the air we breathe. They do not warm up with infrared. Since they are transparent the radiation passes through until it hits mass. What is mass? Mass can be anything substantial. If we sit out in the sun we may get sunburnt. We may feel very warm. That is because we have mass. When radiation encounters mass heat is produced. Trees, bricks, lakes, oceans and rocks all have mass and absorb infrared and become warm in varying degrees. Now here’s the thing. As the surfaces warm up so does the air, by touching, by Conduction.
So the air is not warmed by infrared – except for the Greenhouse Gases – but only warms up by Conduction. That is why the air warms from the bottom up – the adiabatic process or lapse rate.
So how does the air cool down? Well, we all know that hot air rises and as it rises it cools. But why and how does it cool? Very simply the molecules fly farther apart and the air gets ‘thinner’. At ground level the molecules are dense. Higher up, say on the summit of Mt Blanc the air is thinner. There is more nothing between the molecules and so there is an absence of warmth. Actually there is no such thing as ‘cold’ only absence of heat. This process is called Convection. It is clear with a little thought, that Convection cannot go farther than this world. The Thermosphere may have some very hot molecules, even to 2,000 degrees C, but as it is mostly empty it feels completely cold. It is a paradox.
So now we are left with a very interesting question. Is the world getting hotter and hotter? Think about it. As the Earth spins round as on a spit, one side is being warmed by radiation and the side in the shadow is cooling down. We know that this happens, by out own thermometers, wherever we are. But how does the Earth cool down?
Well the Earth cannot cool down by Conduction, since one cannot conduct heat to nothing. It cannot cool down by Convection, since we have run out of molecules by the time we reach the edge of space.
There is only one possible way that the Earth could cool down and that is by radiation. It is possible to radiate into space, and all scientists will agree to that.
So all the scientists are agreed so far in principle. The question now is ‘How does the Earth cool down?’ Well in spite of the Global Warmers the earth does cool down, otherwise we would already be getting hotter and hotter and hotter then Hades.
The heat has to escape somehow and it can only escape by Radiation. Just as Newton is famous for his insights into gravity, and Einstein is famous for his insights into relativity amongst other things, I believe that Hans Schreuder will be acclaimed in due course for answering this question.
Oxygen and Nitrogen do not absorb infrared, so they also do not emit or radiate. The only molecules that radiate and cool down are the famous Greenhouse Gases, in particular Water Vapour and Carbon Dioxide. It is only the Greenhouse Gases that are capable of radiating to Outer Space. It is only the Greenhouse Gases that are keeping the world cool. Hans Schreuder is perhaps alone in declaring that Greenhouse Gases cool the Planet. (See http://www.ilovemycarbondioxide.com )
Hans Schreduer in no way contradicts climate science – however he reaches a different conclusion. I believe that he is right. Do you, Harfiyah?