I was resting and suddenly the 2nd law of thermodynamics came into my mind. As is my wont I had to go to Google to clarify this law – to make it comprehensible to a non-scientific mind. Really it is quite simple.
If I set light to my bonfire it will rage with a fierce heat and then it will subside and eventually even the ashes will go cold. But why is that? Why does the fire simply not get hotter and hotter? Well, we all know the answer without even knowing the Physics. We all know that heat travels from hot to cold, but cold never travels spontaneously from cold to hot. It is as simple as that.
If I plug in my electric iron and throw the switch the resistance to the current will make the iron hot. If I switch the current off, does the iron get hotter and hotter? Of course, not! Any simpleton knows that. But why not? Why does it not get hotter and hotter and reach a tipping point? And get so hot that everything melts? But it does not happen – the iron gradually cools.
If I fill my electric kettle full of water and switch it on, it will take less then 4 minutes to come to the boil, when it will switch itself off. The kettle and the water will gradually cool down, the water retaining its heat for a long time. But it will cool, and it will cool by the 2nd law of thermodynamics.
The Flying Scotsman used to run between London and Edinburgh non-stop within 8 hours. How did it do this? It had a tender containing 9 tons of coal, and a special corridor to allow for a relief driver and fireman. You may imagine that poor fireman shovelling coal non-stop perhaps for 4 hours, before getting relief. Without the coal the fire would have died down and insufficient steam would have been produced. The heat was only maintained by the continuous addition of fuel.
We humans are also combustion units. We need sufficient oxygen in order to process the fuel we continually imbibe and eat. Without food and oxygen the fire would soon go out and we would be cold and stiff.
Once we understand this principle it is really quite frightening. Even a nuclear power station only has a life of 25 years. What about the sun? An awful thought came to me and I had recourse to Google once again. If combustion depends upon sufficient fuel, then will the sun itself burn out over the course of time?
The answer is Yes! In about 5 to 7 billion years the sun will have run out of its fuel and it will burn out. The exact scenario will doubtless be dramatic. After all the sun is a star and it is subject to the same laws of Physics.
Where does that leave us? Where does that leave us in respect of Global Warming? Well, the answer is simple – there is no such thing as Global Warming. There is only Global Cooling by the inexorable laws of Physics.
In fact we all know this. We all know that we on this Planet Earth are kept alive by that huge fireball in the sky. We do not have to be a scientist to feel the warmth of the sun as it rises in the morning. This huge boiler in the sky gradually heats us up as the Earth spins round. As night falls the Earth cools on that side farthest from the sun. The amount of heat that is received depends upon the angle of the Earth to the Sun. So we know that the tropics enjoy most of the heat, the temperate climes a fair amount in the summer months, and the Poles remain pretty cold year in and year out.
What else do we know? We know that it is by a divine providence that we are at just about the right distance from the sun and with sufficient mass. We know also that we have an atmosphere; an envelope of gases, and this enables us and all life, animal and vegetable, to exist on the Planet. We know that 99% of the atmosphere is composed of Nitrogen and Oxygen, but a crucial 1% is composed of what are called the Greenhouse Gases – mostly Water Vapour 95% and tiny amounts of Carbon Dioxide, Methane and other minor trace gases.
Why are they crucial? Without these gases we would all fry by day and freeze by night. In fact that is well illustrated by those very dry regions like Morocco. The absence of water vapour means that they suffer extremes of heat by day, and extreme cold by night. One does not have to be a scientist to experience this. Neither does one have to be a scientist to experience the hot nights of Jakarta on account of the extreme humidity. Water vapour delays the exit of the sun’s heat from the Planet.
Let me ask you a simple question, or rather let me ask myself a simple question. If by some freak of nature, if by chance we were knocked off course by a comet and the sun did not rise, would the Greenhouse gases by themselves make us hotter? Would they keep the world warm?
You know the answer, and I know the answer. The gases in the atmosphere do not heat anything. The atmosphere only warms up from the heat of the sun, as do the waters of the oceans. Without the mighty sun we would get gradually colder and colder.
There is no such thing as Global Warming!!! There is only Global Cooling.
March 30th 2010
The Clausius Statement:
Heat generally cannot flow spontaneously from a material at lower temperature to a material at higher temperature.
Global cooling was a conjecture during the 1970s of imminent cooling of the Earth’s surface and atmosphere along with a posited commencement of glaciation. This hypothesis had mixed support in the scientific community, but gained temporary popular attention due to a combination of press reports that did not accurately reflect the scientific understanding of ice age cycles, and a slight downward trend of temperatures from the 1940s to the early 1970s. In contrast to the global cooling conjecture, the current scientific opinion on climate change is that the Earth has not durably cooled, but undergone global warming throughout the twentieth century.