the Air Vent

Because the world needs another opinion


Posted by Jeff Id on April 7, 2015

What I don’t like about climate in blogland is people who don’t understand science at all, yet pretend they do.   Outside of climate science, there are plenty of people who reject climate science completely simply because they recognize it for the political nonsense that it is.   They have no real concept as to whether the underlying physics actually functions, nor do they care, because they are smart enough to see through the lies and exaggerations and we all know if you catch the salesman in one lie, there are probably others as well.   Of course that is why Climategate is still being talked about.   The lies were exposed quite clearly so no amount of political committee “investigation” can shove it back under the carpet.

But it is the thermal whacko’s that bother me.   I cannot stand some of the inaccuracy or wrongheadedness spouted with respect to global warming.   People run around all the time spouting off about the second law of thermodynamics, in a manner which has Clausius flipping in his grave.   It is disastrously misleading what they write, and like the exaggerations of politicians climate scientists, it can do no good for those who would accurately expose the science problems with climate extremism.

The second law does not prevent radiation from a cooler body being absorbed by a warmer body….

That is not what it says.   Nobody with any thermodynamics background of useful proportion believes that.   Only fools who think they know something even dare write it and I’ve been told that by people far too often.  I can’t really fathom how people make such bold statements about the laws of thermodynamics when it is absolutely obvious they have no understanding whatsoever.  What is wrong with people such that they don’t feel the need to actually learn something before opining?  It seems an important step in making bold statements — that you know what you are talking about — as it prevents accidental jackassissm from occurring.  Hell, every radiative physics equation would break down were that true.  The very concept is so effed up that it even creates time paradoxes, yet opine they do!!   And quite loudly.  Isn’t the internet wonderful………..

Unfortunately for those large numbers of us who would rationally dispute the nonsense of climate science, there are still too many of the hard-core anti-AGW thrill-seekers in the world.  They are self-appointed saviors from the obvious exaggerations of the equal but oppositely self-appointed savior scientists who are in the business of making those exaggerations!  Attracted like magnets perhaps?

The second law does not prevent energy conduction from a cooler body to a warmer body either….

That is not what the second law of thermodynamics says and NOBODY with even a semi-functional thermodynamic understanding thinks otherwise.  If someone tells you that energy cannot transfer from the cold body to the warm one,  find someone else to explain it because you have just found yourself in the presence of a serious non-expert on thermodynamics.

I’m sick and tired of the whole mess.   Really, if you find yourself falling for that nonsense, turn it off and consider reading a thermodynamics book.  They are absolutely dry reading but if you are going down the thought path described above, you need to do something or you will break your brain!!  Broken and lost!

Alternatively, if you don’t want to spend months reading the driest literature you ever imagined, (it ain’t Dr. Suess folks) you could simply understand that the second law was written as a bulk property law.   If you flip a coin a quadrillion times, you will get an average of 50% heads every time.   Thermal interactions between billions of atoms are very fast and repeatable as energy is never lost, thus they can be well described by probability.  Thus we can say with absolute 100% certainty that NET heat always flows from a hot to cold body.

Energy as heat conducts and radiates in both directions between hot and cold bodies.  Anyone who tells you otherwise is FLAT WRONG and will eventually cause you brain damage!  If you escape thermodynamic brain damage caused by one of these a train-wrecks of a mind, you might find yourself next hearing about politics or gravity or spacetime with equally accurate descriptions.  The result of bad data, tearing trough your delicate neural structure like a bull in a china shop. Ignorance is absolutely contagious, and you don’t want to spend your days repairing your mind from such damage!

Consider that in each body there exists molecules and atoms at completely different quantum energy states – all at the same time.  On that scale, there are hot and cold molecules in any body, all the time.   Absolute zero temperature is the only possible exception where a body of molecules doesn’t exhibit multiple simultaneous energy states that I am aware of, but I’m an engineer, not a particle physicist.  But the point I’m trying to make is, how the hell would one atom would know enough about its neighbor atoms to know NOT to absorb a photon from a colder body than the average energy of its immediate neighbors?  Average energy of course being temperature.   Are there labels on the photons, do atoms take polls of each other?  Clearly not and that alone proves the mind-breaking, neuron-trashing concepts these people spout is flat stupid.  The NET heat flow however, is from hot to cold, always, because of the higher probability of energy transfer from a body which has higher excitation to a lower excitation body- and thus the second law of thermodynamics holds true.

So don’t be a thermal moron.   Be a thermal truther.  I’m sure the one thing we can agree on is that the world has enough morons.

The good news for skeptics is that on the other side, it is the “main stream” AGW scientists who are the whackos, exaggerators and cause-driven lunatics who see thermal trends in tree-rings, sheep or fish dimensions, and mollusk shells and finger-paint pictures of climate doom using weak math and really bad data.   It leaves actual climate skeptics squarely in the reasonable middle, and there are a lot of us.

How do you find us?  How do you know when you’ve run into a reasonable climate opinion?  We never dispute whether absorbing gasses — actually absorb.  We don’t fret about imperfect performance of a blackbody or reasonable approximations or parametrization of equations (although we can question some of them).   There is no room for us to imagine that some form of magic bullet is going to come along and prove the basic concepts of climate science wrong.  And we universally recognize that climate models have failed.  Unbeknownst to the thermorons, those opinions come from understanding rather than some hopey-feelie happy thoughts far too often used as a substitute for logic by the extremes on both ends of this particular discussion.

I don’t really care to be in the middle, but as is often the case in this life, nobody really gave me a choice.  Stay safe folks, the world is a dangerous place and a brain is a terrible thing to waste!






48 Responses to “Thermorons”

  1. M Simon said

    I nave always liked negative temperatures. A system that is hotter than one at a positive temperature.

    BTW I have a classical thermo book that is bed time reading for me.

    And I have been spending considerable time with this lately. Conduction, convection, radiation. Its companion AN10874 might also be of interest.

    Why don’t climate scientists get thermo? Well it is possibly the most difficult subject in physics.

  2. Thomas Fox said

    As satellite measurments do not show any warming to the high atmosphere is heat dissipating into outer space as this will prove GW is false

  3. Anonymous said

    Thermodynamics is hard to understand. But why can’t there be a “magic bullet” that will prove the basic concepts of radiation-trapped global warming wrong.

    Seriously ponder this:
    We can compute what we think is the predicted temperature of the earth based on our understanding of blackbody thermal radiative equilibrium.

    If the earth had a reflective mirrored surface, then it would absorb less radiation from the sun and emit less to space. Would it be cooler on average? If so, then why don’t we just paint everything black as white and problem solved.

    If the earth was a perfect blackbody, then could it absorb more radiation from the sun without emitting it to space? Could it be warmer on average?

    • Brian H said

      Goofy questions. Absorption and emissivity are the same. They cannot be separated..

      • jinghis said

        No, absorption and emissivity are not the same, except at equilibrium. The whole concept behind AGW is that CO2 absorbs more radiation than it emits, because of its affinity to specific wavelengths. The concept is correct, because the system isn’t in equilibrium.

        However, the ocean does exactly the same thing, it absorbs more radiation than it emits, hence its 22˚ surface temperature.

        The only difference between the ocean and CO2 is in the frequency range between absorption and emission. For CO2 the frequency range is tiny and for the ocean the frequency range is huge, hence the temperature difference.

      • Anonymous said

        If absorptivity and emissivity are equivalent at radiative thermal equilibrium, then it matters not one iota what the value is, the resulting temperature of the thing will be the same. We can argue ad infinitum. Please somebody find me or do the experiment in space. Settle the aergument once and for all.

        • jinghis said

          Anonymous, did you miss the part about it NOT being in equilibrium? Or that there are no perfect blackbodies or reflectors?

          The whole climate debate is about the RATE and DIRECTION of the flux going through the system and it is constantly changing. And not only that, we can’t directly measure the flux, we have to calculate it.

        • Jeff Id said

          This is inaccurate. Emission is happening at different wavelengths than absorption and thus it is different.

  4. jinghis said


    I have performed your experiment, in grade school no less. The black body and mirrored surface have exactly the same temperature at equilibrium.

    But you have been tricked, same as I was for a long time. If you do the S-B equation the earths temp is apx 5˚ to 6˚C, exactly what the average temperature of the ocean is.

    Albedo has no effect on equilibrium temperatures, it changes the rate of flux, or in other words how long it takes to reach equilibrium.

    • Alan McIntire said

      The system you’re referring to is not just the blackbody and mirrored surface. It is the black body, mirrored surface, and surrounding air. Both the mirrored surface and blackbody ultimately reach equilibrium with the surrounding air, but in space, each would reach a different equilibrium based on their different absorption/reradiation rates.

      • jinghis said


        If absorption = emission, Kirchoff’s law, then at equilibrium they will be the same temperature in space.

        I think what confuses people, mostly climate scientists, is the rate and path of energy flux and that the system is NOT in equilibrium.

        In a gross but accurate generalization, shortwave radiation from the sun, enters the ocean warming the surface to an average 22˚ C, the energy then flows via evaporation (not radiation) into the atmosphere, where the energy is then radiated out to space, and at equilibrium, radiation out equals radiation in.

        But albedo changes the rate of flow, add a cloud and the ocean never gets the radiation, which results in cooling. Get rid of the clouds and the ocean gets very warm and ultimately the atmosphere warms.

        It is just that simple : )

      • Anonymous said

        It sounds simple, but there is only one right answer. I can’t find that anyone has done the mug simple experiment to prove it.

        • jinghis said

          Anonymous, there isn’t one right answer, that is the problem. All of the answers depend on on other variables, that change. There are no ‘constants’ to baseline against.

    • Jeff Id said

      Just to clarify, it was not my experiment.

  5. Jeff,

    “The very concept is so effed up that it even creates time paradoxes”

    Yes, but even when you point that kind of paradox out, it makes no difference, because they have not a clue what you are talking about. Arguments about the direction of time and causality are way beyond them.

    You will antagonize the truly lost with this post and invite their invective. But I don’t think it will make any difference… they are not going to suddenly become motivated to develop a better understanding of the basic concepts of science which they have never until now understood. It’s why I long ago almost stopped commenting at WUWT… there are too many people who either can’t or won’t understand basic stuff, and it is hopeless to try to convince them they are mistaken.

    Which is not to say there is not a lot of the same sort of behavior among the lunatic-fringe of CAGW supporters; you can’t impact their nonsensical thinking with reasoned explanations either. What I have gradually learned is that there are few people who participate in climate blog discussions who can make a reasoned technical contribution. It is best to identify those few and to carefully avoid interacting with those who are either, grossly uninformed, unhinged, or only trying to advance a political POV.

    • Jeff Id said

      “You will antagonize the truly lost with this post and invite their invective.” — possibly but I received some of that by email yesterday and had to let it out!

      It won’t make any difference to those who’s neural structure is too corrupted already but it might make a difference to readers on the edge of confusion.

      You are absolutely correct on all of this by the way. The time paradox can’t even be discussed with them because they don’t have the foundational knowledge. I like to throw it in there, because it is cathartic in that while stomping around saying others don’t understand, they haven’t even considered it. It does make me feel a little better. Reasoned explanations, even in the face of obvious problems with their own rationale don’t redirect them in my experience.

  6. omanuel said

    Thanks for your insight into human nature, Jeff:

    The Climategate discussions have confirmed a common human flaw: We all want to appear smarter than we really are. Citing the laws of thermodynamics are a convenient way to convey our message.

    In actual, factual fact – Earth’s heat source is a pulsar that made the chemical elements, birthed the solar system and still controls every atom, life and world in the solar system – including the climate of every planet in the solar system. Nobody wants to admit “we have been stupid,” so we reject or delete information that makes us uncomfortable and remain slaves.

    • omanuel said

      We quarrel, argue and debate the little lie: Anthropogenic CO2 causes global warming.

      After swallowing two giant falsehoods as settled science at the end of WWII:

      1. Astronomy textbooks that showed the interior of the Sun was mostly iron (Fe) in 1945 were changed to show the interior of the Sun is mostly hydrogen (H) in 1946

      2. Nuclear textbooks that showed nuclear stability was given by Aston’s “nuclear packing fraction” before WWII were changed to show Weizsacker’s “nuclear binding energy” Indicates nuclear stability after WWII.

      Both changes in the foundations of solar and nuclear physics are FALSIFIED by precise data.

    • omanuel said

      Climate skeptics continue to fight a battle they already won and the US NAS continues to use public funds to try to deceive the public: Time to change strategy.

      For seventy years (1945-2015), after the end of WWII, the US National Academy of Sciences has promoted lock-step consensus science that violated common sense, precise experimental data and observations, and the trust of the American people that the US NAS would use science to promote their safety and welfare.

      The US NAS instead used public research funds to deceive and enslave the public, and accepted no responsibility for past lies.

      The AGW debate is now over. All of the public funds the US NAS directed into the debate failed to make global temperatures follow atmospheric CO2 or squandered grant funds.

      The unending AGW debate is like the SSM debate over the origin of the solar system and its elements forty-fifty years ago in 1960-1975, when precise measurements and observations showed the solar system condensed directly from fresh, poorly-mixed supernova debris. A member of the US National Academy of Sciences claimed the data were instead produced by spontaneous fission of a superheavy element.

      There was no ambiguity in the debate published in Science magazine on 7 January 1977.
      _ a.) The Sun made our elements including “strange xenon” seen in meteorites, or
      _ b.) Spontaneous fission of a superheavy element made the “strange xenon” in meteorites

      The debate is over, just as the AGW debate is over, and NAS again seeks to walk away from the debate to deceive the public again.

      Let’s change strategy so it doesn’t happen again.

    • omanuel said

      Here is the “Superheavy Element Fission” debate the US National Academy of Sciences lost in 1977:

      “Strange xenon, extinct super-heavy elements, and the solar neutrino puzzle”, Science 195, 208-210 (1977):

      The US NAS never admitted defeat and went on to deceive again. We do not want the AGW debate to follow the same well-beaten path.

    • omanuel said

      Thanks, Jeff, for the key role you played in getting Climategate emails distributed in Nov 2008. You have played a key role in an important historical event.

      The story behind that revelation is almost as BIG as Max Planck’s recognition in 1944 of the MIND behind the force that sustains the MATRIX of all matter!

    • omanuel said

      Do you have an explanation for the “warm blob” of waters in the Pacific Ocean?

  7. Gary said

    If we could label those pesky photons like in a wildlife tag and recapture experiment, the silly 2nd Law arguments would be over.

  8. “accidental jackassissm” – I love it!

    Jeff, zero tolerance – it’s the only way. Once a new identity is discovered it is sewn up with the spam filter then ignored – email and blog. Repeat after me – “I will not be drawn into this idiot’s arguments”.

  9. phi said

    Because the surface temperature is also determined by factors other than radiative, thermodynamic must lead the way. What is not covered by this science is superfluous and causes confusion.

    Nothing changes… and everything is different.

    • blouis79 said

      The core of the physics problem is this:
      a. radiative thermal equilibrium determines the energy the earth (solid +gaseous) gains from the sun – this is only a radiation problem
      b. distribution of that energy between the earth and atmosphere will determine surface temperature – this is only a thermodynamics problem that exists even if the earth’s radiative heat gain/loss is constant on average

      The complexity of b causes weather with all of its unpredictable chaos.

      I am yet to see a good argument with experimental proof that changing any surface property of the passively heated spherical object can result in change in a. It this is true then we only need to dig out the white paint to solve global warming.

  10. page488 said

    As someone whose background was mostly in biology, the first thing I studied with respect to AGW was the botany with respect to the tree ring studies. I found the claims to be rather ludicrous on that basis, without much review of the chemistry or the physics, and without much current knowledge of statistics. It was a gut feeling based on a lot of stored knowledge.

    I went back and did a decent job of learning the chemistry, physics and the statistical methods – this blog was always a good starting point.

    I understand where you are coming from; it’s a shame that the un-learned push stupid stuff (sorry – I can’t find a more sophisticated expression), when the CAGW crowd make enough mistakes on their own.

    I guess most of us have no choice but to be in the “middle” of the politics because that’s where the science has deposited us.

    Always enjoy your blog. Cheers!

    • Jeff Id said

      ” that’s where the science has deposited us.”

      Love it. That’s exactly how it seems to me.

      • page488 said

        I’ve learned a lot from you, Jeff. Getting the chemistry, physics and biology back down was a cinch for me. But, I was really weak in statistics and you brought me up to date!

  11. tom0mason said

    IMHO so many Thermorons delight in evident pleasure of employing an idomatic use of a private onomasticon mixed with an excessive and redundant verbosity that encrypts their often turgid prose into an opaque knot of quasi-scientific but inextricable verisimilitude.
    Science — Make everything as simple as possible, but not simpler.

  12. “It is the mark of an educated man to look for precision in each class of things just so far as the nature of the subject admits; it is evidently equally foolish to accept probable reasoning from a mathematician and to demand from a rhetorician scientific proofs.”
    Aristotle.Nicomachean Ethics.(I.1094b24). c. 325 BC.

    “I would rather have questions we can not answer than answers we can not question.”
    Professor Richard Feynman. Not that long ago.

    Excerpt –
    What is the theory of man made global warming?

    The short answer to that seemingly simple question is that it is a scam. The biggest, most complex, and most successful, deliberate scam so far in human history.

    The take home messages that will be explained are –

    1) The difference between a physical law (which is merely a prediction) and a law of thermodynamics (which is a material fact).
    – A so called physical law is a simple and elegant, but unphysically calculated prediction. THAT is not a law at all. Such “physical laws”, ie, P/4, Black Body, Stefan Boltzman and Wien’s law, are merely predictions, whilst the Laws of thermodynamics actually ARE laws that always apply, and thus can be stated as simple facts. ie, the 2nd Law of thermodynamics is the fact that colder (or the same) can not heat (the same or) warmer.

    2) In reality energy can not be created, therefore in reality there CAN NOT be a greenhouse effect or “theory”.
    – The GH “theory” in any of the versions, or interpretations currently in use (heat flow, energy flow, or fluxes), HAS TO create energy for there to be a “working in reality theory” in the first place. Which invalidates the “theory”.

    3) Climate science has to start any explanation of how earth’s climate system works from a physical basis.
    – Climate science will have to (in the end) move from the current unphysical basis, based upon “physical laws” to a physical basis based upon and in accord with the known laws (of thermodynamics) and properties of physical matter (such as heat capacity), from which to study earth’s climate system from. Predictions of the result are not explanations of how the result was achieved.

    An introduction to the presentation.

    The old saying that “The complicated webs we weave when we try to deceive” is appropriate, in that, for many hearing that AGW is a scam is simply not enough for them to accept it is “just” a scam. With that in mind the presentation is intended to explain, as simply as possible, step by step, and point by point, how the (politically correct, politically funded, and for political purposes) scam is a (pseudo science) scam. Hopefully virtually anyone taking the time to read through the presentation will understand that AGW is, and know how AGW is a pseudo science scam.

    End of excerpt.

    This will be my one and only comment Jeff.

    • Jeff Id said

      The evil that is in the world almost always comes of ignorance, and good intentions may do as much harm as malevolence if they lack understanding. –Albert Camus

      Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance. — George Bernard Shaw

  13. hunter said

    While some notable thermorons are claiming to be skeptics, there are plenty of thermorons in the believer side. Here is a notable one posting recently:
    Notable when an associate professor states:
    “The Arctic and Antarctic ice sheets are acting as giant dampers to contain temperature rise in the oceans. When both of these ice sheets melt away in the next decade or so, the rise in both ocean and atmospheric temperatures will accelerate rapidly and demonstrate that the passing of the tipping points that Dunlop expresses concern about has, indeed, occurred.”….
    Associate Professor Maurie Trewhella, Victoria University
    Read it again. It is amazing in its stupidity, ignorance and deception.

  14. Andrew M. said

    I’m surprised that in the comments so far there has been no “naming of names” of repeat offenders of thermoronicity.

    I mean, if you’re looking for a concise laundry list of nonsensical objections to the foundations of climate science, the foundational delusions of ‘AlecM’ aka ‘spartacusisfree’ aka ‘mydogsgotnonose’ aka ‘turnedoutnice’ would have to be a shining example:
    That particular comment of his is under the pseudonym ‘spartacusisfree’ at August 5, 2012 at 12:59 pm.

    He’s gotten increasingly incoherent since then. I’ve never seen him say a single comment that made sense. And he’s all over the blogosphere. He’s still at it, last seen on Roy Spencer’s blog herejust a few days ago.

    You have to admire the persistence against overwhelming odds.

  15. John West said

    “like a bull in a china shop”

    Be a bovine truther!

  16. Andrew M. said

    Jeff, more thermoronism masqerading as climate skepticism at The Hockey Schtick:

    But you wouldn’t want to start a list of thermorons or you would be cataloguing half the climate blogosphere.

    I like the part where “the hot body must simultaneously eject a photon of the exact same wavelength/frequency/energy”. The amount of work assignment decisions and faster-than-light communication that must be happening inside these hot bodies must make them the most efficient bureaucracies in the world.🙂

    • Jeff Id said

      I left a comment there because the author (doug) refuted his entire post in his first response in the tread.

      Reading the commments, I’m, as usual, disappointed in peoples ability to understand the world they live in. It doesn’t even take serious thinking to figure out where that post goes wrong.

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