Understanding global warming ultimately gets down to understanding thermodynamics—the physics of what heat is and how heat flows.
We now observe in considerable detail that temperature, heat, and thermal radiation result from oscillation of all the bonds holding atoms and molecules of matter together. These bonds are not rigid. They are observed to oscillate back and forth at very high frequencies measured in trillions of cycles per second that we perceive as temperature.
But thermodynamics, as currently being taught in school at all levels, is based on ideas developed long before scientists understood what atoms are and how atoms are bonded together into molecules. Our current understanding of thermodynamics works reasonably well for engineering applications involving small differences in temperature, but fails catastrophically for climate studies where Sun’s temperature is 10,000 degrees Fahrenheit while Earth’s temperature averages only 59 degrees.
Currently, heat is defined as an amount of thermal energy in transfer. The greater the amount of heat you absorb, the hotter you become. It seems to make sense, but it sidesteps the issue of what heat actually is physically and how heat actually flows.
In 1900, Max Planck, one of the fathers of modern physics, was able to derive an equation by trial and error that calculates the observed amplitude of oscillation for each frequency of oscillation as a function of temperature of the radiating body. This equation, based on extensive measurements in the laboratory, became known as Planck’s empirical law.
Planck’s empirical law shows clearly that radiation from a warmer body of matter has greater amplitude of oscillation at each and every frequency of oscillation and has the greatest amplitudes of oscillation at higher frequencies of oscillation. This means that a body can only be warmed by absorbing radiation if that radiation comes from a warmer body. No body of matter can be warmed by its own radiation. If it could, we would have ample free energy.
Greenhouse-warming theory, however, assumes that greenhouse gases absorbing Earth’s radiation make Earth hotter in one way or another. Sorry, but that is not physically possible. Radiation from Earth does not contain the higher amplitudes of oscillation at every frequency of oscillation required to make Earth hotter.
Heat is what a body of matter must absorb to become hotter. There is no such physical variable as amount of heat in Planck’s empirical law. What changes is amplitude of oscillation at each and every frequency of oscillation. But how does amplitude of oscillation change?
Oscillating systems have three primary physical properties: frequency of oscillation, amplitude of oscillation, and resonance. Resonance, which is also known as sympathetic oscillation, is the observation that when two oscillators are oscillating at exactly the same frequency, the oscillator with the larger amplitude of oscillation is observed to share some of its amplitude of oscillation with the oscillator with the smaller amplitude of oscillation. In the simplest case, resonance averages the two amplitudes of oscillation.
The easiest way to understand resonance is to think about when you push a child on a swing. If you push at exactly the same frequency as the swing is swinging, the swing will oscillate at higher amplitude. Push at any other frequency and the swing will oscillate with lower amplitude.
Resonance is all around us. We see by resonance. We hear by resonance. We feel temperature by resonance. Heat flows via resonance occurring simultaneously at each and every frequency of oscillation.
Resonance plays the primary role in the flow of temperature. If you join two bodies of matter together that are identical in every way except temperature, the resulting temperature will be the average of the initial temperatures. Similarly, the amount of heat that flows at any moment is observed to be a function of the difference in temperature—a function of the average of current temperature and final temperature. Such averaging is done in Nature by resonance.
Greenhouse-warming theory is based on the concept of adding amounts of heat together and the idea that the less heat emitted to space, the warmer Earth must get. But heat is not additive. It makes no physical sense to add amounts of heat together. Heat is a very broad spectrum of frequencies of oscillation whose amplitudes of oscillation travel by averaging, not by adding.
We often hear that 97 percent of all publishing climate scientists agree that Earth is being warmed by increasing emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. But this consensus says nothing about physics. Climate scientists simply have not studied the physics of global warming since Knut Ångström showed in 1900 that there were problems. Physics shows clearly that heat simply cannot flow in the manner assumed by greenhouse-warming theory. Greenhouse gases cannot physically be the cause of global warming.
Dr. Peter Langdon Ward earned a PhD at Columbia University and worked 27 years at the United States Geological Survey as a geophysicist and group leader. He has worked full time in retirement, at his own expense, since 2006, carefully reexamining all the evidence and theories for why climate has changed throughout Earth history.