Sunday, January 20, 2019

The Ghost Photons

Fig. 1 Let's Not Be Too Expansive
I. Where Da Thermo At?

In my last post I wrote about those who have not yet figured out that ocean heat content (OHC) and ocean heat flux (OHF) are about thermodynamics in general and potential enthalpy in particular (The Warming Science Commentariat - 13).

Thermodynamics must be respected if the research or subsequent paper is to be respectable.

"[Classical Thermodynamics]  is the only physical theory of universal content which I am convinced will never be overthrown, within the framework of applicability of its basic concepts" (Albert Einstein, cf. Water Structure and Science).

Two fundamentals concerning the nature of water are generally ignored in the OHC/OHF discourse of the Warming Science Commentariat (WSC).

One is the half-truth that water always expands when heat is added to it.

That is a half-truth because water also shrinks when heat is added to it.

In the real world of thermodynamics that Einstein was quoted on just above, whether water expands or contracts when heat is added to it depends on the temperature of the water when that heat is added (Fig. 1).

When the water temperature in question is less than the maximum density temperature (4 deg. C for fresh water, less for seawater) adding heat moves the water's density toward its maximum density.

In other words, adding heat will shrink (condense) that mass-unit of water; and if you remove heat from that mass-unit of water it will expand.

Only when the water's temperature is at or above the maximum density temperature will water expand if heat is added (Fig. 1).

II. The Zeroth Law & The Second Law

The "zeroth" law of thermodynamics is even more applicable to OHC and OHF than the popular half-truth mentioned above in Section I:
"The Zeroth Law of Thermodynamics states that two bodies in contact
Fig. 2 H2O obeys the Laws of Thermodynamics
will come to the same temperature

The Second Law of Thermodynamics tells us about the direction of processes ... a hot coffee gets colder if it is let to stand—it never gets hotter
There is only one way in which the entropy of a supposedly closed system can be decreased, and that is to transfer heat from the system ...
(Water Structure and Science, cf. Science of Doom). The long and short of it is that hot flows to cold, warmer flows to cooler, and OHC & OHF are governed by the laws of thermodynamics.

The fact that heat entering the ocean will eventually and spontaneously flow in the direction of any cooler water it makes contact with, until equilibrium is attained, is also forgotten or ignored in current oceanography discourse.

The stars of the OHC & OHF show are ocean currents, and in Hollywood science the stars steal the show.

III. The Infrared Photons 

But what if two bodies like the Sun and the Earth are not in physical contact, what happens between them in terms of temperature and heat?

Fig. 3 OHC & OHF @ Equatorial Hadopelagic
Radiation via photons "happens" between them.

Like the ghost water and the ghost plumes, the photons (the quanta of electromagnetic radiation) do not appear (are unseen) in the bulk of the WSC literature.

And those photons are unseen in the deep ocean waters where visible light (photons in the "visible" spectrum) is generally absent, nevertheless in those deep dark regions photons of the infrared spectrum spontaneously flow from warmer molecules to cooler molecules of seawater, whether observed or not (Fig. 2).

I repeat: that flow of the photons in the infrared spectrum is spontaneous, i.e., not caused by the advent of external energy.

That flow of photons is also invisible to the human eye which sees only photons of the visible spectrum (red up to violet).

But that flow is not invisible to instruments used in oceanography to measure the temperature and heat changes as the infrared photons move from place to place (Fig. 3).

The photons are good citizens, so the relevant laws of thermodynamics are obeyed even when no one is watching.

IV. Closing Comments

Regular readers know that I have been proving, and then using, what the experts have been urging us to do in the study of OHC and OHF.

For example, one expert that has spoken loud and clear has pointed out:
"These results prove that potential enthalpy is the quantity whose advection and diffusion is equivalent to advection and diffusion of “heat” in the ocean. That is, it is proven that to very high accuracy, the first law of thermodynamics in the ocean is the conservation equation of potential enthalpy ... A new temperature variable called “conservative temperature” is advanced that is simply proportional to potential enthalpy ... present ocean models contain typical errors of 0.1°C and maximum errors of 1.4°C in their temperature because of the neglect of the nonconservative production of potential temperature. The meridional flux of heat through oceanic sections found using this conservative approach is different by up to 0.4% from that calculated by the approach used in present ocean models in which the nonconservative nature of potential temperature is ignored and the specific heat at the sea surface is assumed to be constant."
"(Potential Enthalpy: A Conservative Oceanic Variable for Evaluating Heat Content and Heat Fluxes, emphasis added; cf. Fig. 3). Those concepts are now in the official software and documents of the Thermodynamic Equation Of Seawater - 2010 (TEOS-10).

These concepts have been fully adopted by the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission.

So WSC, it is time for you to get out there and bust the ghost.

The next post in this series is here.

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