First Law of Thermodynamics

Did you know that there are only two (2) ways to increase a body’s temperature?  Indeed, there are only two ways to increase a body’s temperature.  One is with work, the other is with heat.

To repeat:  There are only two ways to increase a body’s temperature, and the first is with work being done on the body, and the second is with heat being sent to the body.  The 1st Law of Thermodynamics captures this.  This is all of the 1st Law!  All of it.  And it is written as

dU = dQ – dW,

where dU is the change in internal energy of a system, dQ is the heat entering the system, and dW the work done by the system.

Next, if we refer to the definition of heat

“Heat is defined as any spontaneous flow of energy from one object to another caused by a difference in temperature between the objects. We say that “heat” flows from a warm radiator into a cold room, from hot water into a cold ice cube, and from the hot Sun to the cool Earth. The mechanism may be different in each case, but in each of these processes the energy transferred is called “heat”.” – Thermal Physics

and thus that radiation from the cooler atmosphere does not send any heat (dQ) to the warmer surface, and that there is no dW (work) involved from the atmosphere to surface by radiation, then hence, the radiation from the cooler atmosphere cannot cause an increase in internal energy and hence temperature of the warmer surface.

That’s it.  That is all everything we and you and anyone needs to debunk the radiative greenhouse effect and climate alarm.

Ask anyone to use the actual first law of thermodynamics and the actual definition of heat, not an argument by analogy, to show how a cooler atmosphere can cause temperature increase on something warmer.  Hint:  It cannot be done.  The 1st Law cannot be used to demonstrate the existence of the RGHE.  Since the 1st Law captures what can exist, then what it cannot demonstrate does not exist.

The alarmist argument is simply making up a process using some arbitrary analogy that cleverly avoids any reference to an actual definition of heat and the First Law.  Why use analogies when you can just use the actual definition of heat and the First Law, after-all?  Why not use the real thing?  They do it (use analogies), of course, because the radiative greenhouse effect can only be explained with cockamamie analogies, and not with the actual fundamental thermodynamic definitions of heat, energy, and temperature.

All this other argument-by-analogy stuff is sophistry.  It is pseudoscience.  It is meaningless.  It is possible to say things which sound reasonable, but do not exist or correspond to reality.  Gödel proved that, if anyone needs a proof, but it is also plain and simple common sense and we call it “imagination” when seen in children.

This is the actual thermodynamic physics math involved, utilizing the real actual definition of things.  The analogies that are made up to trick your way around this are only word games…sophistry.  “Slowed cooling”, “backradiation”, etc., all that stuff, although it sounds like it should work, doesn’t.  How do we know?  Because of the 1st Law, and what two physical effects are required to increase a body’s temperature.

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28 Responses to First Law of Thermodynamics

  1. AfroPhysics says:

    Don’t expect libtards to understand “work” and “heat”. They avoid working and sweating like the plague.

  2. tom0mason says:

    One of the most prevalent misapplications of scientific language I see is the free exchange of heat and IR (Infra Red Radiation). This is a bugbear of mine. As far as I understand it —

    Infra red radiation is only a band of frequencies with the electromagnetic spectrum. It obeys all the laws pertaining to that field.
    Heat on the other hand is the effect of the action of vibrations of matter (a kinetic energy effect on the atomic/molecular scale). The thermal laws govern this effect. However, be aware that without matter there is no heat.
    Heat does not require IR radiation (you can heat matter by the application of mechanical work alone) but the action of IR radiation on matter can cause heat.
    Other loose words banded around are ‘cooling’ and ‘warming’ wrt IR, and oh what a tangled web of sophistry some people end up writing.

  3. George says:

    Joe, I have been going round and round with Eric Adler on Daily Caller. He wants to substitute IR radiation for heat when they are two different things. He and others are so wedded to the AGW nonsense that it is impossible to get through to them. Kudos to staying on the high ground with them over on DC. Keep up the good fight and God bless you!

  4. IR is only heat if it comes from a warmer source, and in that case it’s not just the IR but the whole portion of the spectrum which has more energy at each wavelength etc.

    Yes, they love using inaccurate terminology because it’s the more confused they make everything and the more work to debunk them. Realize they do it all on purpose. They don’t want clarity and definitions they want confusion and paradox and narrative, because within lies is where they live and the only way they continue to exist.

  5. markstoval says:

    Another good post Joe.

    I understand that the alarmists, leftists, politicians, and other evil doers want to control and bastardize the meanings of words to fool the public. Heat and work being two examples as you point out.

    What I don’t understand is how so many scientists in fields other than “climatology” let those guys get away with this CO2 delusion. Don’t scientists in other fields see how they are misusing the definition of words to pull a giant con game? Or are they that uneducated about this issue that may be one of the most expensive in the history of mankind?

    I just don’t understand.

  6. Gary Ashe says:

    Science is essentially is built on trust.
    This is the progressive post modern era of science, which has hijacked that trust, and bastadised a whole profession, eventually 2 whole decades of science papers all inter-linked by citing’s are going to have to be written off, abandoned in many of the ”post modern branch’s.
    The demise of science as trust worthy is solely to liberal activists masquerading as scientists, along with feminisation of the sciences, clever women are around 1 in 5 of clever people.
    Average intelligence women out number men 3 to 1, and dumb knuckle drag-gers, men out-number women by a factor of 2 or 3, the main problem for women is mathematics’s, they have great difficulty as a group with numbers.
    Men come in mainly above average or below average, heavily weighted toward each extremity, where woman all centre around the average intelligence.
    Iv’e been reading several psychology papers, interesting.
    I was trying to understand what makes lefties/liberals so open and blind to their Pavlovian conditioning by the Marxist’s, it is so complete the conditioning that these people will vote and vigorously defend those orchestrating their own cultural suicide.

  7. Paulus says:

    May I recommend listening to Flanders & swann ‘ Laws of thermodynamics’ Covers your post very well.

  8. DurangoDan says:

    The money masters control virtually all aspects of our lives including academia. Scientific Integrity has become another oxymoron. Great post Joe, but the bulk of humanity has intentionally been trained to be uneducable. Hopium is in short supply. Still I appreciate your persistence.

  9. Not sure why you went to moderation Gary. Will check settings later.

  10. arfurbryant says:

    The abuse of scientific integrity knows few bounds.

    This is a letter written to the Daily Telegraph this week:

    [“SIR – Christopher Booker is right to question whether busy airports provide suitable locations for weather stations, particularly for temperature extremes (“Nice heatwave, but June 1878 was hotter”, June 25).

    However, his historical analysis fails to mention that 57 per cent of worldwide highs were recorded since 2000, causing many thousands of fatalities. More than half the global population is likely to be at risk from deadly heat in the decades ahead.

    Reliable records of ocean warming have existed since the Sixties. These show that the seas are warming from surface to sea floor, soaking up almost all of the extra heat retained by greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Furthermore, the rate of the rise in the sea level is, unfortunately, accelerating – even if Mr Booker says it isn’t.

    Dr Phillip Williamson
    School of Environmental Sciences
    University of East Anglia, Norwich

    How many misleading statements or outright falsehoods is it possible for a ‘Doctor of Climate Science’ to write in one short letter?

    This is what gets into the MSM (Mainstream media). This is what kids see and this is what is taught in schools and openly supported in newspapers and tv. Are objective scientists just too scared to refute this nonsense?


  11. Dan Chilton says:

    Well, you missed the part about a closed system.
    Whats true in an isolated box is not true in an open system with energy streaming in and out.
    When you change the amount of energy streaming in from the outside, or out – TO the outside, you change the equilibrium temperature, the temperature it settles on after a time.

  12. Allen Eltor says:

    Objective ”scientists” are in fact afraid to refute it.

    Just imagine how the generation previous to yourself felt, trying to spread the word that that


    great government chemistry scam,

    ”Pot is Just Like Heroin”






    ‘ ‘ PROVE ‘ ‘ that POT is AS BAD for YOU as HEROIN and WORSE FOR YOU than METHYL AMPHETAMINE ‘ ‘
    Welcome to the Jungle.

  13. Allen Eltor says:

    ”trying to spread the word that that”- I meant to write that as

    ”of that other great government chemistry scam,” (being a hoax)

  14. Allen Eltor says:

    Seeing his name and the place, I went over there and found a thread where that therm-0-billy hick was barking his illucid, ”a cold bath dun made a rock git hoddurn’ if’n thair wurn’t noe bath, YaW!”

    Currently he’s gonna get back with us when he finds a single instance in all thermodynamics,
    when a light warmed rock,
    placed into a frigid thermally conductive light blocking bath,
    has it’s temperature go up
    as more and more insulation
    mixed into the bath,
    makes less light
    warm it.
    George says:
    2017/07/02 at 12:48 PM
    Joe, I have been going round and round with Eric Adler on Daily Caller.

  15. Dan Chilton: “When you change the amount of energy streaming in from the outside, or out – TO the outside”

    The only way to do that with radiation is by changing emissivity. If the emissivity of the surface or gas decreases then indeed there would be a rise in temperature. However, greenhouse gases do not decrease emissivity but are said to increase emissivity. An increase in emissivity leads to cooling. Meanwhile, the non-greenhouse gases of N2 and O2, which are 99% of the atmosphere, have very little to no emissive power at all and so in fact it is these gases that make themselves (99% of the atmosphere) be warmer than otherwise if they had higher emissivity like CO2.

    The science of the radiative greenhouse effect and climate alarm is totally incorrect.

  16. “What I don’t understand is how so many scientists in fields other than “climatology” let those guys get away with this CO2 delusion. Don’t scientists in other fields see how they are misusing the definition of words to pull a giant con game? Or are they that uneducated about this issue that may be one of the most expensive in the history of mankind?
    I just don’t understand.”

    1) No, they do not see how they are misusing the definitions. They’ve never critically considered it. They may even repeat the same things, and it simply slips past them that they are misusing definitions and contradicting other areas that they know full-well about.
    2) Yes, they are in fact mis-educated about this issue due to relentless propaganda. The problem is that the alarmist “cabal” has resources of a different type and an advantage over the lay-public and even many scientists in that they can manufacture the appearance of what they want people to think is “mainstream” through various media and funding vectors. If one defined “mainstream” not as that which you get told about via the media, but that which are the fundamental definitions and concepts in thermodynamics, physics, mathematics and logic, then this actual mainstream totally debunks climate alarm. Hence, the need to manufacture a false “mainstream”. The opposition dearly wishes to pretend that GHG theory and climate alarm are mainstream science, and they have largely succeeded in creating that appearance, but in all this time it is still only appearance because they cannot change the fundamentals of physics. On that later note, this is why we see them trying to change the definition of heat and when energy can act as heat, etc.
    3) I have come to understand. It is simply unconsciousness. It is going through life trusting that everything you see is true. It is believing in what you see on TV, and in your politicians. It is believing in science “celebrities” like those idiots Tyson and Nye etc. You do all this because it is fun and entertaining and makes you feel like you’re part of the world, part of what’s around you. It makes you feel like what exists, to identify with what exists. It is all a state of unconsciousness. To do anything different will make you feel like you’re not part of what exists, and few people want that. To some that comes naturally because perhaps you’ve always felt out of place…but most people here feel right at home, and never even consider thinking about it.

  17. markstoval says:

    @ Joseph

    Thanks. That was a very insightful reply. Much to think about there.

    Going though life just believing the “experts” and going along with group think. Yes, makes sense. In fact it reminds me of an ancient Sufi teaching story called “When the waters changed”.

    Once upon a time Khidr, the teacher of Moses, called upon mankind with a warning. At a certain date, he said, all the water in the world which had not been specially hoarded, would disappear. It would then be renewed, with different water, which would drive men mad.

    Only one man listened to the meaning of this advice. He collected water and went to a secure place where he stored it, and waited for the water to change its character.

    On the appointed date the streams stopped running, the wells went dry, and the man who had listened, seeing this happening, went to his retreat and drank his preserved water.

    When he saw, from his security, the waterfalls again beginning to flow, this man descended among the other sons of men. He found that they were thinking and talking in an entirely different way from before; yet they had no memory of what had happened, nor of having been warned. When he tried to talk to them, he realized that they thought that he was mad, and they showed hostility or compassion, not understanding.

    At first, he drank none of the new water, but went back to his concealment, to draw on his supplies, every day. Finally, however, he took the decision to drink the new water because he could not bear the loneliness of living, behaving and thinking in a different way from everyone else. He drank the new water, and became like the rest. Then he forgot all about his own store of special water, and his fellows began to look upon him as a madman who had miraculously been restored to sanity.

    The moral of that story to me has always been that men are weak and would rather be accepted than be right.

  18. Yes and that’s an easy thing to manipulate isn’t it. These disgusting bastards. It’s such a fatal flaw. We can accept flat earth physics for the sake of belonging.

  19. Peter D Gardner says:

    The answer to your question “Did you know that there are only two (2) ways to increase a body’s temperature?” is yes, I read Engineering at Cambridge University and, If I recall correctly, this in the first lecture or two on Thermodynamics in first year.
    But it does not debunk the CAGW alarmism. It can be debunked, but not by merely asserting the First law.
    Because the system is Sun (very hot) – heat transfer – earth (comfortable) – heat transfer – space (horribly cold). The equilibrium temperature of earth depends on its respective heat flows in from the sun and out to space. If the heat through flows through earth are equal and opposite, earth is in equilibrium. First Law satisfied without having to define what the equilibrium temperature actually is.

    [JP: Heat is not the or a conserved quantity, in this situation or anywhere. Energy is conserved, but heat isn’t. Heat is energy but energy is not always heat. You should know this distinction, but many people never took this away from their thermodynamics lectures. You are setting yourself up to conclude something wrong by getting your starting premises wrong by assuming that heat is a conserved quantity. It’s not. Now let’s see where this leads.]

    Other things being equal, the net heat flow into or out of the earth depends on the properties of the earth (including its atmosphere and any process in earth as a whole that converts energy into heat or from heat to another form of energy (dW). The CAGW argument is that these properties or heat conversion processes are being changed by human activity such that the temperature of the surface where humans, animals and plants live and interact is rising dangerously. Let’s not attempt to define dangerous here since it is not relevant to my point.
    So suppose the sun causes heat inflow to earth to increase. Earth’s equilibrium temperature would rise until its outflows are equal in magnitude. First law is still satisfied, even if the change takes a very long time to transition to the new equilibrium temperature. Now suppose earth’s properties change such as to alter either heat in or heat out.

    [JP: Here we go…we’re starting into getting something wrong. You’re discussing heat but you should be discussing energy.]

    It doesn’t matter what the mechanism is, there will be a dQ, + or -. Therefore the temperature of the surface of the earth will increase or decrease until, possibly in combination with other processes dQ returns to zero. Result: earth hotter or cooler and First Law satisfied. This is true whether the time period from disturbance to equilibrium is minutes, years, decades or centuries.
    Like all dynamic systems it will have natural frequencies at which small disturbances cause large disturbances. Over complete cycles, the First Law is satisfied. At any point in the cycle the actual surface temperature of the earth can be far from the equilibrium temperature.

    Sorry, but the First Law is NOT sufficient to debunk CAGW. Asserting that it does, only damages your credibility. One can debunk CAGW but not like this.

    [JP: OK, you’re not stating anything that anyone doesn’t understand around here, although you are erroneously referencing heat when you should be referencing energy. Your argument should say that if the properties of the Earth change so that less energy is output, then it will increase in temperature until the energy absorbed equals the energy emitted. No problems.

    That being said, GHG’s aren’t said to decrease the energy leaving the system, but increase the energy leaving the system. By erroneously equating this energy to heat, the RGHE alarmist argument then thinks that this will cause the surface to warm. That’s wrong. It can’t heat the surface since it is cooler than the surface. The increased emissivity of GHG’s would have to cool the system because they increase the amount of energy leaving the system.

    The 1st Law is relevant here in the context of the mechanism of the RGHE, which is the usual context here. The RGHE claims that radiation from the cooler source can cause a temperature increase on a warmer source. The only way for that to work would be if that radiation could act as heat, in accordance with the 1st Law. Said radiation cannot act as heat, therefore the 1st Law rejects the RGHE.]

  20. Peter D Gardner says:

    There is a lot of nonsense in the comments here. Just one example: “IR is only heat if it comes from a warmer source … ”
    That is bollocks. IR is not heat, full stop. It is radiative energy in all circumstances. Period.
    I can hear you all shouting “just go and stand in front of that black radiator and feel the heat’.
    Yes I would feel the heat but not because IR is heat. It would be because of the effect electromagnetic radiation has on the tissues of my body. The radiated energy is absorbed by the tissues. dQ is the amount of energy absorbed and the temperature of my tissues rises in accordance with the First Law of Thermodynamics. The radiated energy has been converted by my tissues to heat. The amount absorbed depends not only on the wavelength and amplitude of the IR but also on the properties of the body absorbing them. Some bodies don’t absorb any, even if they are cooler than the body emitting the IR.

    [JP: We all know this here and agree. IR isn’t generally heat just like any EMR isn’t heat. EMR in general is only heat if it comes from a warmer source. The original reference was to IR but we all know that it applies to all EMR. The IR component of all EMR is only energy as heat (along with the rest of the EMR) if it is coming from a warmer source, and then further, only the quantity of EMR which is greater than the flux of the receiver body.]

    Turn up the IR and my body tissues may burn. Burning is signalled to my brain as heat plus pain (algedonic loop) because dear old brain and its sensors have a limited range of signals. It does not know whether it is caused by IR, a wasp sting or an ant bite. It is only this bit of tissue is being excessively stimulated and damage. Change the wavelength of the radiation and it may pass through my skin without absorption and damage internal organs that do not signal their response to my brain at all. They just quietly break down or grow cancers. I won’t feel a thing at the time. Press on my eyeballs and I don’t see force, I see stars because my eye signals the visible part of the electromagnetic spectrum, not IR, to my brain which I have learned as colours and intensity.
    Stick a pan of water over an induction stove top. the water heats up and boils but the surface of the ‘hotplate’, never gets warmer than the bottom of the pan. When the water boils, the temperature is constant, yet more energy is transferred by electric induction even though the ‘hot plate’ remains at the same temperature as the bottom of the pan. Take the pan away and even if left switched on, the ‘hot plate’ cools quickly to hand hot because it cools from only 100 deg C rather than 400 or 500 down to 50 or whatever you find comfortable (by radiation and conduction but this is not relevant).

  21. Allen Eltor says:

    Thanks Mark Stoval a most e x c e l l e n t parable.

  22. I’m not a scientist whatsoever, but today I was thinking about boiling water in my kettle. I thought about how the temperature of the water is determined by the hot plate in the kettle, and how more water requires more time to heat up, but also more time to cool down. But adding more water to the kettle could not make the water hotter…

  23. geran says:

    “I’m not a scientist whatsoever….”

    You may not claim to be a scientist, but you just shot another hole in the GHE “theory”, with a little common sense.

  24. Also, adding more heat to the kettle does not cause the water to get hotter; it causes the water to boil faster to dissipate the added heat faster, right?

    Along these lines, then, can we reasonably ask whether Earth has a “boiling point” (so to speak), given the constraints of atmospheric composition, gravity, and solar input, past which it cannot get any hotter?

  25. Rosco says:

    I just don’t get how any of these “experts” who use their peculiar “1st law” analysis can be so blind, or insulting in their smugness.

    It is obvious that their “1st law” concerning energy balance is wrong !

    Energy in does not always equal an increase in temperature – I would have thought they may have taken note of some basic science in primary and high school and some well noted observations from real life.

    The list of examples where energy is absorbed without an necessitating any increase in temperature is endless.

    The photo-electric effect, the generation of a digital image in a digital camera – how does anyone think the SB Law applies to these ?

    What about something as common as glass – >90% transparency to wavelengths up to between 2 and 4 microns then greater than 90% absorption thereafter – how does anyone think the SB Law applies to this ?

    It may apply to the emission from the glass due to its temperature but there is no way ANY so-called “1st law” analysis based on energy in = energy out can be applied.

    No matter how much energy is “pumped” in the temperature of water under natural situations will never exceed 100°C and Ethanol will never exceed 72°C. Move those liquids to altitude with lower atmospheric density and the boiling point lowers substantially.

    Solar radiation powerful enough to heat desert surfaces to 70°C NEVER causes the oceans to rise above the low to mid 30’s – the oceans just keep evaporating away.

    It takes enormous energy input to melt solids without increases in temperature – similarly for vapourisation.

    Liquids and gases are “free” to convect and this alone should cause one to at least consider if the laws of radiation based on the observations of the cavity oven experiments apply to substances with a degree of freedom that was not observed in these experiments – Planck himself said it is not valid to apply these laws where convection is observed.

    Besides this, these laws are based on observations of continuous spectral emissions – gases never emit continuous spectra. It was this line spectra emission that Bohr used to postulate his electron orbital theory and the electro-magnetic energy emitted when an electron dropped from a higher level to a lower one formed the basis for the emission of a photon theory.

    Applying any physical law based on observation of a defined set of characteristics to things that never exhibit those characteristics certainly seems like pseudoscience to me.

  26. MarcusR says:

    thus that radiation from the cooler atmosphere does not send any heat (dQ) to the warmer surface, and that there is no dW (work) ”

    But………. Radiation at a given wavelength/freq does not care where it originated, nor does it care where it is going.

    [JP: But the object receiving the photon cares, and knows, what the photon is. This is why heat transfer is only at the boundary of the cooler object. Energy from a cooler source cannot warm a warmer object.]

    This is one of the major misunderstandings in the article, but I think I know where it is coming from.

    [JP: The misunderstanding is yours, in thinking that all energy can act as heat, and as if an object receiving energy does not interact with that energy given its own energy state.]

    If we speak about conduction the flow of “heat” it is quite clear; it flows from hot to cold. Period. For some reason that has lead to the same conclusion regarding thermal IR being absorbed/emitted from a CO2 molecule (the latter is my interpretation though). But that is NOT (sorry for the caps) the case !! Now, besides not mixing heat and radiation, enter the complexity of atmospheric radiation…

    [JP: Heat transfer has modes which are all governed by the same force, electromagnetism, and all modes follow the same laws. Heat cannot flow from cold to hot by radiation, just as it cannot by conduction. In conduction there are cooler molecules which bounce back towards the warm side, but yet heat doesn’t flow back to the warm side.]

    I am not trying to be obnoxious here, but lets consider the following example. An emitted photon at 15 um for instance can hit a CO2 molecule thus exiting it to a higher energy level with the principles I posted before (given that the CO2 molecule isn’t already exited which I dopn’t think was mentioned in that link..). Lets also assume that the specific CO2 molecule does not transfer it’s increased energy to another molecule in the atmosphere thus increasing the recipients kinetic energy level… When the CO2 molecule is de-exited, it will then emit the absorbed energy in a photon going in a totally random direction.

    [JP: A direction also including to space. Thus, CO2 can shed energy out of the atmosphere whereas the rest of the atmospheric gases cannot. Thus, GHG’s would have to cool the atmosphere.]

    If we assume that this photon gets back to earth, and the earth does not reflect it, the energy of that 15 um photon will be absorbed by the earth.

    [JP: Nice assumptions. See above because it wrecks where you’re trying to go with this. It doesn’t get absorbed in any manner that can lead to heating/warming.]

    It is an extremely small amount of energy (0,082653… eV ~ 1,32462 e-20 J). But it is energy nonetheless ! Does that contradict the thermodynamics first principle ? No. Energy is neither created, nor destroyed. It has only changed form.

    [JP: Yes it does contradict, because not all energy can raise temperature.]

    The above is a huge, huge simplification, and there are probably thoose working with Climate Science, Radiation Physics, quantum mechanics etc saying that I am making way to many shortcuts. But saying that the greenhouse effect contradicts the first principle of thermodynamics (the energy principle) is simply wrong.

    [JP: Heat does not flow from cold to hot, and heat is what is required to raise temperature. Hence I win.]

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