Monday, February 29, 2016

Does oxygen in the vacuum of space absorb IR Radiation?

The key assumption of climate science (to both proponents and skeptics of manmade climate change) is N2 and O2 – the non greenhouse gases; constituting 99% of the dry atmosphere – do not absorb or emit IR radiation.  In space, there is only radiation to transfer heat energy. If it is true for the vacuum of space, then it must be true for the atmosphere. Space is the place to test that premise. 
I have asked three expert physicists (two of them ex-Professors of chemistry, and one of them a climate skeptic) and they all suggest, tentatively, they must. I don't think anyone has thought about it before. The thought experiment came to me while watching Apollo 13  - they 'vented' O2 gas into space. NASA, we’ve got a problem. 
I can imagine a molecule of O2 (and or N2) warming, gaining energy as it gets nearer the sun, and cooling when farther from the sun. They must, otherwise they defy
thermodynamics.  
Besides this, in thermal radiation theory, all substances are said to radiate infrared; if N2 and O2 don't, then there is a contradiction. 

So where have we gone wrong?
It is instrumentation: we have been using an instrument that uses thermopile detectors. These thermopiles discriminate both N2 and O2 as – due to N2 and O2 lack of a symmetric/ non electric dipole moment – they do not generate electricity via the Seebeck effect and so are not measured; while CO2, CH4, H2O, and the others (the so called greenhouse gases, but really should be called the thermoelectric gases) – do and are.

I have discovered N2 and O2 both have vibration modes in the IR range of the electromagnetic spectrum, at 2330cm-1 and 1556 cm-1 respectively, and these vibrational modes can both be clearly observed by using a Raman Spectrometer.
There’s where we have gone wrong.
She followed my reasoning.
My Professor friend asked me: 'why are you asking these questions Blair?' I replied: isn’t that what science is about?

Here is a clip of my discoveries. 



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