Settling the Climate Debate With Quantum-Based Raman Spectroscopy


I wrote the following for Principia Scientifica upon submitting my paper on Raman spectroscopy for review. 

Written by Blair Macdonald

Premise, premise, conclusion: this is the foundation of deductive reasoning and that of the scientific method. If one of your premises collapses; so too should your theory – and with it sometimes your paradigm.

With greenhouse theory, it seems to me we focus on and argue over its conclusions and its effects, and not enough or at all on its premises.

By ‘we’ I mean all of science, both sides of the great debate. The proponents of greenhouse theory strongly claim that at its foundations ‘the science is settled’ and need not – based on principles of fundamental physics –  be questioned.

Greenhouse theory is underpinned by a special group of trace gases – of which carbon dioxide (CO2) is a part – that are together claimed to be the only gases to absorb and emit (longwave) infrared (IR) radiation. This ‘forcing’ property that they all share is claimed to determine climate on all time scales, and presumably weather too –  though the weather is not claimed, interestingly, as such.

The problem for me is this group of trace gases leaves the remaining of the dry atmosphere not emitting and absorbing infrared radiation – at any temperature, and this is a catastrophe.  This claim contradicts the axioms of thermodynamics and quantum mechanics – the principles atomic theory is built upon – and it is not, and should not be allowed.

All matter above absolute zero Kelvin – by these axioms – is assumed to radiate infrared photons. What is more, the two gases – nitrogen and oxygen (N2 and O2) – both have heat capacities – a measure of the ability of a substance to gain heat energy – so they do gain and transfer heat energy, but how if they don’t radiate?

It can’t be by thermal conduction as both are extremely poor thermal conductors, as are all the atmospheric gases, with values close to zero – 0.024 (W.m-1.K-1).  That leaves only convection – but it relies to some extent on the other transfers. There must be more to it?

If we think we have a problem with making sense of quantum mechanics and similarly the behaviour of the Universe (we do) ; well, it appears we should also have a problem with the atmosphere too – and we should be asking questions. Talk about ‘spooky action’!

This premise puts these two molecules in the same realms of cosmology’s ‘dark energy’ and ‘dark matter’ where they too are equally assumed not to – paradoxically – interact with light. Something must be wrong? Something must give? But, if something is to give; is it going to be quantum mechanics? No. So, that leaves only our understanding of the radiating atmosphere.

As a consequence of this misconceived premise, I think climate science has been led down a road of exploitation and extrapolation to such an extent it now resembles, to use an example, ‘woo’ or pseudo-science quantum mechanics – which is parasitic and bears no comparison to its classical textbook interpretation.

As a response to the current ensuing debate over its effects, I have done the unthinkable: over the last five years or more I have looked into these foundations – the first principles of elementary physics and chemistry – and into what makes these greenhouse gases so special.

From what I have found I have concluded the physics used is contradictory and incomplete: what we think we know – in light of quantum physics – is outdated and all wrong.

In this article, I would like to share my findings with you. It was a massive exercise for me; piecing together understood and practical physics – what is all out there in the public domain – towards a coherent understanding, a new theory of the atmosphere.

Raman Spectroscopy | Science Facts

I recently posted my findings in two working papers; the first I titled – deliberately, to provoke the necessary attention I think this issue demands: ‘Quantum Mechanics and Raman Spectroscopy Refutes Greenhouse Theory; and the second The Greenhouse Gases and Infrared Radiation Misconceived by Thermoelectric Transducers.

In them, I have posited and concluded greenhouse theory – along with it radiation theory – by modern laser-based instruments appears to be incomplete and is wrong. And I offered a solution.

Let me start with quantum mechanics. When I used this term in my title, I want to make it clear, I implied no – to use the term again – ‘woo’ quantum mechanics; where we all hold hands and observe each other and the world’s a better place for it.

No, to the contrary; this is the real, not weird, the ‘shut up and calculate’ quantum mechanics – the solid one. The one that is said to have changed our world by telling us what we are made of.

You see, not only does all matter radiate, but it does so only at specific immutable positions throughout the electromagnetic spectrum Рtermed emission spectra. It is quantum mechanics that explains these atomic and molecular emission spectra, and it is quantum mechanics Рat least in part by the Schr̦dinger equation no less Рthat predicts and measures the respective positions of these spectra, and in so doing answering that question of what we and the universe are made of.

As greenhouse theory is taught today N2 and Oare dismissed as IR absorbers, so my first question was: do ‘the 99{154653b9ea5f83bbbf00f55de12e21cba2da5b4b158a426ee0e27ae0c1b44117}’ not have IR spectra? The answer I found set me on my path of investigation. Yes, they do.

I discovered N2 and O2 do each have spectra at wavenumbers (positions within the infrared range of the electromagnetic spectrum that correspond frequency) of 2338 cm-1 and 1556 cm-1 respectively –  as shown in the table below along with the other gases of the atmosphere. Get to know these numbers; tattoo them, they are real and they will come up throughout this article.

This table may look confusing at first, but it is a basic taxonomy of the infrared spectra of the atmosphere – give or take a few, and it reveals patterns of causality. Argon is absent from the table as it does not – interesting for me – have predicted spectra that I could find, and it appears to be neither IR nor Raman-active. Equally, it is not considered to be greenhouse gas either.

Spoiler alert!  When you see the term Raman here it pertains to a method of detection of these spectra and the significance of them is the topic of this article and all will be revealed in good time.

When expert chemists – away from the topic of greenhouse theory – talk and write on this topic of IR and Raman spectroscopy – the study of (infrared) light and how it interacts with matter – they (correctly) claim all of the predicted infrared emission spectra, whatever the type, ‘are effectively the same’.

In terms of vibrational quantum mechanics, they all – whether by ‘Raman’ or ‘IR’ instruments – emit and absorb, and these instruments are complementary; they work together to build our picture of the infrared.

If this is right, then there can be no ‘special’ absorbing greenhouse gases; but, by greenhouse theory, the greenhouse gases are directly claimed to be determined by their special unique spectra type alone – and that is what makes them different.

The Raman spectra are totally discriminated against and dismissed; ‘they do not absorb’ – that is that. So, what has gone wrong here? Why the discrimination and extrapolation thereof?

To answer this, in my second paper I hypothesised it is our definition of greenhouse gases that is wrong. The detail of the – just mentioned – ‘special unique spectra type’ of greenhouse gases is that these spectra have electric dipole moments. I argued the converse, and that this is where we are wrong; that we detect these gases because they have an electric dipole moment.

It is not the gases that are special; it is the instruments we detect them with – by their dipole moment – that are special. With ‘helio’ and ‘geocentric universe’ in mind; this is a totally opposite perspective. It wouldn’t be the first time someone has done that – it is the stuff of science.

To go further with this, we need to look at the spectra types and how they are determined and measured in detail. One only needs to look at the spectra – in the table – and their respective vibration types to see why there is a pattern pointing to my explanation of the demarcation between the so-called ‘IR spectra’ and so-called ‘Raman’ spectra.

There are two basic vibrational ‘mode’ types (as shown): a group of asymmetric types and a single symmetric type. The asymmetric types include the ‘wag’, ‘bend’ and so on and all share – here we go – electric dipole moments from their vibrations.

The symmetric type does not share this electric dipole; and for – at least – greenhouse theory, this is how it is explained they do not absorb and emit IR photons. So it is right there where Raman-active modes are struck out.

By an interesting coincidence – this is my point, I don’t think it is a coincidence – the asymmetric ‘electric dipole’ types are the only types that are detected or inferred by thermo-electric transducers –  so-called IR detectors. Hence, I think the detectors are special.

These transducers convert IR radiation into electricity or an electro-motive force (emf) directly via the Seebeek Effect or its derivatives of it. The transducers come in many different types themselves, but they all give the same discriminatory readout – they do not measure the symmetric (Raman) modes.

Importantly, to greenhouse theory all of the transducers are of a lineage or kin that can be traced back to the earliest 19th-century type, the thermopile; the type used by John Tyndall in 1859 to first derive the special greenhouse gases. And yes, they are the technology behind thermal imaging cameras – the instrument that produces thermograms and our general visual understanding of the infrared.

I see these IR transducers (I call them that) like radio wave receivers – which are also transducers – only they receive infrared waves or signals and not radio waves from an object or its molecule. It should be obvious now that not all spectra transmit a signal that can be received – and if they do, they are sometimes weak. I could talk about emissivity here; but I won’t –  maybe later.

Building on this discovery; in my second paper, I have claimed IR spectrometers infer – correctly so – the spectra with thermoelectric (electric-dipole) properties. From this, I further claimed – deduced from the table – that Tyndall really only discovered the thermoelectric gases and not the special greenhouse gases he thought and we still think they are.

Looking at the history of spectroscopy also supports my case. The IR spectra get their dominant name – that covers all infrared spectra –  I think because, for a long time, there was only one technology to measure IR spectra – it was thermopiles and the like – so since they were the first to measure ‘IR’ radiation, and there was no other instrument or knowledge at the time, they get the name.

The other (Raman) spectra were there – predicted, but there was no technology to measure them. This evolution in technology and the thermoelectric paradigm (my words) has direct implications for our current understanding of what are greenhouse gases and greenhouse theory.

In light of the advent of Raman laser technology, they should be termed thermoelectric (or TE) spectra; and its field of spectroscopy, thermoelectric spectroscopy. Tyndall in the mid-19th Century did not have the laser instrument I will next talk about or even the quantum knowledge to know he needed one.

Atoms, the work of Planck, and the ‘birth’ quantum mechanics – it itself owing its origin to the thermoelectric thermopile derived blackbody spectrum –  was all yet to come.

Had he had this new (Raman) spectrometer and used it in conjunction with his instrument, he would have concluded differently, and we would not have the discrepancy and debate we currently have. This sounds like a conclusion, but it is not – I am only getting started. It is now time  – finally –  for me to introduce and talk about the Raman Spectrometer – the title of this article.

To detect the symmetric spectra types we need to turn to the modern Raman Spectrometer and Raman Spectroscopy – the other term I used on my first paper and hence the term Raman.   Get to know it; it will change things.

This instrument can ‘see’ or measure by inference the spectra ‘IR spectrometers’ cannot – hence the name ‘Raman-active’ spectra. The ‘Raman’ pertains to the Raman Spectrometer – a modern laser-based instrument that exploits the Raman (scattering) effect to detect these special spectra. Raman is said to be part of the quantum revolution – it was known early on that it had the potential to identify spectra in support of this new field.

From the Raman scattering signal the instrument retrieves from the gas samples it can also determine the concentrations of all the gases together (see the Venusian atmosphere figure below), and it can also tell us – inextricably, again by quantum mechanics –  the temperature of the gases to a high degree of accuracy. They say don’t mess with quantum mechanics; they are right.

By Raman spectroscopy, we have temperature measurements of a molecule, and thus – by Planck’s radiation Law – we have radiation, and we have their spectra positions – both emission and absorption; this all from molecules (or spectra) that are claimed by greenhouse theory not to be able to do just that.

The Raman-active spectra are the sole constituents of the non-greenhouse gases – and this includes helium. If they weren’t and had an asymmetric spectra instead – or too, they too would – following my ‘emf’ argument – be greenhouse gases. COfor instance has a Raman spectra at 1338 cm-1 and its temperature, from that spectra, can be measured by Raman; correlating with its other two ‘IR’ spectra measurements.

Further to this, some spectra can show themselves by both ‘IR’ and Raman instruments – denoted in purple colour in the table and figure below. For instance, both can measure all of H2O’s spectra – a greenhouse gas in its vapour phase – particularly its 3652 cm-1 spectra. The measurement of this spectra line is so perfect both ‘IR’ and Raman can exquisitely measure the temperature from either instrument independently – this fact I will return to as supporting evidence to one of my claims later. They are, as I and others have claimed, ‘equivalent’.

Aside from what I am revealing this instrument can do, ‘Raman’ is known as one the most exciting instruments of our time and this is clear from the rise of Youtube scientific demonstrations of it. They are the stuff of CSI – crime scene investigation – as they reveal what something is; and they are used in numerous places including gas leakage monitoring and aviation ‘Clear Air Turbulence’ (CAT) detection I have reference to one directly able to measure CO2 concentrations from a motorway one kilometre away.

To physicists and chemists Raman Spectroscopy is a well-known complement instrument to IR spectroscopy. incert clip

I argue it is not only a complement to IR spectroscopy, but it is also its near substitute.  Just look at the (NASA) Raman spectra measurements of the Venusian atmosphere: it shows all the gases are there with their respective concentrations.

If Raman (IR) spectroscopy is good enough for planet Venus, it should be good enough for planet Earth? And it is. I have papers confirming Raman is capable of measuring the Earth’s greenhouse gas concentration – the Keeling curve; and it may well be doing so in the near future, if not so already.

If this is so, then it should be known; that it is doing so using laws of physics that contradict the theory and the very reason we are measuring the concentrations.

One of the rebuttals I received during the research of my paper – these rebuttals helped me no end to develop my work –  pointed to my use of the term Raman. When they – PhDs and Professors –  saw I used the word Raman, they – relentlessly in an act of ‘red herring’ – dismissed my discoveries and attempted to educate me on how the atmosphere is not heated by the Raman (scattering) effect – something I did not claim.

It was argued: ‘I was confusing Raman Spectroscopy with the Raman effect and it has no part to play in greenhouse theory’. I addressed this as a fallacy and responded:

‘this spectrometer shines a laser of arbitrary colour through the atmosphere and exploits the Raman effect to infer the quantum predicted spectra lines of the sample gas – or any other matter’.

Another important rebuttal I received and addressed was couched: while N2 and O2 do radiate at the said spectra lines – I was granted this, but only after I first revealed it (‘moving the goal-posts) – they do so only by a very small factor as their spectra positions lie outside and between the maximum positions on curves (curves ‘b and b’ in the following figure).

They are said to therefore not absorb – fully – as their output is effectively modulated (my words) by the Sun’s and Earth’s Blackbody Spectrum.

This rebuttal set me back for a time until I researched and discovered these Blackbody curves are – also and again –  a direct derivation of thermoelectric thermopiles and their kin; the same transducers that derived and still derive the greenhouse gases.

To refute this rebuttal I used what I had discovered (covered earlier) about H2O’s 3652 cm-1 spectra. This spectra is also ‘outside and between’ these Blackbody curves, yet its temperature is measured equally by both Raman and IR spectrometers.

As this Raman-measured temperature of H2O does not appear to be modulated or trivial, I argued that as this and all of the other Raman-active spectra of H2O, N2, O2, CO2 and others including methane, (shown in the figure above) that lay within the claimed unattainable gap between the two blackbody curves have real and valid ‘Raman’ measured temperatures the greenhouse theory interpretation of their importance is misconceived.

These said spectra do radiate – and I argue – with temperatures measured by Raman spectrometers consistent with and corresponding to – or approximating – the Stephan-Boltzmann Law – line ‘a-a’ in the figure.  From this, I claimed the so-called Blackbody curves really only depict the emf produced by a thermoelectric detector at each frequency at the corresponding temperature of the sample object – in this case, the Sun and the Earth.

If this were not enough, I wanted to further secure my hypothesis that N2 and O2 do radiate infrared photons. To do this I needed to find an independent practical application where either of them is known to absorb heat energy by radiation at their predicted and now observed spectra. And I found one, the N2-CO2 laser.

Here, in a totally different context, the molecules of the atmosphere are doing what they are said not to do – radiate – and all in compliance with quantum mechanics, nothing less.

The N2-CO2 laser – by quantum design – depends on N2’s one (2338 cm-1)  quantum predicted spectra to absorb ‘radiated’ electrons in a cathode tube during electrical discharge; the theory describing it is quantum mechanics. I later found out the laser also operates by the radiation of photons. If N2 did not absorb here; we would not have CO2 lasers, and no CO2 lasers mean no face surgery – that’s the fact.

What is more supportive from this CO2 laser application is that the ‘radiated’/heated N2 at spectra 2338 cm-1 is said to be metastable – long-lasting – and it is this absorbed energy that is passed on to CO2’s – close –  2349 cm-1 (‘IR’) absorption spectra – and hence its technical name, the ‘N2-CO2 laser’.

This exchange of energy between the two molecules is so beautiful, I argue that the same mechanism is at work in the atmosphere; where the Sun directly heats by IR photons ‘and this energy is passed on down – in a non-trivial process – to the remaining trivial trace gases, including –  by the looks – the constituent CO2.

This is by far a more logical and intuitive process than the current dogma and it settles the paradoxes I opened this article with.

From what I have found the premise that there are a special set of gases that drive climate does not hold at the fundamentals, and every claim based on it thereafter collapses. ‘In light’ of my discoveries, I am calling for a review of greenhouse theory, and I also think all the radiation physics where IR spectroscopy by thermo-electric detectors was used to determine knowledge should be open to review.

This includes – issues I have focused on in my second paper – blackbody radiation, blackbody radiation curves, emissivity and radiation equations. Yes, I can address – without waving my arms – emissivity: it is a correction factor, from measured to real, to do with thermo-electric transducers.

So where have we gone wrong?

To me, we are either not being honest to ourselves with what the physics theory and these modern instruments are telling us – because, as I have said, they are both well-known and understood by science – or, it is that we are aware of them, but haven’t yet given them any thought or dared to put them together with greenhouse theory, and say something.

Well, I’ve now dared. Also, as I said earlier, I think the order of invention of the spectrometers has not helped us distinguish what are eccentrically the same vibrational quantum spectra. If Raman spectrometers were invented first, in the early 19th century, we would not be having the ‘greenhouse issue’ as there would be no special gases talk of.

Put another way (with respect to greenhouse theory and not spectroscopy in the IR); if Raman spectroscopy was all there was today to measure the atmosphere, and IR spectrometers were new technology, I think level-heads would prevail and dismiss such claims as inferior and trivial.

I imply no conspiracy upon Scientist’s inaction in this area from my findings; I just think it is simply a matter of no thought or no daring. I think it is now time we all take a good look at the premises and be honest ourselves as to what the science is telling us and end – what appears now to be, to use the term – the climate woo.


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