Now We Can Have A Serious Discussion

Earth’s energy balance is driven by the Sun. The amount of heat leaving the planet, has to average out to be equal to the amount of energy incoming.

Solar energy reaches the ground and warms it. This heat in turn warms the atmosphere via conduction and absorption by greenhouse gases. All of that heat has to return to space, via radiation, convection, evaporation in the lower troposphere, condensation in the upper troposphere, etc. Essentially all of the heat is dissipated into space by greenhouse gases in the upper atmosphere.

Without greenhouse gases, atmospheric physics doesn’t work at all. That is why people who don’t accept greenhouse gas theory can not participate in the discussion. It is like trying to design a building without accepting the existence of gravity.

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55 Responses to Now We Can Have A Serious Discussion

  1. Eliza says:

    For other idiots who dont believe in the greenhouse effect hahah http://hockeyschtick.blogspot.com/2014/11/why-water-vapor-slows-cooling-at-night.html

    • “For other idiots who dont believe in the greenhouse effect hahah”

      Pardon?

      As I’ve pointed out hundreds of times, I do “believe” in a ~33K tropospheric “greenhouse effect” explained by atmospheric mass/gravity/pressure/adiabatic lapse rate that completely dominates over radiative forcing from greenhouse gases in the troposphere. Same holds for every other planet with thick atmospheres in our solar system as demonstrated by Robinson & Catling in Nature, and others. The effect of water vapor on the adiabatic lapse rate is to lower it by one-half, demonstrating the net effect of water vapor on the troposphere is cooling.

      Eliza, before you label me an “idiot,” you might want to take the opportunity to read why I and many others have stated the GHE exists, and it fully explained by atmospheric mass/gravity/pressure/adiabatic lapse rate which completely dominates over radiative forcing from greenhouse gases.

      • usJim says:

        One still wonders how energy ‘leaves the planet’ in your model of the world while still maintaining a *warmer surface* than if there was no atmosphere …

  2. “Essentially all of the heat is dissipated into space by greenhouse gases in the upper atmosphere”

    All? No direct emission to space from cloud tops via water droplets (near-black bodies)?

    • That is an interesting point.

    • Gail Combs says:

      You also have direct radiation from the earth’s surface through the ‘Atmospheric Window’

      The only difference between the moon’s ability to radiate and the earth is the opacity of the atmosphere in certain wavelengths in the LWIR range emitted by the earth.

      From WUWT … emission graphs and a textbook “A First Course in Atmospheric Radiation” by Grant Petty, Sundog Publishing Company.

      • Gail, would you mind telling me how you posted an image directly like that? What tag do you have to use? Thanks.

        • Gail Combs says:

          Mike,
          You can take this page and do a control U
          That gives you all the html tags in blue
          Do a find (Under the edit tab) and type in Sundog
          That should take you to the line before the html.
          copy the three lines from the [p to the /p]
          put the image url between the ” ” in both spots replacing
          h t t p : / / wattsupwiththat(DOT)files.wordpress.com/2011/03/gw-spectrum-tropical-pacific.jpg

          I wil be darned if I know how it works or what it means but it does seem to work
          Good luck.

  3. Earth’s climate is a complicated convection system, not a ‘greenhouse’ whatever that word means. Water vapour 70% of atm. gas by weight would affect ‘climate’ whatever that word might mean. Co2 does not. Ergo there is NO cult of warm greenhouse effect, which is what the ‘idiots’ are you call them are criticizing. The ‘morons’ as you term them do not believe that Co2-greenhouse effects are real. You might want to actually check what the ‘skeptics’ are saying before calling them names.

  4. Edmonton Al says:

    This sounds correct to me.
    Yes, as you say “Solar energy reaches the ground and warms it. This heat in turn warms the atmosphere via conduction and absorption by greenhouse gases. All of that heat has to return to space, via radiation, convection, evaporation in the lower troposphere, condensation in the upper troposphere, etc. Essentially all of the heat is dissipated into space by greenhouse gases in the upper atmosphere.
    Now, to me, that looks like a cooling action. Without GHGs the atmosphere would be warmer.
    The water cycle carries the heat of evaporation up, where it is dissipated to space as heat of condensation. That, is cooling. GHGs are enhancing the transfer of heat up and out, not impeding the heat as per the GHE. IMO.

    • Without GHG’s the atmosphere wouldn’t exist at all. The only way to dissipate the heat would be through continued expansion.

      • omnologos says:

        Too sweeping a statement. Energy would find its way out, albeit not efficiently

        • It would find its way out via continued expansion of the atmosphere.

        • omnologos says:

          Are there ghgs in every known planetary atmosphere? (Asking)

        • CO2 and methane dominate other planet’s atmospheres. Earth is different because we have oceans which convert CO2 into limestone. Without the oceans, we would be like Venus..

        • Gail Combs says:

          Actually it would be very efficient because the GHGs would no longer be blocking the escape of radiative energy in some of the wave lengths.

          You can look at the illustration I posted in comment above.

          The atmospheric window is even lableled in the middle of the illustration.

          Or if you want actual data look at Dr. Happer’s slide # 16.

          Notice the amount of radiance on left vertical changes in each graph – Remember T^4 in the Stefan–Boltzmann equation?

          Do not miss the Thunderstorm Anvil on the upper right graph. It is near the bottom axis starting at number 40 on the y-axis. Boy do thunderstorms block FTIR!

  5. Sleepalot says:

    “The amount of heat leaving the planet, has to average out to be equal to the amount of energy incoming.”

    No, it doesn’t. An increase in biomass represents some quantity of solar energy stored as chemical energy.

  6. Scarface says:

    This is a great video: Richard Lindzen gives a perfect lecture on the greenhouse effect.
    I recommend watching it to anyone with an opinion on climate and greenhouse gasses.

    Lindzen is a great speaker. And he is a real scientist to begin with. So you get the best of both worlds imho. (I got his video from a comment to a WUWT-post on volcanoes: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/11/18/get-laki-get-unlaki/)

  7. I’m in serious danger of agreeing with you.

    I will have to go back to arguing with myself.

    • Gail Combs says:

      Scottish Sceptic,
      I find I can not comment on your webside I get a 403 code.

      I really liked the Climategate: These fraudsters have blood on their hands and yes they do.

  8. Average out over what time period? If there are temp oscillations on the time scale of 100,000 years, it’s a very long period, no? How many significant figures are needed to averaging out? How much heat does the ocean hold? How much heat does land and the ocean floor hold? Is the entire earth’s heat content important? Does it fluctuate enough to affect atmospheric temps much?

    • A C Osborn says:

      I must agree, how can you have “Ice Ages” if the energy in always balances the energy out?
      You would either always be warm or cold or in between, there must be long term variation in both otherwise we would have had total stability over the last few billion years, when in fact the Earth has cooled considerably.
      But has also gone through very dramatic changes.
      The energy out also has to dissipate the thermal energy from the core.

  9. Paul Clark says:

    Yes, atmospheric weather models include the properties of water: latent energies of evaporation, condensation; humidity; cloud formation; etc. This is not the same as a planet-wide 33C warming from a Greenhouse Effect.

    Failed climate models of IPCC etc may have this 33C warming programmed in, but not weather models. Not even the IPCC has a value for this 33C warming — for how much CO2/H2O per ppm warms earth — so how can weather models have this programmed in?

    It would be nice to hear from someone like Bastardi as to whether weather models have “greenhouse effect” programmed in as you claim Tony.
    ————
    We shouldn’t count the EMR energy coming from the sun twice, which is what we’re doing with this “greenhouse effect” notion; a notion which seems to stem from a faulty analogy with an ordinary blanket, the latter working only by blocking convection. Likewise, a greenhouse solely gets hotter by blocking convection – no temp-boosting “trapping of IR” by glass roof.

    If you took away the walls of a greenhouse and just left the roof, suddenly the roof’s “IR trapping” property disappears and the area underneath the glass roof is, in fact, a bit cooler from the slight shade of the glass, not warmer from “greenhouse effect”.
    ————
    In the Stefan-Boltzmann relation there’s no greenhouse component; objects simply emit according to fourth power of temp*emissivity*constant. It’s not possible in this scenario to have a blanket-like greenhouse effect, boosting temperature, merely by adding more barriers the escape of EMR.

    If this were not so, the Universe would end in an infinite heat death from mutual radiation multiplying heat indefinitely.

  10. Edmonton Al says:

    As Ripley said: “Believe It Or Not”

    Click to access PSI_Miatello_Refutation_GHE.pdf

  11. mkelly says:

    Yup 97% with ya.

  12. pyromancer76 says:

    Language might matter here. “Atmospheric gases” and how (and where) they function to maintain heat of solar radiation, to disseminate the heat, and to cool the planet might untie some knots in the discussion. I have trouble with “greenhouse”. I think people can think more clearly without the use of the word. I don’t think it helps with understanding. And I think it “leads” towards un-thinking about AGW.

    • Gail Combs says:

      +1
      I hate the word almost as much as I hate the misuse of the word thoroughbred. Every time I here some spoiled progressive elite say they have a thoroughbred toy poodle I get this picture of a race horse trying to breed a tiny dog…. Worse the Thoroughbred isn’t even purebred being the offsping of English mares of uncertain ancestry and Arabian stallions.

      So yes words do matter.

      • Gail Combs says:

        I should add that the Progressives play word games with the general population like stealing the name liberal from classic liberals or all the politically correct yanking around on the older names of various groups of people. At this point I have about had it with that Orwellian crap.

  13. Geothermal is small but is it negligible enough to completely ignore?

    • Curt says:

      Yes, it is. It provides an average power flux to the surface of about 0.07 W/m^2, and any variations are too small to measure.

      • nickreality65 says:

        IMHO, I think geothermal might be significant. IPCC AR5 TS.6 admits they have low certainty about the oceans below 2,000 m, which is 50% of it. I believe there is a lot of geothermal heat flux through the thin crust that comprises the ocean floor. The Antarctic ice sheet that floated away a year ago was found to have volcanic hot spots under it. Glaciers melt from the warm earth not the cold air. And I recall an article where a long string of volcanic vents were recently discovered along ocean floor plate ridges.

        http://www.writerbeat.com/articles/3713-CO2-Feedback-Loop

        • Gail Combs says:

          I would think it is the periodic injection of sulfur, chlorine ash and other nasties into the atmosphere that is a major effect of geothermal. Although I certainly agree we have no idea of what is happening under the oceans which is 70% of the earth.

  14. RBrill says:

    I do have a physics question. Your house is a perfect cube, all 6 surfaces have the same R value. You may ignore the surface against the ground, always discard considerations which may make the problem too hard to solve. If the temperature outside is x degrees hotter than the inside, is the rate of heat transfer different than if it were x degrees colder? You may express your answer in BTU/Hr. or microjoules/nanosecond.. Best regards from a friend. ps. What if your house were a sphere suspended in a constant temp soup, like say in Jupiters clouds?

  15. higley7 says:

    “Essentially all of the heat is dissipated into space by greenhouse gases in the upper atmosphere.”

    So, more accurately, these gases are called “radiative gases,” as they are surely not doing greenhouse duty here. Upward IR radiation is lost to space. IR emitted downward cannot warm the surface because the surface is still warmer than the atmosphere and thus the emissions MUST be reflected back upwards.

    These gases can convert some of the IR radiation they absorb into heat energy, thus warming the air a bit, but this factor is small and they can just as well convert heat energy to IR radiation. It is important to remember that it is a two-way street. At night, these “radiative gases” serve to cool the atmosphere quite effectively by converting heat energy to IR radiation which is then lost to space. The night-time surface is still warmer than the air and thus IR will be reflected upward. Climate computer models to not have night time, a huge failing that leads to many wrong conclusions.

  16. John Finn says:

    ” IR emitted downward cannot warm the surface because the surface is still warmer than the atmosphere and thus the emissions MUST be reflected back upwards.”

    The downwelling radiation slows down the rate of cooling. Meanwhile the sun continues to supply the earth with a constant source of heat. If energy_In is greater than energy_Out then you get warming. Increasing ghgs in the atmosphere is likely to result in some warming.

    The “warmists” argue (with some justification) that adding CO2 to the atmosphere will increase the effective radiating layer (ERL) which effectively means the average height at which energy is emitted to space. Now, because HIGHER means COLDER the rate of emission will fall (S-B Law) and so we’ll get an imbalance between incoming solar energy and outgoing IR energy and the earth will need to warm to restore the balance. They further argue that the accumulation of CO2 in the upper layers is more relevant because there is much less water vapour (i.e. no overlap so no saturation). See Gail Combs diagram above. The top spectrum plot shows clearly the CO2 ‘bite’ at around 15 micron. The vertical axis represents the temperature of the radiating layer, so we can see that CO2 dominates emission in the colder upper layers.

    • Baa Humbug says:

      Much of what you wrote doesn’t pass the smell test for me.

      The “warmists” argue (with some justification) that adding CO2 to the atmosphere will increase the effective radiating layer (ERL)

      The effective radiating layer cannot change just because there are a few more molecules. CO2 radiates to space at an altitude where the frequency of collisions between molecules is less than the frequency of emisission by radiation.

      Now, because HIGHER means COLDER the rate of emission will fall (S-B Law)

      No because all those CO2 molecules that were emitting at the original altitude are still emitting at that altitude. Molecules will emit so long as their energy isn’t stolen by conduction beforehand. Remember, emission is determined by and ONLY BY internal factor i.e. temperature.
      In fact a few extra molecules will make it more efficient for CO2 to conduct energy off of N2 and O2 which do not emit at those temperatures.

      They further argue that the accumulation of CO2 in the upper layers is more relevant because there is much less water vapour (i.e. no overlap so no saturation).

      See above. The temperature profile of the stratosphere is opposite to that of the troposphere because of the lack of radiating gasses the higher you go up. And where there are next to no collisions with GHG gasses (the Thermosphere) temperatures start at 100C and climb to 1000C with altitude.

      The top spectrum plot shows clearly the CO2 ‘bite’ at around 15 micron. The vertical axis represents the temperature of the radiating layer, so we can see that CO2 dominates emission in the colder upper layers.

      This is the one thing I agree with in your comment, but even then it falls short of a very critical piece of information in that chart Gail posted.
      Think of that “bite” as a visible light colour filter. All frequencies pass except red for example. CO2 mainly filters that 15um frequency. We can work out CO2s equilibrium temperature from the size of that bite. That temperature is -78C
      To put it in perspective, imagine wearing sunglasses which are very lightly tinted.

      • John Finn says:

        No because all those CO2 molecules that were emitting at the original altitude are still emitting at that altitude.

        .. … and are then re-absorbed at the higher altitude.

        It’s very, very simple really. The earth (and its atmosphere) must emit to space the same amount of energy it receives from the sun otherwise IT will warm. We cannot deny that fact. If we add greenhouse gases to the atmosphere then this will further impede the flow of outgoing radiation so the earth (and it’s atmosphere) will need to warm a bit to drive an increase in the TOA flux. See this ‘back of the envelope’ calculation:

        Mean surface temperature of the Earth = ~288K
        Mean Surface Energy Flux = ~390 watts/m2
        TOA Flux = Incoming Solar Energy = ~240 watts/m2

        So about 60% (240/390) of the energy emitted from the surface is emitted from the Top of the Atmosphere (TOA) to space. Radiative Transfer equations as used by, e.g. MODTRAN, suggest that doubling CO2 in the atmosphere will reduce the flow of flux outgoing LWIR at the TOA by ~3.7 watts/m2. To restore this imbalance the Surface Flux will need to increase by about 6 watts/m2 (3.7/6 = ~60%). An increase of ~6 watts/m2 would require an an average temperature increase of a bit more than 1 degree C.

        • Baa Humbug says:

          Finn thanx for replying to one of the paragraphs in my comment.
          Obviously you either didn’t read, didn’t understand or chose to ignore the following…

          The temperature profile of the stratosphere is opposite to that of the troposphere because of the lack of radiating gasses the higher you go up. And where there are next to no collisions with GH gasses (the Thermosphere) temperatures start at 100C and climb to 1000C with altitude.

          Yet you claim in your reply….

          If we add greenhouse gases to the atmosphere then this will further impede the flow of outgoing radiation

          I’ve provided empirical evidence (temp profile of stratosphere and thermosphere [the clue is in the name… thermo…] and you’ve replied with opinion. End of conversation.

          No response to the other paragraphs in my comment?

        • Baa Humbug says:

          Finn you said…

          Radiative Transfer equations as used by, e.g. MODTRAN, suggest that doubling CO2 in the atmosphere will reduce the flow of flux outgoing LWIR at the TOA by ~3.7 watts/m2.

          Suggest? Good one.

          Look Finn, since the great works of the thermodynamic revolutionaries such as Planck, Boltzmann, Wien, Stefan and others, we can figure out somethings from those Modtran charts like the one Gail posted above.
          See that bite at 15um? Notice how it doesn’t go all the way to the bottom of the chart? By drawing a second planck curve across the bottom of that bite we can mathematically work out the EQUILIBRIUM RADIATIVE TEMPERATURE OF WHATEVER TOOK OUT THAT BITE.
          This has been done. At Earthly temperatures, the equilibrium temperature of CO2 is -78DegC or 195K. What does this mean? This means CO2 molecules act as coolants for the warmer atmosphere.

          To back up my claim, I provide a link to a paper (pdf) which you are welcome to critique or debunk. If you debunk it, I’m happy and willing to reconsider my understanding. Are you?

          Click to access JCao_N2O2GreenGases_Blog.pdf

          p.s. By claiming something is simple e.g. “It’s very, very simple really.” you are insinuating that I can’t/won’t understand simple things. This doesn’t bode well for an amicable discussion/debate. Don’t insinuate I am dumb and I won’t tell you to go copulate with yourself. Are we clear?

    • davidswuk says:

      So, OK John – let`s say that The Sun is above The Pacific – exactly what proportion of it is radiating around the 15um wavelength (20C or so)?
      Then apply the same criteria to the other segments which might rol-up to an average temperature that would indicate mass 15um heat exodus when the actual surfaces temperatures of the various parts are radiating on totally different frequencies.
      An average is a derivative and not the definitive we should be using to obtain sensible conclusions.

    • bwdave says:

      What about energy that is stored chemically?

  17. John Finn says:

    To back up my claim, I provide a link to a paper (pdf) which you are welcome to critique or debunk.

    Before I read this paper can you tell me in which Journal the paper has been published. Note: I don’t mind if this is E&E or similar but I’m not prepared to waste a lot of time going over a random essay about someone’s pet theory.

  18. John Finn says:

    The temperature profile of the stratosphere is opposite to that of the troposphere because of the lack of radiating gasses the higher you go up

    No. The temperature inversion in the stratosphere is due to high energy UV absorption by Ozone. The reason for LS cooling (1980-95) is Ozone depletion (probably due to 2 major volcanic eruptions).

    If there were no radiating gases in the atmosphere then the earth would radiate directly to space from the surface. ( as per the IR window).

    Re: Thermosphere Solar energy heats oxygen molecules. Because of the very low density of the air at these very high altitudes it takes much less energy to heat the atmosphere than it does at lower altitudes – a bit like how it takes more energy to increase the temperature of water than it does to increase air temperature by the same amount.

    No response to the other paragraphs in my comment?

    You’d be better advised concentrating on one small topic at a time. You’re a bit confused about some… well quite a lot of … things and I’m not prepared to continually respond to every incorrect statement you make.

    • Baa Humbug says:

      OK so in your first response above you talked about your time and how you’re not prepared to waste it etc etc.
      In your second response above, you signed off saying essentially the same thing.

      How about this….I WON’T BE SPENDING ANOTHER SECOND REPLYING TO YOU as it happens I VALUE MY TIME MUCH MUCH MUCH HIGHER THAN YOUR TIME.

      wanker.

    • Gail Combs says:

      John Finn you left out the fact that not only O3 but CO2 radiates in the stratosphere per Dr. Happer backed up by Dr Brown (both Physicists)
      See my old comments: Dr Robert bBrown and Gallopingcamel (also a physicist) and Dr. Happer

      The take home from all three is the fact that in the troposphere CO2 works just like convection except it heats up the surrounding gases via collision.

      Paraphrasing Dr. Brown.
      What is the absorption cross-section for a 15 micron photon?
      That’s the effective surface area intercepted by each CO_2 molecule. It is large enough that the mean free path of LWIR photons in the pressure-broadened absorption bands of CO_2 in the lower atmosphere is in the order of a meter. That means that LWIR photons — whatever their “size” — with frequencies in the band go no more than a meter or few before they are absorbed by a CO_2 molecule.

      When CO2 near the earth’s surface absorbs back radiation, the lifetime of the excited state caused by the absorption of the photon is much longer than the mean free time between molecular collisions between the CO_2 molecule and other molecules in the surrounding gas. That means that the radiative energy absorbed by the molecule is almost never resonantly re-emitted, it is transferred to the surrounding gas, warming not just the CO_2 but the oxygen, nitrogen, water vapor, argon as well as the other CO_2 molecules around.

      In other words near the surface back radiation, aka a ‘resonantly re-emitted’ photon is a RARE EVENT.

      Dr Happer in his lecture agreed and further stated that the time to radiate is about ten times slower than the time to the next collision in the troposphere. Dr Happer in his lecture also answered my question about where CO2 energy is radiated instead of being handed off via collision. Experimental data shows barely any radiation at 11 KM and that radiating is in the stratosphere ~ 47 KM above the surface.

      The take away from his UNC lecture (9/2014) was the CO2 ‘modeling’ is a mish-mash of theoretical equations and experimentally derived data. Where the Climate alarmists missed the boat is in using equations for ‘line broadening’ aka the ‘wings’ where the additional CO2 absorption ( at 400 ppm) is supposedly taking place. These equations produce results that do not match up to the experimental data. The lines are not as broad as theory would have it. This means you take the exponential curve Steve showed a few days ago (CO2 Greenhouse Effect Is Very Small) and squash it even flatter at 400 ppm and above. This means the CO2 sensitivity is much smaller than calculated by the IPCC.
      stevengoddard(DOT)wordpress.com/2014/11/13/co2-greenhouse-effect-is-very-small/

      Dr Happer’s information is illustrated by this image the Warmists use to say ozone is a greenhouse gas. The Figure is from Uherek, 2006. They even say it “show how carbon dioxide is cooling the stratosphere.” The black dotted line is the tropopause and you can see water is dumping energy just under the tropopause (the pink splotches surrounded by dark blue) while CO2 is dumping energy from just above the tropopause and up (the big yellow streak on the left) just as Dr. Happer, Dr Brown and the Camel stated. Ozone is the smaller yellow streak on the right.

      The legend with the illustration:

      Figure 2.15: Stratospheric cooling rates: The picture shows how water, carbon dioxide and ozone contribute to longwave cooling in the stratosphere. Colors from blue through red, yellow and to green show increasing cooling, grey areas show warming of the stratosphere. The tropopause is shown as dotted line (the troposphere below and the stratosphere above). For CO2 it is obvious that there is no cooling in the troposphere, but a strong cooling effect in the stratosphere. Ozone, on the other hand, cools the upper stratosphere but warms the lower stratosphere. (ibid)

      What is NOT mentions is that is where CO2 is active and NOT in the troposphere at least not below 11 KM where it barely starts radiating.

      • usJim says:

        What is the absorption cross-section for a 15 micron photon?

        i have never seen electromagnetic energy referred to before as having “size” as it relates to ‘absorption cross-section’; this is a new one. One generally refers to the “absorption cross-section area” of a molecule or an antenna or some other structure, not the other way around. For instance, I can receive AM broadcast radio wave ‘photons’ of 300 meter wavelength (1 MHz) on a radio with an antenna of no more than 5 cm, a straight-out ratio of photon_wavelength to antenna_size of 6000 to 1. Note I do not refer to the absorption cross-section of a 300 m radio photon, nor does any literature on this subject. I can, however,speak of the effective area or antenna aperture of any given antenna or EMR-intercepting/resonant structure.

        I also take strong exception to referring to EMR as ‘photons’; if this is a concrete construct in your mind it will severely limit your openness to concepts involving the ‘wave’ nature of EMR in theory as it relates to emission, conduction and radiation from a variety of ‘structures’ including molecules at any frequency or wavelength.

        .

        • Gail Combs says:

          usJim says: “…What is the absorption cross-section for a 15 micron photon?

          i have never seen electromagnetic energy referred to before as having “size” as it relates to ‘absorption cross-section’; this is a new one….”
          You can ask Dr Brown directly: http://www.phy.duke.edu/~rgb/contact.php
          >>>>>>>>>>>

          I am aware of the wave nature of energy. I am using the word to mean the amount of energy absorbed and admitted by a CO2 molecule. Since I am using the word to mean a descrete amout of energy I use the word photon
          The word is still acceptable in physics.

          …Under the photon theory of light, a photon is a discrete bundle (or quantum) of electromagnetic (or light) energy. Photons are always in motion and, in a vacuum, have a constant speed of light to all observers, at the vacuum speed of light (more commonly just called the speed of light) of c = 2.998 x 108 m/s….

          The term photon was coined by Gilbert Lewis in 1926, though the concept of light in the form of discrete particles had been around for centuries and had been formalized in Newton’s construction of the science of optics.

          In the 1800s, however, the wave properties of light (by which I mean electromagnetic radiation in general) became glaringly obvious and scientists had essentially thrown the particle theory of light out the window. It wasn’t until Albert Einstein explained the photoelectric effect and realized that light energy had to be quantized that the particle theory returned.

          Wave-Particle Duality in Brief
          As mentioned above, light has properties of both a wave and a particle. This was an astounding discovery and is certainly outside the realm of how we normally perceive things. Billiard balls act as particles, while oceans act as waves. Photons act as both a wave and a particle all the time (even though it’s common, but basically incorrect, to say that it’s “sometimes a wave and sometimes a particle” depending upon which features are more obvious at a given time).

          Just one of the effects of this wave-particle duality (or particle-wave duality) is that photons, though treated as particles, can be calculated to have frequency, wavelength, amplitude, and other properties inherent in wave mechanics….
          http://physics.about.com/od/lightoptics/f/photon.htm

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