|Humidity and hygrometry|
|Measures and instruments|
The dew point is the temperature to which air must be cooled to become saturated with water vapor. It is assumed that air pressure and water content is constant. When cooled further, the airborne water vapor will condense to form liquid water (dew). When air cools to its dew point through contact with a surface that is colder than the air, water will condense on the surface.
The measurement of the dew point is related to humidity. A higher dew point means there is more moisture in the air.
When the temperature is below the freezing point of water, the dew point is called the frost point, as frost is formed via deposition rather than condensation to form dew.
In liquids, the cloud point is the equivalent term.
If all the other factors influencing humidity remain constant, at ground level the relative humidity rises as the temperature falls; this is because less vapor is needed to saturate the air. In normal conditions, the dew point temperature will not be greater than the air temperature, since relative humidity typicallydoes not exceed 100%.
In technical terms, the dew point is the temperature at which the water vapor in a sample of air at constant barometric pressure condenses into liquid water at the same rate at which it evaporates.At temperatures below the dew point, the rate of condensation will be greater than that of evaporation, forming more liquid water. The condensed water is called dew when it forms on a solid surface, or frost if it freezes. In the air, the condensed water is called either fog or a cloud, depending on its altitude when it forms. If the temperature is below the dew point, and no dew or fog forms, the vapor is called supersaturated. This can happen if there are not enough particles in the air to act as condensation nuclei.
A high relative humidity implies that the dew point is close to the current air temperature. A relative humidity of 100% indicates the dew point is equal to the current temperature and that the air is maximally saturated with water. When the moisture content remains constant and temperature increases, relative humidity decreases, but the dew point remains constant.
General aviation pilots use dew point data to calculate the likelihood of carburetor icing and fog, and to estimate the height of a cumuliform cloud base.
Increasing the barometric pressure increases the dew point. 33 ft or 10 m elevation) and Denver (5,280 ft or 1,610 m elevation ). Because Denver is at a higher elevation than New York, it will tend to have a lower barometric pressure. This means that if the dew point and temperature in both cities are the same, the amount of water vapor in the air will be greater in Denver.This means that, if the pressure increases, the mass of water vapor per volume unit of air must be reduced in order to maintain the same dew point. For example, consider New York City (
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When the air temperature is high, the human body uses the evaporation of sweat to cool down, with the cooling effect directly related to how fast the perspiration evaporates. The rate at which perspiration can evaporate depends on how much moisture is in the air and how much moisture the air can hold. If the air is already saturated with moisture (humid), perspiration will not evaporate. The body's thermoregulation will produce perspiration in an effort to keep the body at its normal temperature even when the rate at which it is producing sweat exceeds the evaporation rate, so one can become coated with sweat on humid days even without generating additional body heat (such as by exercising).
As the air surrounding one's body is warmed by body heat, it will rise and be replaced with other air. If air is moved away from one's body with a natural breeze or a fan, sweat will evaporate faster, making perspiration more effective at cooling the body. The more unevaporated perspiration, the greater the discomfort.
A wet bulb thermometer also uses evaporative cooling, so it provides a good measure for use in evaluating comfort level.
Discomfort also exists when the dew point is very low (below around −5 °C or 23 °F).[ citation needed ] The drier air can cause skin to crack and become irritated more easily. It will also dry out the airways. The US Occupational Safety and Health Administration recommends indoor air be maintained at 20–24.5 °C (68–76 °F) with a 20–60% relative humidity, equivalent to a dew point of approximately 4.0 to 16.5 °C (39 to 62 °F) (by Simple Rule calculation below).
Lower dew points, less than 10 °C (50 °F), correlate with lower ambient temperatures and cause the body to require less cooling. A lower dew point can go along with a high temperature only at extremely low relative humidity, allowing for relatively effective cooling.
People inhabiting tropical and subtropical climates acclimatize somewhat to higher dew points. Thus, a resident of Singapore or Miami, for example, might have a higher threshold for discomfort than a resident of a temperate climate like London or Chicago. People accustomed to temperate climates often begin to feel uncomfortable when the dew point gets above 15 °C (59 °F), while others might find dew points up to 18 °C (64 °F) comfortable. Most inhabitants of temperate areas will consider dew points above 21 °C (70 °F) oppressive and tropical-like, while inhabitants of hot and humid areas may not find this uncomfortable. Thermal comfort depends not just on physical environmental factors, but also on psychological factors.
|Dew point||Relative humidity at 32 °C (90 °F)|
|Over 26 °C||Over 80 °F||73% and higher|
|24–26 °C||75–80 °F||62–72%|
|21–24 °C||70–74 °F||52–61%|
|18–21 °C||65–69 °F||44–51%|
|16–18 °C||60–64 °F||37–43%|
|13–16 °C||55–59 °F||31–36%|
|10–12 °C||50–54 °F||26–30%|
|Under 10 °C||Under 50 °F||25% and lower|
Devices called hygrometers are used to measure dew point over a wide range of temperatures. These devices consist of a polished metal mirror which is cooled as air is passed over it. The temperature at which dew forms is, by definition, the dew point. Manual devices of this sort can be used to calibrate other types of humidity sensors, and automatic sensors may be used in a control loop with a humidifier or dehumidifier to control the dew point of the air in a building or in a smaller space for a manufacturing process.
A well-known approximation used to calculate the dew point, Tdp, given just the actual ("dry bulb") air temperature, T (in degrees Celsius) and relative humidity (in percent), RH, is the Magnus formula:
The more complete formulation and origin of this approximation involves the interrelated saturated water vapor pressure (in units of millibars, also called hectopascals) at T, Ps(T), and the actual vapor pressure (also in units of millibars), Pa(T), which can be either found with RH or approximated with the barometric pressure (in millibars), BPmbar, and "wet-bulb" temperature, Tw is (unless declared otherwise, all temperatures are expressed in degrees Celsius):
For greater accuracy, Ps(T) (and therefore γ(T, RH)) can be enhanced, using part of the Bögel modification, also known as the Arden Buck equation, which adds a fourth constant d:
There are several different constant sets in use. The ones used in NOAA's presentationare taken from a 1980 paper by David Bolton in the Monthly Weather Review:
These valuations provide a maximum error of 0.1%, for −30 °C ≤ T ≤ 35°C and 1% < RH < 100%. Also noteworthy is the Sonntag1990,
Another common set of values originates from the 1974 Psychrometry and Psychrometric Charts, as presented by Paroscientific,
Also, in the Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology, °C to +50 °C between the two, with even lower maximum error within the indicated range than all the sets above:Arden Buck presents several different valuation sets, with different maximum errors for different temperature ranges. Two particular sets provide a range of −40
There is also a very simple approximation that allows conversion between the dew point, temperature, and relative humidity. This approach is accurate to within about ±1 °C as long as the relative humidity is above 50%:
This can be expressed as a simple rule of thumb:
For every 1 °C difference in the dew point and dry bulb temperatures, the relative humidity decreases by 5%, starting with RH = 100% when the dew point equals the dry bulb temperature.
The derivation of this approach, a discussion of its accuracy, comparisons to other approximations, and more information on the history and applications of the dew point, can be found in an article published in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society .
For temperatures in degrees Fahrenheit, these approximations work out to
For example, a relative humidity of 100% means dew point is the same as air temp. For 90% RH, dew point is 3 °F lower than air temperature. For every 10 percent lower, dew point drops 3 °F.
The frost point is similar to the dew point in that it is the temperature to which a given parcel of humid air must be cooled, at constant atmospheric pressure, for water vapor to be deposited on a surface as ice crystals without undergoing the liquid phase (compare with sublimation). The frost point for a given parcel of air is always higher than the dew point, as breaking the stronger bonding between water molecules on the surface of ice compared to the surface of liquid water requires a higher temperature.
Evaporation is a type of vaporization that occurs on the surface of a liquid as it changes into the gas phase. The surrounding gas must not be saturated with the evaporating substance. When the molecules of the liquid collide, they transfer energy to each other based on how they collide with each other. When a molecule near the surface absorbs enough energy to overcome the vapor pressure, it will escape and enter the surrounding air as a gas. When evaporation occurs, the energy removed from the vaporized liquid will reduce the temperature of the liquid, resulting in evaporative cooling.
Vapor pressure or equilibrium vapor pressure is defined as the pressure exerted by a vapor in thermodynamic equilibrium with its condensed phases at a given temperature in a closed system. The equilibrium vapor pressure is an indication of a liquid's evaporation rate. It relates to the tendency of particles to escape from the liquid. A substance with a high vapor pressure at normal temperatures is often referred to as volatile. The pressure exhibited by vapor present above a liquid surface is known as vapor pressure. As the temperature of a liquid increases, the kinetic energy of its molecules also increases. As the kinetic energy of the molecules increases, the number of molecules transitioning into a vapor also increases, thereby increasing the vapor pressure.
Humidity is the concentration of water vapour present in the air. Water vapor, the gaseous state of water, is generally invisible to the human eye. Humidity indicates the likelihood for precipitation, dew, or fog to be present.
In electrochemistry, the Nernst equation is an equation that relates the reduction potential of a reaction to the standard electrode potential, temperature, and activities of the chemical species undergoing reduction and oxidation. It was named after Walther Nernst, a German physical chemist who formulated the equation.
Water vapor, water vapour or aqueous vapor is the gaseous phase of water. It is one state of water within the hydrosphere. Water vapor can be produced from the evaporation or boiling of liquid water or from the sublimation of ice. Water vapor is transparent, like most constituents of the atmosphere. Under typical atmospheric conditions, water vapor is continuously generated by evaporation and removed by condensation. It is less dense than most of the other constituents of air and triggers convection currents that can lead to clouds.
The heat index (HI) is an index that combines air temperature and relative humidity, in shaded areas, to posit a human-perceived equivalent temperature, as how hot it would feel if the humidity were some other value in the shade. The result is also known as the "felt air temperature", "apparent temperature", "real feel" or "feels like". For example, when the temperature is 32 °C (90 °F) with 70% relative humidity, the heat index is 41 °C (106 °F).
The lapse rate is the rate at which an atmospheric variable, normally temperature in Earth's atmosphere, falls with altitude. Lapse rate arises from the word lapse, in the sense of a gradual fall. In dry air, the adiabatic lapse rate is 9.8 °C/km.
A hygrometer is an instrument used to measure the amount of water vapor in air, in soil, or in confined spaces. Humidity measurement instruments usually rely on measurements of some other quantities such as temperature, pressure, mass, a mechanical or electrical change in a substance as moisture is absorbed. By calibration and calculation, these measured quantities can lead to a measurement of humidity. Modern electronic devices use temperature of condensation, or changes in electrical capacitance or resistance to measure humidity differences. A crude hygrometer was invented by Leonardo da Vinci in 1480. Major leaps came forward during the 1600s; Francesco Folli invented a more practical version of the device, while Robert Hooke improved a number of meteorological devices including the hygrometer. A more modern version was created by Swiss polymath Johann Heinrich Lambert in 1755. Later, in the year 1783, Swiss physicist and Geologist Horace Bénédict de Saussure invented the first hygrometer using human hair to measure humidity.
An evaporative cooler is a device that cools air through the evaporation of water. Evaporative cooling differs from other air conditioning systems, which use vapor-compression or absorption refrigeration cycles. Evaporative cooling uses the fact that water will absorb a relatively large amount of heat in order to evaporate. The temperature of dry air can be dropped significantly through the phase transition of liquid water to water vapor (evaporation). This can cool air using much less energy than refrigeration. In extremely dry climates, evaporative cooling of air has the added benefit of conditioning the air with more moisture for the comfort of building occupants.
Psychrometrics, psychrometry, and hygrometry are names for the field of engineering concerned with the physical and thermodynamic properties of gas-vapor mixtures. The term comes from the Greek psuchron (ψυχρόν) meaning "cold" and metron (μέτρον) meaning "means of measurement".
The Penman equation describes evaporation (E) from an open water surface, and was developed by Howard Penman in 1948. Penman's equation requires daily mean temperature, wind speed, air pressure, and solar radiation to predict E. Simpler Hydrometeorological equations continue to be used where obtaining such data is impractical, to give comparable results within specific contexts, e.g. humid vs arid climates.
Wingtip vortices are circular patterns of rotating air left behind a wing as it generates lift. One wingtip vortex trails from the tip of each wing. Wingtip vortices are sometimes named trailing or lift-induced vortices because they also occur at points other than at the wing tips. Indeed, vorticity is trailed at any point on the wing where the lift varies span-wise ; it eventually rolls up into large vortices near the wingtip, at the edge of flap devices, or at other abrupt changes in wing planform.
The Clausius–Clapeyron relation, named after Rudolf Clausius and Benoît Paul Émile Clapeyron, is a way of characterizing a discontinuous phase transition between two phases of matter of a single constituent. The relevance to climatology is that the water-holding capacity of the atmosphere increases by about 7% for every 1 °C rise in temperature.
In thermal physics and thermodynamics, the heat capacity ratio, also known as the adiabatic index, the ratio of specific heats, or Laplace's coefficient, is the ratio of the heat capacity at constant pressure to heat capacity at constant volume. It is sometimes also known as the isentropic expansion factor and is denoted by γ (gamma) for an ideal gas or κ (kappa), the isentropic exponent for a real gas. The symbol γ is used by aerospace and chemical engineers.
Vapour-pressure deficit, or VPD, is the difference (deficit) between the amount of moisture in the air and how much moisture the air can hold when it is saturated. Once air becomes saturated, water will condense out to form clouds, dew or films of water over leaves. It is this last instance that makes VPD important for greenhouse regulation. If a film of water forms on a plant leaf, it becomes far more susceptible to rot. On the other hand, as the VPD increases, the plant needs to draw more water from its roots. In the case of cuttings, the plant may dry out and die. For this reason the ideal range for VPD in a greenhouse is from 0.45 kPa to 1.25 kPa, ideally sitting at around 0.85 kPa. As a general rule, most plants grow well at VPDs of between 0.8 and 0.95 kPa.
The wet-bulb temperature (WBT) is the temperature read by a thermometer covered in water-soaked cloth over which air is passed. At 100% relative humidity, the wet-bulb temperature is equal to the air temperature ; at lower humidity the wet-bulb temperature is lower than dry-bulb temperature because of evaporative cooling.
The lifted condensation level or lifting condensation level (LCL) is formally defined as the height at which the relative humidity (RH) of an air parcel will reach 100% with respect to liquid water when it is cooled by dry adiabatic lifting. The RH of air increases when it is cooled, since the amount of water vapor in the air remains constant, while the saturation vapor pressure decreases almost exponentially with decreasing temperature. If the air parcel is lifting further beyond the LCL, water vapor in the air parcel will begin condensing, forming cloud droplets. The LCL is a good approximation of the height of the cloud base which will be observed on days when air is lifted mechanically from the surface to the cloud base.
Sigma heat, denoted , is a measure of the specific energy of humid air. It is used in the field of mining engineering for calculations relating to the temperature regulation of mine air. Sigma heat is sometimes called total heat, although total heat may instead mean enthalpy.
Water activity (aw) is the partial vapor pressure of water in a solution divided by the standard state partial vapor pressure of water. In the field of food science, the standard state is most often defined as the partial vapor pressure of pure water at the same temperature. Using this particular definition, pure distilled water has a water activity of exactly one. As temperature increases, aw typically increases, except in some products with crystalline salt or sugar.
The Cromer cycle is a thermodynamic cycle that uses a desiccant to interact with higher relative humidity air leaving a cold surface. When a system is taken through a series of different states and finally returned to its initial state, a thermodynamic cycle is said to have occurred. The desiccant absorbs moisture from the air leaving the cold surface, releasing heat and drying the air, which can be used in a process requiring dry air. The desiccant is then dried by an air stream at a lower relative humidity, where the desiccant gives up its moisture by evaporation, increasing the air's relative humidity and cooling it. This cooler, moister air can then be presented to the same cold surface as above to take it below its dew point and dry it further, or it can be expunged from the system.