Atmospheric Humidity. Chapter 4

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1 Atmospheric Humidity Chapter 4

2 Circulation of Water in the Atmosphere A general definition of humidity is the amount of water vapor in the air. Remember, humidity is not constant through time or space, there is constant circulation of water through the hydrologic cycle.

3 Stepped Art

4 The Many Phases of Water Phase is related to molecular motion, an increase or decrease in motion creates a phase change. Ice is the coolest/slowest phase Water vapor is the warmest/fastest phase

5

6 Evaporation, Condensation, & Saturation Evaporation is the change of liquid into a gas and requires heat. Condensation is the change of a gas into a liquid and releases heat. Condensation nuclei a surface to condense on Saturation is an equilibrium condition in which for each molecule that evaporates, one condenses.

7 (a) Water molecules at the surface of the water are evaporating (changing from liquid into vapor) and condensing (changing from vapor into liquid). Since more molecules are evaporating than condensing, net evaporation is occurring. (b) When the number of water molecules escaping from the liquid (evaporating) balances those returning (condensing), the air above the liquid is saturated with water vapor.

8 Condensation is more likely to occur as the air cools. (a) In the warm air, fast-moving H 2 O vapor molecules tend to bounce away after colliding with nuclei. (b) (b) In the cool air, slow-moving vapor molecules are more likely to join together on nuclei. The condensing of many billions of water molecules produces tiny liquid water droplets.

9 Humidity Any of a number of ways of specifying the amount of water vapor in the air.

10 Absolute humidity = mass of water vapor Water vapor density volume of air Not commonly used due to frequent change of volume g/m 3

11 With the same amount of water vapor in a parcel of air, - an increase in volume decreases absolute humidity, - whereas a decrease in volume increases absolute humidity.

12 Specific Humidity= mass of water vapor total mass of air Mixing ratio = mass of water vapor mass of dry air expressed in g/kg

13 Neither specific humidity, nor mixing ratio, changes with volume must add or subtract water vapor to the parcel of air

14 The average specific humidity for each latitude. The highest average values are observed in the tropics and the lowest values in polar regions.

15 Vapor pressure- the pressure exerted by water vapor molecules in an air parcel (Dalton s Law of Partial Pressure) water vapor s fraction of the total vapor pressure (1% or so), is called the actual vapor pressure 0f appx.1000mb total vapor pressure (all gasses) about 10mb is water vapor The more water molecules, the higher the actual vapor pressure Saturation vapor pressure is the vapor pressure at which an air parcel will be saturated, and it changes with temperature

16 Saturation vapor pressure increases with increasing temperature. At a temperature of 10 C, the saturation vapor pressure is about 12 mb, whereas at 30 C it is about 42 mb. The insert illustrates that the saturation vapor pressure over water is greater than the saturation vapor pressure over ice.

17 Relative Humidity = Actual Vapor Pressure x 100 Saturation Vapor Pressure RH can be changed two ways: Change the water vapor content Change in air temperature Decrease in temperature causes an increase in relative humidity (inverse relationship).

18 (a) At the same air temperature, an increase in the water vapor content of the air increases the relative humidity as the air approaches saturation. (b) With the same water vapor content, an increase in air temperature causes a decrease in relative humidity as the air moves farther away from being saturated.

19 Problem: It is early morning and the outside air is saturated. T = 10 deg C, RH= 100% Using Fig.4.10, What is the saturation vapor pressure? What must the actual vapor pressure be? By afternoon it warms to 30 deg C, What is the relative humidity now?

20 Relative Humidity vs Dew Point Dew point is the temperature at which saturation occurs Cool an air parcel to dew point and liquid water condenses Dew point is a good measure of actual water vapor content Relative humidity indicates how close to saturation Dew point indicates the amount of water vapor High dew points indicate high water vapor content Low dew points indicate lower water vapor content

21 When the air is cool (morning), the relative humidity is high. When the air is warm (afternoon), the relative humidity is low. These conditions exist in clear weather when the air is calm or of constant wind speed. The relative humidity changed with T, but the dew point T does not.

22 On a calm, clear night, the lower the dew-point temperature, the lower the expected minimum temperature. With the same initial evening air temperature (80ºF) and with no change in weather conditions during the night, as the dew point lowers, the expected minimum temperature lowers. This situation occurs because a lower dew point means that there is less water vapor in the air to absorb and radiate infrared energy back to the surface. More infrared energy from the surface is able to escape into space, producing more rapid radiational cooling at the surface. (Dots in each diagram represent the amount of water vapor in the air. Red wavy arrows represent infrared (IR) radiation.)

23 Average surface dew-point temperatures ( F) for (a) January and for (b) July.

24 Which is drier? The polar air has the higher relative humidity, whereas the desert air, with the higher dew point, contains more water vapor.

25 Inside the cloud the air temperature (T) and dew point (Td) are the same, the air is saturated, and the relative humidity (RH) is 100 percent. However, at the surface where the air temperature and dew point are not the same, the air is not saturated (even though it is raining), and the relative humidity is considerably less than 100 percent.

26 Comparing Humidity Relative humidity averaged for latitudes north and south of the equator.

27 Air from the Pacific Ocean is hot and dry over land, whereas air from the Gulf of Mexico is hot and muggy over land. For each city, T represents the air temperature, T d the dew point, and RH the relative humidity. (All data represent conditions during a July afternoon at 3 p.m. local time.)

28 Computing RH% and Dew Point = RH=e/e s x100

29 Relative Humidity in the Home Due to an increase in temperature in a heated home there is a decrease in relative humidity, causing more evaporation from body, plants, etc Humidifier, chapped lips Evaporative coolers Swamp coolers

30 Humidity Relative humidity & human comfort It s not the heat, it s the humidity. High relative humidity equates to less evaporative cooling. Sweat cannot evaporate and cool the body Wet bulb temperature lowest T reached by evaporating water into the air Not same as dew point T Heat Index combines air T and RH

31 Air temperature ( F) and relative humidity are combined to determine an apparent temperature or heat index (HI). An air temperature of 96 F with a relative humidity of 55 percent produces an apparent temperature (HI) of 112 F.

32

33 Humidity Measuring humidity Sling psychrometer Hygrometer

34 Is Humid Air Heavier than Dry Air? Due to the molecular weight of water as compared to nitrogen, humid air is lighter than dry air. How much does a molecule of H 2 O weigh? 1 x = 18

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