10 julio, 2024

What is Atmospheric Humidity?

The atmospheric humidity It is the amount or volume of water vapor that is present in the atmosphere. The main source of moisture in the air comes from the surface of the oceans and seas, places where water is constantly evaporating.

Other sources of atmospheric moisture come from lakes, glaciers, and rivers, as well as from evapotranspiration processes from soil, plants, and animals. Water constitutes a vital element in the atmosphere, being responsible for the most important biological, geological, meteorological, chemical and physical processes.

Water vapor is the gas that results when water changes from a liquid to a gaseous state, and can be observed in the environment in the form of mist if there is a high concentration of vapor, or in the form of clouds when the concentrations of vapor are higher.


Environmental humidity is generated by the presence of water vapor in the atmosphere.

The level of humidity in a place will depend on factors such as the composition of the air masses, the availability of water bodies, the rainfall regime, evaporation rates and the average air temperature.

When the relative humidity reaches 100%, the environment becomes a humid environment that prevents the human being from perspiring, generating a sensation of suffocating heat.

On the contrary, when the environment reaches a humidity of 0% it is a dry environment, where the transpiration process is carried out easily.

How is atmospheric humidity measured?

Humidity is mainly measured with a hygrometer.

A hygrometer (from the Greek ὑγροσία: humidity, and μέτρον: measure) or hygrograph is an instrument used to measure the degree of humidity in the air or other gases. In meteorology it is an instrument used to measure the moisture content in the atmosphere.

In physics, and especially in meteorology, it is established that for a given pressure and temperature, air has a maximum capacity to contain water vapor (saturation humidity).

The relative humidity of the air is defined as the quotient between the humidity contained in the air and the saturation humidity, expressed as a percentage. [%].

It varies between 0% (completely dry air) and 100% (completely saturated air).

Types of atmospheric humidity


It refers to the amount of water vapor found per unit volume of air in a given environment.

Absolute humidity reflects the amount of water vapor in grams, while the volume of air is usually measured in cubic meters.


This type of humidity is a reflection of the amount of water vapor that has been contained in the air. In this case the steam is usually measured in grams again, while the air is measured in kilograms.

Specific humidity refers to the amount of existing moisture by weight that is required to saturate one kilogram of dry air.


It is usually measured in percentages, expressing the relationship between the amount of water vapor present in the environment and the maximum that could exist.

This type of humidity is the one that an air mass has in relation to the greatest amount of absolute humidity that it could contain without the condensation process taking place.

Relative humidity usually increases when the ambient temperature decreases or there is an increase in the amount of water in the environment.

Effects of atmospheric humidity

Humidity is primarily responsible for making the planet habitable for living beings, playing an important role in determining the earth’s climate.

Similarly, water is at the center of all the processes that make up the weather, the hydrological cycle, atmospheric chemistry and the development of life.

Water vapor is one of the main greenhouse gases, helping to block the sun’s ultraviolet rays and trap heat from the earth.

The function of water vapor is to distribute heat in the atmosphere, since the water molecules present in the air trap the heat produced by the rebound of the sun’s rays on the earth, and then distribute it throughout the entire earth’s surface. through the hydrological process of evaporation, transpiration, condensation and precipitation.


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Absolute, specific and relative humidity. Retrieved on August 19, 2017 from ecologyhoy.com
atmospheric humidity. Retrieved on August 19, 2017 from educastur.es
RH. Retrieved on August 19, 2017 from reitec.es
Humidity. Retrieved on August 19, 2017 from www.metoffice.gov.uk/
Humidity. Retrieved on August 19, 2017 from com
The effects of excessive humidity on health. Retrieved on August 19, 2017 from airalia.es

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