Here is a listing of the most
commonly used terms and definitions associated with Weather.
Absolute humidity: The mass of water vapor in a given volume of air( i.e., density of water vapor in a given parcel, usually expressed in grams per cubic meter
Actual vapor pressure: The partial pressure exerted by the water vapor present in a parcel. Water in a gaseous state (i.e. water vapor) exerts a pressure just like the atmospheric air. Vapor pressure is also measured in millibars.
Condensation: The phase change of a gas to a liquid. In the atmosphere, the change of water vapor to liquid water.
Dewpoint: the temperature air would have to be cooled to in order for saturation to occur. The dewpoint temperature assumes there is no change in air pressure or moisture content of the air.
Dry bulb temperature: The actual air temperature. See wet bulb temperature below.
Freezing: The phase change of liquid water into ice.
Evaporation: The phase change of liquid water into water vapor.
Melting: The phase change of ice into liquid water.
Mixing ratio: The mass of water vapor in a parcel divided by the mass of the dry air in the parcel (not including water vapor)
Relative humidity: The amount of water vapor actually in the air divided by the amount of water vapor the air can hold. Relative humidity is expressed as a percentage and can be computed in a variety of ways. One way is to divide the actual vapor pressure by the saturation vapor pressure and then multiply by 100 to convert to a percent. Click here for text explaining this in more detail.
Saturation of air: The condition under which the amount of water vapor in the air is the maximum possible at the existing temperature and pressure. Condensation or sublimation will begin if the temperature falls or water vapor is added to the air.
Saturation vapor pressure: The maximum partial pressure that water vapor molecules would exert if the air were saturated with vapor at a given temperature. Saturation vapor pressure is directly proportional to the temperature.
Specific humidity: The mass of water vapor in a parcel divided by the total mass of the air in the parcel (including water vapor)
Sublimation: In U.S. meteorology, the phase change of water vapor in the air directly into ice or the chance of ice directly into water vapor. Chemists, and sometimes meteorologists, refer to the vapor to solid phase change as "deposition."
Wet bulb temperature: The lowest temperature that can be obtained by evaporating water into the air at constant pressure. The name comes from the technique of putting a wet cloth over the bulb of a mercury thermometer and then blowing air over the cloth until the water evaporates. Since evaporation takes up heat, the thermometer will cool to a lower temperature than a thermometer with a dry bulb at the same time and place. Wet bulb temperatures can be used along with the dry bulb temperature to calculate dew point or relative humidity.
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