DEWPOINT Weather data – Derived Variables
Parameters Used: Outside Air Temperature and Outside Humidity
What is it?
Dewpoint is the temperature to which air must be cooled for saturation (100% relative humidity) to occur, providing there is no change in water content. The dewpoint is an important measurement used to predict the formation of dew, frost, and fog. If dewpoint and temperature are close together in the late afternoon when the air begins to turn colder, fog is likely during the night. Dewpoint is also a good indicator of the air’s actual water vapor content, unlike relative humidity, which is air temperature dependent.
High dewpoint indicates high vapor content; low dewpoint indicates low vapor content. In addition, a high dewpoint indicates a better chance of rain and severe thunderstorms.
Dewpoint can be used to predict the minimum overnight temperature. Provided no new fronts are expected overnight and the afternoon Relative Humidity >=50%, the afternoon’s dewpoint gives an idea of what minimum temperature to expect overnight.
Since condensation occurs when the air temperature reaches the dewpoint, and condensation releases heat into the air, reaching the dewpoint halts the cooling process.
The following method is used to calculate dewpoint:
v = RH*0.01*6.112 * exp [(17.62*T)/(T + 243.12)],
this equation will provide the vapor pressure value (in pressure units) where T is the air temperature in C and RH is the relative humidity,
Now dewpoint, Td, can be found:
Numerator = 243.12*(ln v) – 440.1
Denominator = 19.43 – ln v
Td = Numerator/Denominator
This equation is an approximation of the Goff & Gratch equation, which is extremely complex. This equation is one recommended by the World Meteorological Organization for saturation of air with respect to water.
“Guide to Meteorological Instruments and Methods of Observation“. World Meteorological Organization, Geneva, Switzerland, 6th Ed. 1996.
“Smithsonian Meteorological Tables“. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, DC, 4th Ed. 1968.
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