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What happens to the weather when the humidity goes up? How are temperature and hunidity related? Do relative humidity and cloud coverage affect each other at all?

Humidity is a measure of the amount of water air can hold. Scientists can use the temperature to find out how much water the air can hold. The higher the temperature, the more water! For example, if the relative humidity is 100% then that means the air is holding as much water as it can at that temperature.

Think of the air as a glass and you want to know how much water it can hold. If you add more water to the glass, then the relative humidity will go up. The air acts in the same way.

When the humidity is high, there is enough water in the air to make rain or snow. Humidity can change a lot during the day. Why? A change in temperature causes a change in pressure. If the humidity was 100% and the temperature goes down, the air pushes together and squeezes out water. This is our rain and snow!

Humidity is important for clouds too because they are made of water and ice. If the humidity is high, there is a lot of water that can be used to make clouds. The larger the amount of water, the more clouds we can have.

Submitted by Drew, Misha, Jenna M., Jenna O., Courtney, Jessica, (Minnesota, USA)
(May 8, 1999)

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Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part is sponsored in part through grants from federal agencies (NASA and NOAA), and partnerships with affiliated organizations, including the American Geophysical Union, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Earth System Information Partnership, the American Meteorological Society, the National Center for Science Education, and TERC. The American Geophysical Union and the American Geosciences Institute are Windows to the Universe Founding Partners. NESTA welcomes new Institutional Affiliates in support of our ongoing programs, as well as collaborations on new projects. Contact NESTA for more information. NASA ESIP NCSE HHMI AGU AGI AMS NOAA