By John P. Rafferty

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The saturation deficit has the particular utility of being proportional to the evaporation capability of the air. The saturation deficit can be expressed as and, because the saturation vapour pressure ew rises with rising temperature, the same relative humidity will correspond to a greater saturation deficit and evaporation at warm temperatures. 24 7 Climate 7 Humidity and Climate The small amount of water in atmospheric vapour, relative to water on Earth, belies its importance. Compared with one unit of water in the air, the seas contain at least 100,000 units, the great glaciers 1,500, the porous earth nearly 200, and the rivers and lakes 4 or 5.

Altostratus c. Nimbostratus 3. 2 miles a. Stratocumulus b. Stratus c. Cumulus d. Cumulonimbus Heights given are approximate averages for temperate latitudes. Clouds of each genus are generally lower in the polar regions and higher in the tropics. Four principal classes are recognized when clouds are classified according to the kind of air motions that produce them: (1) layer clouds formed by the widespread regular ascent of air, (2) layer clouds formed by widespread irregular stirring or turbulence, (3) cumuliform clouds formed by penetrative convection, and (4) orographic clouds formed by the ascent of air over hills and mountains.

Ideally, it is also the temperature of fog or cloud formation. The clear meaning of dew point suggests a means of measuring humidity. A dew-point hygrometer was invented in 1751. For this instrument, cold water was added to water in a vessel until dew formed on the vessel, and the temperature of the vessel, the dew point, provided a direct index of humidity. The greatest use of the condensation hygrometer has been to measure humidity in the upper atmosphere, where a vapour pressure of less than a thousandth millibar makes other means impractical.

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