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Dew point
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The dew point is the temperature to which a given parcel of air must be cooled, at constant
barometric pressure, for water vapor to condense into water. The condensed water is called dew. The
dew point is a saturation point. When the dew point temperature falls below freezing it is often called
the frost point, as the water vapor no longer creates dew but instead creates frost or hoarfrost by
The dew point is associated with relative humidity. A high relative humidity indicates that the dew point
is closer to the current air temperature. Relative humidity of 100% indicates the dew point is equal to
the current temperature and the air is maximally saturated with water. When the dew point remains
constant and temperature increases, relative humidity will decrease. [1]



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At a given barometric pressure, independent of temperature, the dew point indicates the mole fraction
of water vapor in the air, and therefore determines the specific humidity of the air. The dew point is an
important statistic for general aviation pilots, as it is used to calculate the likelihood of carburetor icing
and fog, and estimate the height of the cloud base.

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1 Constant pressure


2 Varying pressure

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3 Comfort range
4 Calculating the dew point
4.1 Simple approximation
4.2 Closer approximation

Special pages

5 See also

Printable version

6 References

Permanent link

7 External links

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Constant pressure
At a given barometric pressure, independent of
temperature, the dew point indicates the mole
fraction of water vapor in the air, or, put
differently, determines the specific humidity of
the air. If the barometric pressure rises without
changing this mole fraction, the dew point will
rise accordingly, and water condenses at a
higher temperature. Reducing the mole fraction,
i.e. making the air drier, will bring the dew point
back down to its initial value. In the same way,
increasing the mole fraction after a pressure
drop brings the dew point back up to its initial
level. For this reason, the same dew point in
New York, NY and Denver, CO (which is at a
much higher altitude) will imply that a higher[01.02.2010 23:20:49]


Dew point - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Norsk (bokml)

fraction of the air in Denver consists of water

vapor than in New York.

Norsk (nynorsk)

Simple English
Soran /

Ting Vit

Varying pressure


This graph shows the maximum percentage (by mass)

of water vapor that can exist in air at sea level across a
range of temperatures. The behavior of water vapor does
not depend on the presence of other gases in air. The
formation of dew would occur at the dew point even if the
only gas present is water vapor.

At a given temperature but independent of

barometric pressure, the dew point indicates
the absolute humidity of the air. If the
temperature rises without changing the absolute humidity, the dew point will rise accordingly, and water
condenses at a higher pressure. Reducing the absolute humidity will bring the dew point back down to
its initial value. In the same way, increasing the absolute humidity after a temperature drop brings the
dew point back up to its initial level. Coming back to the New York - Denver example, this means that if
the dew point and temperature in both cities are the same, then the mass of water vapor per cubic
meter of air will also be the same in those cities.

Comfort range


Humans tend to react with discomfort to a high dew point (i.e. greater than 15 C (59 F)), as it
interferes with the body's normal process of perspiring (producing sweat) to cool down. High relative
humidity (which results in a high dew point) impedes the evaporation of sweat and reduces the
effectiveness of evaporative cooling. As a result, the body may overheat, resulting in discomfort.
Discomfort also exists when dealing with low dew points (i.e below 30 C (22.0 F)). The drier air
can cause skin to crack and become irritated more easily.
Lower dew points, less than 10 C (50 F), correlate with lower ambient temperatures, and the body
requires less cooling. A lower dew point can go along with a high temperature only at extremely low
relative humidity (see graph below), allowing for relative effective cooling.
Those accustomed to continental climates often begin to feel uncomfortable when the dew point
reaches between 15 and 20 C (59 and 68 F). Most inhabitants of these areas will consider dew points
above 21 C (70 F) oppressive.
Dew Point

Dew Point

Human Perception [1]

>Higher than >Higher than Severely high. Even deadly for asthma
related illnesses

Rel. Humidity at 90 F
(32 C)
65% and higher

24 - 26C

75 - 80F

Extremely uncomfortable, fairly oppressive 62%

21 - 24C

70 - 74F

Very humid, quite uncomfortable[01.02.2010 23:20:49]

52% - 60%

Dew point - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

18 - 21C

65 - 69F

Somewhat uncomfortable for most people

at upper edge

44% - 52%

16 - 18C

60 - 64F

OK for most, but all perceive the humidity

at upper edge

37% - 46%

13 - 16C

55 - 59F


31% - 41%

10 - 12C

50 - 54F

Very comfortable

31% - 37%



A bit dry for some


A dew point of 35 C (95 F) was reported in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia at 3 p.m. July 8, 2003. The
temperature was 42 C (108 F), resulting in an apparent temperature or heat index of 80 C
(176 F). [2]

Calculating the dew point


see also Psychrometric_chart for bldg. engineer's graphic method

A well-known approximation used to calculate the dew point Td
given the relative humidity RH and the actual temperature T of air is:


where the temperatures are in degrees Celsius and "ln" refers to the
natural logarithm. The constants are:
a = 17.271
b = 237.7 C
This expression is based on the August-Roche-Magnus
approximation for the saturation vapor pressure of water in air as a

Graph of the dependence of the

dewpoint upon air temperature for
several levels of relative humidity.
Based on the August-RocheMagnus approximation.

function of temperature.[3] It is considered valid for

0 C < T < 60 C
1% < RH < 100%
0 C < Td < 50 C

Simple approximation


There is also a very simple approximation which allows conversion between the dew point, the dry bulb
temperature and the relative humidity, which is accurate to within about 1 C as long as the relative
humidity is above 50%.
The equation is:


RH = 100 5(T Td ).[01.02.2010 23:20:49]

Dew point - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This can be expressed as a simple rule of thumb:

For every 1 C difference in the dew point and dry bulb temperatures, the relative humidity decreases by
5%, starting with RH=100% when the dew point equals the dry bulb temperature.

where in this case RH is in percent, and T and Td are in degrees Celsius.

The derivation of this, a discussion of its accuracy, comparisons to other approximations, and more
information on the history and applications of the dew point are given in the Bulletin of the American
Meteorological Society. [4]
In Fahrenheit.

For example, a relative humidity of 100% means dew point is same as air temp. For 90% RH dew point
is 3 degrees Fahrenheit lower than air temp. For every 10 percent lower, dew point drops 3 F.
TFd is in degrees Fahrenheit; RH same as above.

Closer approximation


A calculation used by NOAA is:[5]

RH is relative humidity and

Td is dew point in degrees Celsius

T and Tw are the dry-bulb and wet-bulb temperatures respectively in degrees Celsius
e s is the saturated water vapor pressure, in units of millibar, at the dry-bulb temperature
e w is the saturated water vapor pressure, in units of millibar, at the wet-bulb temperature
e is the actual water vapor pressure, in units of millibar
psta is "station pressure" (absolute barometric pressure at the site that humidity is being calculated
for) in units of millibar (which is also hPa).
for greater accuracy use the Arden Buck Equation to find the water vapor pressures

See also


Carburetor heat
Hydrocarbon dew point
Thermodynamic diagrams
psychrometrics ...for the handy 1904 chart that reveals all the 'thermodynamically interdependent'
properties of moist air (at a glance).[01.02.2010 23:20:49]

Dew point - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia



1. ^ a b Horstmeyer, Steve (2006-08-15). "Relative Humidity....Relative to What? The Dew Point Temperature...a
better approach"

. Steve Horstmeyer, Meteorologist, WKRC TV, Cincinnati, Ohio, USA. Retrieved 2009-08-20.

2. ^ Burt, Christopher C.. Extreme Weather: A Guide & Record Book

. W. W. Norton & Company. ISBN


. Paroscientific, Inc. 4500 148th Ave. N.E. Redmond,

WA 98052. 2007-09-13.
4. ^ M. G. Lawrence, "The relationship between relative humidity and the dew point temperature in moist air: A simple
conversion and applications", Bull. Am. Meteorol. Soc., 86, 225-233, 2005
5. ^

External links


Free Dewpoint Calculator

- Shaw Moisture Meters

Free Windows Program, Dewpoint Units Conversion Calculator

- PhyMetrix

Free dewpoint calculator

What is the dew point?
NOAA Dew point
dew point formula
Windows program for Heat Index, Dew Point, etc
Often Needed Answers about Temp, Humidity & Dew Point
FREE Humidity & Dewpoint Calculator

from the sci.geo.meteorology Usenet

- Vaisala

Meteorological data and variables

v d e




Adiabatic processes Lapse rate Lightning Surface solar radiation Surface weather analysis
Visibility Vorticity Wind
Cloud Cloud condensation nuclei Fog Precipitation Water vapor
Convective available potential energy (CAPE) Convective inhibition (CIN) Convective instability
Convective temperature (T c ) Helicity Lifted index (LI) Bulk Richardson number (BRN)
Dew point (T d ) Equivalent temperature (T e ) Forest fire weather index Haines Index
Heat index Humidex Humidity Potential temperature ()
Equivalent potential temperature (e ) Sea surface temperature (SST) Wet-bulb temperature
Wet-bulb potential temperature Wind chill
Atmospheric pressure Baroclinity Barotropicity

Categories: Atmospheric thermodynamics | Psychrometrics

This page was last modified on 29 January 2010 at 22:16.

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