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Atmospheric moisture Gas laws Air & vapor pressure Moisture content in air Evaporation/condensation

The ideal gas law

The ideal gas law:
P = RT

P = pressure [mb] = density of gas [g/cm3] T = absolute temperature [K] R = gas constant (depends on the molecular weight of the gas and the other units) Decrease in pressure Decrease in temperature and density (and vice versa). Water vapor can be considered an ideal gas

Dalton's law
Dalton's Law of Partial Pressures: Each gas in a mixture creates pressure as if the other gases were not present. The total pressure is the sum of the pressures created by the gases in the mixture
Total air pressure (P) is the sum of dry air pressure (pd) and water vapor pressure (e). Water vapor pressure is typically 1-2% of total air pressure.

Example
Determine the mass of 1 m3 of dry air at 20C and a pressure of 1013 mb (= 1 atmosphere). Solution: The dry air gas constant is given at page 21 as R = 2.87x103 mb cm3/g K From the ideal gas law:
P 1013 d = = RT 2870 (273 + 20) = 0.0012 g / cm3

1 m3 of dry air weighs 1.2 kg.

Specific humidity
Definition: Mass of water vapor contained in a unit of moist air [g/g]. It can be calculated as w/ m. Calculation:
Ideal gas law: P = RT
pd Pe d = = RdT RdT e 0.622e w = = RwT RdT [Rw = Rd / 0.622]

Dry air:

Vapor:

Specific humidity
Density of moist air: m = d + w = 1 [P 0.378e ] RdT

Saturation vapor pressure & dew point temperature

Saturation vapor pressure (= maximum vapor pressure)
4278.6 es = 2.7489 10 exp T + 242.79 d
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(Eq. 1.6)

Saturation vapor pressure depends only on temperature. It increases with temperature.

Dew point:
Temperature to which a parcel of moist air would have to be cooled (under constant pressure and water content) before condensation starts.

Relative humidity
actual vapor pressure e RH = = saturation vapor pressure es

Relative humidity is a measure of the degree of saturation of the air. Precipitation is associated with a relative humidity of 100%.

Example
At a weather station, the air pressure is measured to be 101.1 kPa, the air temperature is 22 C and the dew point temperature is 18 C . Calculate the corresponding a) Vapor pressure b) Relative humidity c) Specific humidity d) Air density

Solution
Conversion: 101.1 kPa = 1011 mb (Appendix B) First calculate vapor pressure e and saturation vapor pressure es using: 4278.6 es = 2.7489 10 exp T + 242.79 d
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4278.6 e = 2.7489 108 exp = 20.60 mb 18 + 242.79 4278.6 es = 2.7489 108 exp = 26.40 mb 25 + 242.79
Relative humidity = RH = 20.60/26.40 = 78%

Specific humidity:
q= 0.622 e 0.622 20.6 = P 0.378 e 1011 0.378 20.6

= 0.0128 kg water / kg air

Air density:
1 [P 0.378e ] m = w + d = RdT =

Phase change requires/produces heat (energy)

Latent heat of evaporation = Latent heat of condensation Le = Lc = 597.3 0.57 T [cal / g], T in oC Latent heat of melting / freezing: Lm = Lf = 79.7 [cal / g]

Example
Calculate the energy required to heat 1 liter of water from 0C to 100C. Then calculate the energy required to evaporate the water (at 100C).

Solution
Specific heat: energy required to raise the temperature of 1g of a substance by 1C. Specific energy of water: Cw = 1 cal/(g -O C)

1 liter of water = 1000g water. Energy required to heat 1 liter of water from 0C to 100C:

MCw T = 1000g 1 cal/(goC) 100oC = 100,000 cal

Evaporation energy Latent heat of evaporation at 100C:
Le = 597.3 0.57(100 0) = 540.3 cal/g

Required evaporation energy:

MLe = 1000g 540.3 cal/g = 540,300 cal

Measurement of vapor pressure: The psychrometer

Psychrometer:
Two identical glass thermometers One has a wet fabric applied to the liquid bulb A fan blows air over the thermometers Dry-bulb thermometer measures air temperature. Wet-bulb temperature is reduced due to evaporation.

e = ew (t tw )
t: dry-bulb temperature, [C] tw : wet-bulb temperature, [C] ew: saturation vapor pressure corresponding to the wet-bulb temperature, [mb] = 0.66 mb /oC : psychrometer constant

Sling psychrometer

Example
A psychrometer indicates a dry-bulb temperature of 40C and a wet-bulb temperature of 30C. What are the vapor pressure and the relative humidity?

Solution: Saturation vapor pressure corresponding to the wet-bulb temperature: 4278.6 8 ew = 2.7489 10 exp = 42.4 mb (T = 30) + 242.79
The psychrometer equation yields: e = ew (t tw )
= 42.4 0.66( 40 30) = 35.8 mb

The saturation vapor pressure at air temperature: 4278.6 es = 2.7489 10 exp = 73.9 mb (T = 40) + 242.79
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