Sep 23, 2017
4:36 PM


[Science]: Why does relative humidity go down when temperature rises?

Relative Humidity is the amount of water that is absorbed in air relative to the total possible amount that can be dissolved at a given temperature. As temperature rises, the air is less dense and is able to hold more evaporated water. Consequently, the relative humidity is lower, since the potential to hold more water vapor is greater.

As the temperature falls, relative humidity increases until it reaches the "dew point" - the point where condensation occurs - at 100% relative humidity. At this point, the air is fully saturated with water. At night, dew forms when the air becomes saturated at the lower temperature.

Because our bodies depend on evaporative cooling, we feel "hotter" when the humidity is high, since the evaporative cooling rate decreases as the air becomes saturated with water. (In fact, we lose quite a bit of water through our sweat glands as our system cools itself. It can be an impressive amount of water when you measure it by weighing yourself in the evening, then again in the morning.)

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