Tuesday, October 2, 2017 provided an excellent example of why meteorologists turn to dewpoint temperature to get a better picture of moisture in the air. Relative humidity is a good index to monitor drying potential, disease potential, or fire risk, but relative humidity is relative to the air temperature. When the air temperature changes, the relative humidity changes. Dewpoint temperature is an absolute measure of water vapor, independent of air temperature.
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So when you think about air moisture do you think dewpoint or relative humidity? Get a group of meteorologists together and they’ll soon bring up dewpoint temperatures and its role in severe storms. Get a group of farmers together and they’ll fill you in on how they watch relative humidity for baling hay and prescribed burns.