First Alert Weather In-Depth: Finding that lost winter moisture

Weather In-Depth: Finding that lost winter moisture

The News10NBC Team details breaking News, Traffic and Weather.

ROCHESTER, N.Y. – Even though it has not been a severe winter season, around the house we experience dry skin and static electricity just the same. What can really make a difference in this dry atmosphere, is a good indoor humidifier. News10NBC meterologist Glenn Johnson has one in his house and says it really is a good way to replace that lost moisture. 

The meteorologists at News10NBC have several different ways of showing specific levels of moisture. But what you see most often is dewpoint and relative humidity. Relative humidity is a ratio and can be a little deceiving as to what it is actually measuring. Let’s try to explain the concept. If we take a water molecule and we run it through air that is at 40 degrees, the relative humidity might be near 70 percent. However, if we take that same amount of moisture and run it through an air parcel that is at 60 degrees, by some estimates, we are doubling the capacity of the air to hold moisture simply by increasing the temperature by 20 degrees. In this example, the relative humidity is near 35 percent. The temperature is the critical ingredient because that determines how much moisture the air can hold or specifically it determines the capacity of the air to hold moisture. The greater the temperature, the greater the capacity.  

The practical aspect of this measurement is how it is applied to the air in your house. An example of this is outside air with a relative humidity of 70 percent, but you take that same air and you run it inside the house (a house that is heated at 67 degrees) and that brings the relative humidity down to 18 percent. So the relative humidity is really based on the rate of the evaporation and an important aspect of evaporation is the capacity. This time of the year you really have to use a humidifier to replace what is lost to the colder winter season.