Water vapor in the air comes from water that has evaporated from the ground. This is the stage in the water cycle right before condensation, when water condenses to form clouds. The water vapor in the ground, on plants, buildings, lakes, rivers, streams,ponds, etc. gets heated to where it evaporates into the air.
Humidity is the amount of water vapor in the air. Humidity is critical in weather forecasting. The U.S. Geological Survey estimates that the Earth has about 326 million cubic miles of water, including oceanic water, underground as well as ice. Approximately 3,100 cubic miles of this water is in the air, mostly as water vapor, but also as clouds or precipitation at any one time. The article sourced on USA Today notes, “If Earth’s air didn’t contain as much humidity as it does, our weather would be like that of Mars: No clouds (except dust), no rain, sleet or snow, no thunder and lighting, no fog. And, without all of this water in all of its forms, Earth’s life, if there were any at all, but be as hard to find as life on Mars is to find even signs of.” http://www.usatoday.com/weather/whumdef.htm Furthermore, it is important to understand humidity is a measure of the amount of water vapor in the air, not the total amount of vapor and liquid. For clouds to form and rain to begin the air must reach 100 per cent relative humidity where clouds are forming which customarily occurs when the air increases and cools. Water distilled from the rain evaporates into the air, increasing the humidity.
Humidity is important in the study of climate change as water vapor in the air is a critical link in global climate network. Water vapor is a greenhouse gas, as is carbon dioxide. Scientists have identified that human activities are affecting carbon dioxide levelsin the air which is contributing to global warming. This point will affect other current and future aspects of global climate change.
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