Relative humidity

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relative humidity

The ratio of the vapor pressure to the saturation vapor pressure with respect to water.

This quantity is alternatively defined by the World Meteorological Organization as the ratio of the mixing ratio to the saturation mixing ratio. These two definitions yield almost identical numerical values. Relative humidity is usually expressed in percent and can be computed from psychrometric data. Unless specified otherwise, relative humidity is reported with respect to water rather than ice because most hygrometers are sensitive to relative humidity with respect to water even at subfreezing temperatures, and because the air can easily become supersaturated with respect to ice, which would require three digits in coded messages for relative humidity with respect to ice.

Retallach, B. J. 1974. Physical Meteorology. p. 83.


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