This information is designed to belie the misconception that the capacity of air to hold water vapor is temperature dependent and that air can become saturated with water vapor. The temperature of a cloud droplet or ice crystal will be nearly the same as that of the air, so people imagine that somehow the air was to blame. But, if the other gases of the air were removed, leaving everything else the same, condensation and evaporation would proceed as before and the air was irrelevant to the behavior of the water molecules. It is therefore not correct to assign the behavior of water to an invented holding capacity of the air.
Intended for grade levels:
Type of resource:
No specific technical requirements, just a browser required
Cost / Copyright:
This page is prepared by Alistair B. Fraser who retains copyright to the material (unless otherwise acknowledged). However, as the object of the material is educational - to replace bad science with good science - the material can be freely used for non-commercial purposes, with the proviso that any use of Frasers images must be credited with (c) Alistair B. Fraser, and any quotations must bear attribution.
DLESE Catalog ID: DLESE-000-000-006-652
This resource is referenced by 'Bad Meteorology'
Resource contact / Creator / Publisher:
Author: Prof Alistair B. Fraser
Pennsylvania State University, Department of Meteorology