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You are watching: Weather station measurements indicate that the dew point

When you end up this page, friend should have the ability to discuss temperature, dew point, visibility and also their systems of measurement. Friend should likewise be able to identify and interpret temperature, dew point, visibility, and also present weather (obstructions come visibility) top top a terminal model.


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A sample of a station version with temperature, dew point, visibility, and present weather boxed in red.

For meteorologists, the an initial step in examining the setting is making observations. Commonly, meteorologists screen these monitorings in something called a station model (check the end the instance on the right), i m sorry is a graphical theme showing existing weather problems at a weather station (often located at one airport). End the next couple of sections, I"m going to present you to the key variables shown on the terminal model and also show you how to translate one. On this page, we"re walk to focus on temperature, dew point, visibility, and also "present weather" (obstructions to visibility), which I"ve put in a red box in the station design on the right.

I"ll briefly talk about each variable (what the is and its typical units of measurement), and also then I"ll discuss how you deserve to interpret every one ~ above a terminal model. Let"s start with other I"m certain you"re familiar with--temperature.

Temperature: when you most likely think the temperature as "how hot or cold something is," that"s a pretty ambiguous definition (since "hot" and also "cold" are somewhat subjective). Much more precisely, temperature is a measure of energy. You see, air molecules space restless small lumps that matter, continually vibrating, wriggling and bumping right into their numerous neighbors. Together air temperature increases, the molecular run becomes increasingly frenetic. In ~ a temperature the 72 levels Fahrenheit, the average rate of air molecules is about 1,000 miles an hour, i beg your pardon translates into ample kinetic power (energy of motion). Thus, air temperature is a measure of the mean kinetic power of air molecules.

In the joined States, we frequently express temperature using the Fahrenheit temperature scale, but most countries in the civilization use the Celsius temperature scale (undoubtedly, you"ve heard temperature to express in "degrees Fahrenheit" or "degrees Celsius" before). By the way, if you ever need to convert between the two scales, the national Weather service temperature counter calculator is great!

To provide you some weather context, the phibìc American all-time marks for highest and lowest temperatures are, respectively, 134 levels Fahrenheit (56.7 levels Celsius) in California"s fatality Valley, and also minus 81.4 levels Fahrenheit (minus 63 levels Celsius) in ~ the town of Snag in the Yukon territory of Canada. You may also be familiar with part (non-weather) common temperature markers:

100 degrees Celsius (212 levels Fahrenheit) is the boiling point of water37 levels Celsius (98.6 degrees Fahrenheit) coincides to regular body temperature22.2 levels Celsius (72 degrees Fahrenheit) to represent the "ideal" room temperature0 degrees Celsius (32 degrees Fahrenheit) is the melting suggest of ice

There are various other temperature scales besides Celsius and Fahrenheit. For example, there"s the Kelvin range (sometimes dubbed the "absolute temperature scale"). Please keep in mind that the number of kelvins = the variety of degrees Celsius + 273.15. So, the melting point of water is 273.15 kelvins and also the boiling allude of water, at typical pressure, is 373.15 kelvins. For the record, it"s bad kind to to speak "degrees kelvin." Indeed, the proper way to express the devices of pure temperature is just "kelvins." The Kelvin range is used commonly in the physical sciences, and in fact it"s the many direct means to define the relationship in between the average speed of waiting molecules and also their temperature (higher temperatures = faster average molecule speeds).


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On a terminal model, analysis the temperature is nice easy. The number situated in the upper-left edge of the version is the station temperature express in degrees Fahrenheit (or Celsius, relying on the country of origin). In the case of the station version on the right, the temperature is 52 levels Fahrenheit. Uneven otherwise indicated, you have the right to assume in this course that we"re using levels Fahrenheit on the terminal model.

Dew Point: by definition, the dew allude is the approximate temperature come which the water vapor (the gaseous type of water) in the air must be cooled (at consistent pressure) in order because that it come condense into liquid water drops. We"re walk to speak a lot an ext about dew suggest later on, but for now, emphasis on the fact that dew allude is a temperature, so it"s frequently expressed in degrees Fahrenheit or Celsius.

As it turns out, the dew point temperature is also an pure measure of the lot of water vapor present. The higher the concentration that water vapor, the greater the dew point, and also as such, the dew point affects the method the wait “feels” – whether it be dried or muggy. Since our skin temperature is regulated to some degree by evaporation the sweat, it would certainly be logical the we would certainly be influenced to some level by the dew allude temperature. Certainly, describing exactly how something “feels” deserve to be a little bit dicey in a science course since it’s a rather subjective topic, however examine the table below for a rough guide on just how the air might “feel” based on dew suggest temperature.

A general level of human comfort versus assorted dew allude temperatures.Dew PointGeneral level the comfort
60 degreesFor many people, the wait starts to feel a tad "muggy" or "sticky."
65 degreesThe wait starts to feel "muggy" or "sticky."
70 degreesThe wait is sultry and also tropical and generally uncomfortable.
75 degrees or higherThe waiting is oppressive and stifling.

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Finding the dew allude on a station version is likewise pretty easy. The number located in the lower-left edge of the model is the terminal dew allude in levels Fahrenheit (or Celsius depending on the country of origin). In the case of the station design on the right, the temperature is 46 degrees Fahrenheit.

Visibility and also Present Weather: I"m going come cover this two monitorings together since they"re extremely related. Meteorologists are really interested in the horizontal visibility (essentially, how much you deserve to see) due to the fact that it has major implications for transportation. If visibility is very low, conditions can be fairly hazardous for vehicle drivers or landing aircraft!

Horizontal visibility can run the gamut. Top top a perfectly clean day, friend can"t watch forever, however visibility can reach about 100 mile in the mountainous west U.S. Top top the other hand, visibility deserve to lower to close to zero in heavy, "pea-soup" fog, fierce punch and/or fall snow, punch sand/dust, smoke, etc. On a station model, the visibility is to express in miles in the United states (you deserve to assume we"re utilizing miles in this course, unless detailed otherwise), and also is located below and also to the left the the temperature.


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On the annotated station version to the right, I"ve labeled the visibility (1 1/2 miles, in this case). You re welcome note, however, that if visibility is not substantially reduced, that is often omitted native the station model. However, if visibility is reduced to 7 miles or less, the offending obstruction come visibility ("present weather") is also included in the terminal model, immediately to the ideal of the visibility and just below the temperature. When there room many, many feasible symbols, below are the most commonly used symbols for existing weather. In the sample station design to the right, the 3 "dots" indicate that middle rain was the culprit, to reduce visibility to one-and-a-half miles. If you"re interested, here"s a an extremely comprehensive list reflecting the wide range of possible present weather icons (although some of these very rarely acquire used).

Because of the varying degrees that precipitation have the right to reduce horizontal visibility, the qualifiers of light, moderate, or heavy are included (such together "light rain" or "heavy snow"). I should also note the if precipitation is falling, it is always reported ~ above the terminal model, no matter exactly how light or how little it influence visibility. But, as I stated before, non-precipitating obstructions come visibility (fog, haze, and also smoke are probably the most common) are only reported in the station design when visibility autumn to 7 miles or less.

Ultimately, while friend don"t should memorize every solitary symbol for present weather, you must spend some time familiarizing yourself through the typical ones, and also you should certainly memorize the place of temperature, dew point, visibility, and also present weather top top the station model. To aid you get started, take part time to examine the Key Skill box below.


Key Skill...

Below in an interactive station version that permits you come input your own data, and also the station version will readjust so you deserve to see just how it looks. The tool contains some components of the station design that we haven"t talked around yet, however for now, emphasis on transforming the temperature, dew point, visibility, and obstruction come visibility (present weather) to see just how the station model changes. This will aid you cement wherein each of these is located on the terminal model, and aid you come to be familiar with the common symbols for existing weather.

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You can likewise look in ~ the most current surface observations and also you should have the ability to pick the end the temperature and dew suggest at each station (many may not have actually visibility or present weather plotted).