Relative humidity is a misleading statistic. Shouldn’t water content be presented some other way?

Dear Tom,

Relative humidity is a misleading statistic. Shouldn’t water content be presented some other way?

Raymond Mastook

Dear Raymond,
Relative humidity has been used to describe moisture levels in the atmosphere for so long that it has become the most common (though often misunderstood) moisture measurement. And there is truth to what you say.

One way to measure moisture content is in absolute terms, figuring out how much water could be physically measured if we squeezed all of it out of the air. We actually do that, using “precipitable water,” which expresses the total amount of water in a column of air. Another measure of water content, now coming into more frequent use, is the dew point, which is the temperature at which relative humidity hits 100 percent. Dew point temperature is dependent only on water content.