Difference Between Humidity and Relative Humidity

The Weather and Climatic conditions of a place highly depend on the humidity in the atmosphere. The term humidity is connected to solar radiation and evaporation as well.


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Key Takeaways

  1. Humidity refers to the amount of water vapor in the air and is important in determining how comfortable or uncomfortable the air feels.
  2. The relative humidity is a percentage measurement that compares the current humidity level to the maximum amount of water vapor the air can hold at a specific temperature.
  3. Understanding both humidity and relative humidity can help people make informed decisions about indoor comfort, weather forecasts, and the impact of humidity on various activities.

Humidity vs Relative Humidity

The difference between Humidity and Relative Humidity is that humidity is the broader term to denote the presence of water vapour in the air while the relative humidity is the percentage of water vapour available in the volume of air.

Humidity vs Relative humidity

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Humidity is a terminology referring to the water vapour that is present in the air. It regulates the earth’s heat and keeps the living beings survive without any complications.

In simpler words, it is due to the humidity that we sweat and not because of the surrounding heat. More importantly, places close to the sea and water body are considered more humid than the continental locations.

Continental Locations: These are the places that are landlocked and are not near any water body.

It can also be observed that the places near the seashore, called as Tropical locations are prone to have a moderate temperature. At the same time, the continental locations have an extreme temperature.

In the context of humidity, many related terminologies are used in determining the temperature and weather forecast. One of the most common terms is Relative Humidity.


Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonHumidityRelative humidity
MeaningHumidity is the amount of water vapour in the atmosphere.Relative Humidity is the percentage of water vapour available in a volume of the atmosphere at a given temperature.
UsageHumidity is used to predict the precipitation, fog or dew.Relative Humidity is used to determine the change in weather conditions
ComparisonHumidity can be compared with the previous year’s data to predict the rain.Relative Humidity is a comparison factor between the actual water vapour content and the water vapour content that can exist at that temperature.
Measuring UnitWater Vapour per Cubic meter of air.It is denoted in percentage
Water Vapour ContentMore Water Vapour More Sweat, less water vapour a lot coolerMore Water Vapour results in Higher Relative Humidity and the less water vapour results in less relative humidity.


What is Humidity?

Humidity is the amount of water vapour that is present in the air. The humidity of a place determines the rain, fog and dew factors of a place.

Ideally, it is a cyclic process. The solar radiation in the air results n evaporation of water from the water bodies.

This evaporation results in water vapour and gets mixed in the air.

The air is already mixed with other gases and elements, the water vapour mixing with the atmosphere results in the overall weather condition of the place. If the solar radiation is more, or in other words, if the place experiences excessive heat, more evaporation happens.

This result is more water vapour getting mixed in the air.

This increases the precipitation levels. In certain cases, you may experience excessive rainfall too. Have you ever noticed that whenever a place has more temperature, you may experience rain in the evening?

It is indeed a cyclic process that keeps the living beings intact. The body sweat happens which is a result of the humid conditions cools the body from the heat.

Though the sweat is undesirable, it is what helps humans to survive excessive heat as well.


What is Relative Humidity?

Relative Humidity otherwise mentioned as RH is the ratio of water vapour present in the atmosphere. The ratio is measured against the water vapour that can be present in that given temperature.

Relative Humidity is measured in percentage and it gives the value for the place to experience more humid conditions. More the value, more the humidity and resultant sweat.

The tropical conditions normally have higher RH. It is the value that can be seen in the weather forecast which talks about the humidity levels. The relative humidity is calculated as follows:

If 1 Volume of air can contain 100 grams of water vapour in it. But it has 50 grams of Water vapour then the RH is 50%.

Incidentally, the Relative Humidity is higher for Cold air while it is lower for the warmer atmosphere. The RH is temperature specific and tends to change with changes in temperature too.

Relative humidity being the measure, it is an essential aspect to determine the weather changes. This is also useful to check the room temperature and also set your interiors accordingly.

Especially when you are placing certain things for a very long time, RH is the most important component.
Say for example, if you are placing a set of books in a room, the RH value and relative changes that you do can make the books survive longer.

relative humidity

Main Differences Between Humidity and Relative Humidity

  1. The main difference between humidity and relative humidity is, the humidity is the amount of water vapour that contains in the air, while Relative humidity is the measure of water vapour that is present in a volume of air. It is the ratio of the actual water vapour to the water vapour that it can contain in the volume of air.
  2. Humidity is used to predict atmospheric changes such as rain, fog and dew while Relative Humidity is the measure of humidity in a particular region.
  3. Humidity is also compared with the previous year’s data to predict rain and other environmental changes while Relative Humidity itself is a comparison between the available water vapour and the actual water vapour that the air can contain.
  4. Humidity is measured in Water Vapour per cubic meter whereas RH is measured in percentage.
  5. More Water Vapour in Air causes more precipitation and vice versa, while more RH denotes cooler weather and less RH indicates warm weather.
Difference Between Humidity and Relative Humidity 1

  1. https://www.weather.gov/lmk/humidity
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