Distribution of Relative Humidity and Dew Point in the Southwestern United States
AuthorSellers, William D.
AffiliationInstitute of Atmospheric Physics, The University of Arizona
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AbstractThis report consists of three basic parts. In the first, average monthly values of relative humidity are presented for between one and four hours of the day at 126 weather observing stations in the southwestern United States, including all of Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, and Nevada, and parts of California, Texas, Idaho, and Wyoming. The nature, accuracy, and import of these data are discussed briefly. It is shown that the month with lowest average humidities varies systematically from March in central Texas to August in northern Nevada, antedating the westward movement of the Atlantic high pressure system, with its moist unstable air. In the second section, the distribution of dew point over the Southwest is discussed. High values are found on the windward sides of most of the larger mountain ranges, near bodies of water, and in heavily irrigated farmland; low values are concentrated at higher elevations and in the dry desert regions bounded by the Sierra Nevada Mountains to the west and the Rocky Mountains to the east. Hourly data for Arizona indicate that the diurnal variation of dew point is small, with a tendency for the lowest values to occur in the midafternoon in dry regions and in the early morning in moist regions, i.e., those with a surface snow cover or with considerable crop irrigation. The final section outlines a method of estimating the mean relative humidity from the mean temperature. Ordinary linear regression techniques are used, with a correction added to account for the systematic geographical distribution of regression errors.
Series/Report no.University of Arizona, Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Scientific Report No. 13
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