What is Air Temperature?

By on August 12, 2010

Air temperature is a measure of how hot or cold the air is. It is the most commonly measured weather parameter. More specifically, temperature describes the kinetic energy, or energy of motion, of the gases that make up air. As gas molecules move more quickly, air temperature increases.


Why is Air Temperature Important?

Air temperature affects the growth and reproduction of plants and animals, with warmer temperatures promoting biological growth. Air temperature also affects nearly all other weather parameters. For instance, air temperature affects:

  • the rate of evaporation
  • relative humidity
  • wind speed and direction
  • precipitation patterns and types, such as whether it will rain, snow, or sleet.

How is Air Temperature measured?

Temperature is usually expressed in degrees Fahrenheit or Celsius. 0 degrees Celcius is equal to 32 degrees Fahrenheit. Room temperature is typically considered to be 20-25 degrees Celcius (68-77 degrees Fahrenheit).

A more scientific way to describe temperature is in the standard international unit Kelvin. 0 degrees Kelvin is called absolute zero. It is the coldest temperature possible, and is the point at which all molecular motion stops. It is approximately equal to -273 degrees Celcius and -460 degrees Fahrenheit.

Air Temperature Technology

Temperature can be measured in numerous ways, including thermistors, thermocouples, and mercury thermometers. The SWMP uses thermistors, which are metallic devices that undergo predictable changes in resistance in response to changes in temperature. This resistance is measured and converted to a temperature reading in Celcius, Fahrenheit, or Kelvin.


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