Between 0.2 percent and 4 percent of the air is made of water vapor. The amount of water in the atmosphere is regulated by temperature.

What is water vapor?

Water vapor is a type of gas that is formed when water vaporizes. This means that it turns into a liquid and then a gas. Water vapor is essential for the Earth’s climate because it helps to create clouds. It consists of hydrogen and oxygen atoms and is also made up of a tiny amount of water molecules.

Where does water vapor come from?

Water vapor comes from the Earth’s surface. It is created by the evaporation of liquid water as well as by the sublimation of ice. Water vapor is transparent and is continuously produced by evaporation and eliminated by condensation in a normal atmosphere. The heat of the sun and humidity levels add water vapor to the atmosphere.  When the water vapor in the clouds condenses, it falls back to Earth as rain, snow, or hail.

Why does water vapor in the air condense when the air is chilled?

Condensation is the term that describes the process by which water vapor changes to the liquid state.

When the air is chilled, water vapor in the air condenses. This occurs because as the temperature decreases, the molecules in the air become smaller. The smaller molecules can’t hold as much water vapor, so it forms rain or snow (temperature depending).

What structures allow water vapor to escape the leaves of a plant?

Stomata are cell structures in the epidermis of tree leaves and needles that are involved in the exchange of carbon dioxide and water between plants and the atmosphere.

What is it called when plants give off water vapor as a waste product?

Just as you release water vapor when you breathe, plants do, too. This process is called transpiration.

In addition to water vapor, which gas has the ability to absorb heat energy?

Aside from water vapor, the main gases that can absorb heat energy are carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide. All of these gas molecules include three or more atoms.

How does water vapor get into the atmosphere?

There are three ways where water vapor enters the atmosphere:

  • Evaporation
  • Transpiration
  • Sublimation

What is the heat energy released when water vapor changes to a liquid called?

Latent heat of condensation is the energy released when water vapor condenses to form liquid droplets. The opposite, ‘latent heat of evaporation,’ is the energy used to change water liquid to vapor.

Energy is required to change from solid to liquid state, liquid to gas state (evaporation), or solid to gas state (sublimation). Energy will be released to change from liquid to solid (fusion), gas to liquid (condensation), or gas to solid.

  • Condensation is a warming process.
  • Evaporation is a cooling process.