We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

In Meteorology, What Is Saturation?

By Christian Petersen
Updated May 21, 2024
Our promise to you
All The Science is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At All The Science, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

In meteorology, the term saturation refers to a condition where the air is holding the maximum amount of moisture possible in the form of water vapor. This corresponds to a relative humidity level of 100%. The amount of moisture in an air mass at saturation can vary according to a number of factors, primarily temperature and pressure, as warm air can hold more moisture than cooler air. Dew and other forms of precipitation are the result of saturated air.

The condition or state of saturation has variables which define the amount of water vapor present in a given body of air. The ability of air to hold water vapor varies, especially with temperature, but it is also affected by atmospheric pressure. While increasing temperature increases the amount of moisture air can hold, a rise in pressure lowers this amount.

Saturation, therefore, refers to the state at which any body of air has reached its maximum capacity for holding dissolved moisture as water vapor. The saturation point is also known by a much more familiar term, the dew point, which refers to the temperature at which the air has become saturated. When air is at a condition of saturation and the temperature falls or the atmospheric pressure rises, the air will be unable to hold the dissolved water vapor in suspension and some will be forced out as liquid water. This process is familiar to almost everyone as the formation of dew. As water molecules are forced out of suspension, they adhere to surfaces and molecular attraction causes them to collect together, forming the water droplets we know as dew.

Relative humidity is a term often used by meteorologists when discussing weather conditions, and it is directly connected to saturation. A relative humidity of 100% is considered to be a state of saturation, and air with a relative humidity of 100% is said to be saturated. Meteorologists often include the current relative humidity and the dew point to convey how humid the air is.

Precipitation in the form of rain, snow, hail are also products of saturation. As a warm body of air that contains moisture rises, it cools off, and its ability to hold moisture is reduced. As the temperature falls, the air becomes more saturated due to the correlation between temperature and moisture holding capacity. Eventually, the air cools to the point where it becomes saturated, and water is precipitated out from the air, becoming rain, snow, or some other form depending on the temperature.

All The Science is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

All The Science, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

All The Science, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.