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Sensible heat is potential energy in the form of thermal energy, or heat, and refers to the heat that is added or removed from the air and dry bulb temperature changes without water vapor content change. The thermal body must have a temperature higher than its surroundings (see also latent heat). The thermal energy can be transported via conduction, convection, radiation or by a combination thereof. The quantity or magnitude of sensible heat is the product of the body's mass, its specific heat capacity and its temperature above a reference temperature. In many cases the reference temperature is inferred from common knowledge, i.e. "room temperature". It can be calculated by; Q = 1.08CFM(T1T2)

In hydrological terms, sensible heat is that portion of heat radiated by the sun which is required to heat the earth.

Q = mc(TT0)

To make the meaning more explicit, Sensible Heat is the heat given to a body, when the body is in such a state that the heat gained by it doesn't convert to latent heat, or the energy supplied is not used up to change the state of the system (as in latent heat).

In the atmosphere, large-scale transport of heat from the tropics to the poles is affected by sensible heat in the form of warm air moving toward the poles, and by latent heat as cold air moving toward the equator. This motion is primarily driven by the cyclonic mixing taking place in the Ferrel cell in the mid-latitudes, the latter of which is associated with the phase changes of atmospheric water vapor, mostly vaporization and condensation.

The amount of heat added or removed can be measured by a change of temperature of a fluid substance in a calorimeter.

The heat required to change the temperature of a substance is called its sensible heat.

See also



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