What Is Sensible Heat?

The energy required to change the temperature of a substance with no phase change is known as sensible heat. The change in temperature may come from the sun via the soil or the air.

The change can also come from contact with warmer air, which comes from the release of latent heat or direct conduction. Energy uses both latent and sensible heat to move through the atmosphere, in turn driving the movement of air molecules and creating wind and vertical motions.

Latent heat is important in the formation of thunderstorms and hurricanes. A lot of latent heat is released in a thunderstorm, which leads to instability in the atmosphere and the possibility of severe storms.