Many people would agree there is nothing worse than high humidity. When we get a hot summer in the UK, it can very often be plagued with humid conditions. Hot and humid weather is definitely not as nice as hot and dry weather. If you have ever been to a hot country that doesn’t experience humidity in the same way we do here at times, you will know how different it feels.
So can a certain temperature be more bearable when you have a dry heat than if you had a humid heat?
The answer, quite simply (for most people at least), is yes. Humidity is basically the amount of water held in the air as vapour. The more water is present, the more humid it is, and the more unpleasant the air around you will feel as a result. This is what people call muggy.
We are right to complain about high humidity, because it can actually be potentially dangerous. Let’s say the temperature is 25 degrees Celsius for example. This would be quite pleasant if it wasn’t too humid. However as the humidity in the air rises, this affects how we feel.
We all sweat as it becomes hotter, and this sweat evaporates into the air. However if it is humid, our sweat isn’t able to evaporate as the air already has too much water vapour in it. This is why it can feel hotter when it is 25 degrees Celsius and humid as opposed to 25 degrees Celsius and dry by comparison.
You’ll notice on weather forecasts that the humidity is given as a percentage. The lower the percentage, the less humid it is. However, it works the opposite way as well. If there is very little in the way of humidity and it is 25 degrees Celsius, you are likely to think it is cooler than it actually is. So you see, we have to be particularly careful not to be out in the sun too long. This is because the temperature can feel very different depending on the percentage of humidity that is present.
Humidity is one of those things we all know about to some extent. We’ve certainly all felt the effects of it and the unpleasant sweaty feeling you experience when it is very high during the summer months. However, it’s interesting to note how different one temperature can feel when you add humidity into the equation.
So the next time you are wondering why you feel so uncomfortable even though it doesn’t seem to be that hot, remember the effect humidity can have. Once you start looking at the humidity percentage each day as well as the temperature, you’ll have a better idea of how the heat will actually feel.