Wednesday, July 27, 2005

It's Not The Heat, It's The Humidity

No doubt about it, it's been hot, very hot, across most of the country. How hot is it? Good question.

Adding to the usual mix of reporting, where temperature, humidity and air movement are mentioned, usually combined into a 'feels like' Heat Index, Cornell University now brings Dew Point.
[...] Relative humidity expresses the drying power of the air and is a percentage -- the ratio of the air's moisture content to how much moisture the air could sustain at its temperature. Because of this dependence on temperature, the relative humidity varies throughout the day, from high readings in the morning to low readings at midafternoon.

The dew point expresses the day-to-day moisture content of the air in terms of a temperature -- that is the temperature at which condensation occurs. "Dew point can be visualized by considering a beverage container in a muggy room," said [Dan] Graybeal. "If the beverage is cooler than the dew point of the air in the room, condensation occurs on the container. It's a familiar summertime condition."
Locally, I can say that now matter how you characterize it, it's been hot. Out local Nashville Channel 2 Weather Blog is forecasting a break for us midweek. And wouldn't you know it? They're already discussing snowfall for this winter - will it, won't it, and how much?

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