WEST MICHIGAN (June 8, 2014) — We’ve all felt it before…enough moisture and humidity in the air to make you sweat just standing in the shade. It typically happens every summer sooner or later. That said, this next week will feature low dew point temperatures and low humidity levels for a generally comfortable air mass.
People always talk about how humid it gets in the summer, but humidity itself is not an accurate measurement of moisture in the air. Dew point is far better! The lower the dew point temperature, the drier the air mass. Or…the higher the dew point temperature the more moisture there is and the stickier it feels. When dew point temperatures are in the 50s in the summer the air mass is very dry and comfortable. Once dew point temperatures hit the 60 degree mark, you can feel the added moisture in the air and the increased humidity. When dew point temperatures reach 70 or better, it’s downright tropical and starts to get oppressive.
So the next time your neighbor or friend talks about how humid it is, ask them what the dew point temperature is. Or better yet, check the National Weather Service website here for current observations around the area so you can arm yourself with the information. Dew point is abbreviated after temperature and is identified by DP.
Those of us that travel can relate to dew point temperatures around the nation. Florida and the Gulf Coast is an excellent example of higher dew point temperatures, a more humid, tropical air mass, while places like Arizona are generally bone dry. Dew point temperatures in the southwest typically are in the 15 to 30 degree range with humidity levels at only 10 to 20 percent. Many places in the southwest, including places like Denver don’t even use air conditioning units. They use something called swamp coolers. These units take water and evaporate it in to the air in order to cool the house. The process is known as evaporative cooling. That said, they would never work in Florida since there’s already too much moisture in the air. Swamp coolers only work at high elevations and places where the outside air mass is generally bone dry.
For the upcoming “comfortable” West Michigan forecast this week click here.