Models have been forecasting high dew points this weekend and they’re already here. It’s the dew point we look at for a comfort level when it comes to the summertime.
Simply put, the dew point is the temperature the air needs to be cooled to get a relative humidity of 100%. At that point the air cannot hold any more water as a gas and it liquefies to form fog or dew on grass.
So we use the dew point to measure the amount of moisture in the air. The higher the dew point the more uncomfortable it feels.
The chart on the left of this graphic helps describe high dew points. In the 60s it starts to feel sticky or uncomfortable. When the dew points get into the 70s, it gets downright oppressive. Sometimes we refer to it as “air you can wear”.
You start to feel uncomfortable because the body is trying to cool itself through sweating. When the air is already heavy with moisture, it’s harder for your body to cool so you feel more uncomfortable.
Those in the desert southwest do not have as high dew points. So when the temperatures soar in those locations it shouldn’t feel as bad. After all, it’s not the heat it’s the humidity. Or should I say dew point.