Why do we sweat more in higher humidity?

Weather Questions with Cody Nickel

This week’s weather question is why do we sweat more in higher humidity?

To start off, first let’s define what humidity is. Humidity is the measure of water vapor content in the air. Humidity also is reflected by dewpoint. Dewpoint is the temperatures air must be cooled in our to reach saturation.

When you have a high dewpoint which indicates more moisture present in the air, the body takes a longer time to naturally cool off.

The human body cools off by the process of evaporative cooling. Evaporative cooling is temperature reduction resulting from the evaporation of a liquid. Also, on a more scientific note, latent heat is moved from the body to the environment.

So when the atmosphere is already saturated, your body can not properly cool off naturally. This is why our sweat seems to just stay on our body because the rate at which it is evaporating is much slower than what it would be if we had drier conditions.

An example of this is right after you have showered, your body feels cooler because the water droplets on your skin are evaporating into the environment resulting in your body cooling.

If you have a weather question, email Meteorologist Cody Nickel at pnickel@wrbl.com

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