Why Humidity Makes You Feel Hotter


When it is Winters, oh we so desperately wait for Summers to come by so that we can finally enjoy the outdoors after shivering in cold for so long. Perhaps you made plans to go to the beach. After a long wait, the season finally changes and Summer Sun shines through, everything seems perfect. But not for long as Summers are accompanied by the cruel humidity. You start to feel miserable but even worse than in the Winters. Everyone and everything seems to be sweating, clothes are damp even no physical activity was done and even though the temperature is not that high you feel way hotter. Why is that so?

What is humidity?

Humid Park

People jogging in a damp, humid park.

Even though everybody despises it, it is an essential part of our atmosphere. When the water is evaporated from bodies of water, it doesn’t reach the clouds right away. It’s the time prior to condensation that humidity is at its peak and we feel that dreadful sensation. There are actually two types of humidity.

  • Absolute humidity: As the name suggests, this is the amount of water vapor present in any given volume of air without considering the temperature.
  • Relative humidity: This is basically the calculation of how much absolute humidity is present in the air and how much more there could be. Also, when the temperature is high more water vapor can be absorbed by the air compared to cold temperature. This gives us an indication of the air being dry or wet, usually weather news reports relative humidity.

Why does it feel hotter?

Humidity rainforest

Humidity appearing as rain in the forest.

The reason why we feel hotter in humidity is because of perspiration and evaporation. The basic function of perspiration is to release water on the surface of our skin when our body gets hot in the form of sweat, it is then evaporated into the air which leaves us feeling cooler and relaxed. However, the problem arises when that evaporation is halted. As when humidity is at 60-70% and the temperature remains constant, the atmosphere just cannot absorb excess moisture as it is already quite wet. That’s why rainforests are constantly humid throughout the year.

Therefore, when perspiration occurs naturally due to high temperature our sweat isn’t evaporated. It just sits on the surface of our skin which gives us that familiar ickiness, stickiness, and a general feeling of disgust. Even if you take a shower to cool yourself off you’ll find you start to feel the same way sometime later.

It’s just a part of our planet and we just have to live it.


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