Why is the humidity so high? The answer is pretty corny.

Randy Pitterle of Freeport sent me an email earlier this week inquiring about the higher humidity observed near cornfields.

Indeed, humidity levels are much higher outside of major cities. For instance, Freeport has seen dewpoints of more than 80° in the past few days while surrounding (more urban) cities are in the 74-78° range. This has to do with the evapotranspiration from cornfields. During middle July, our crops are at their mature, healthy stage. As they take moisture from the ground and roots, the healthy leaves give off the moisture during the day (faster during higher temperature). In fact, each corn stalk gives off 53 gallons of water to the atmosphere in it’s lifespan.

Because there are about 20,000 corn stalks in each acre of land, that means that one acre of corn will yield 1,060,000 gallons of water into the air! That translates to A LOT of humidity!

Stay safe during these extended humid time. While heat waves are deadly, the deaths are preventable if you take the right precautions! Above the current heat index map as of 2:50pm. -ES

And now some corny weather humor!


Posted under health, heat wave, humor, weather, weather geek

This post was written by qni_it on July 20, 2011

3 Comments so far

  1. WI Wx Buff July 20, 2011 3:40 PM

    I have repeatedly seen research articles that say that heat related mortality is fairly closely related to poverty. But this is never mentioned in the warnings (I always hear the same stuff about elderly, people who live alone, etc.).

    Its not hard to see why poverty might be related: The less money one has, the fewer resources one has with which to cool off. People with lower incomes are less likely to have air conditioning, or may be reluctant to turn it on even if they do have it because of the expense (this was cited as a reason by a number of people seen in Emergency Rooms in one study I read). People with no car or no money for gas or bus fare may not be able to get to cooling centers. People with certain disabilities and little money may find it difficult to dash off to a water park or shopping mall in order to spend a few hours cooling off.

    Also, people are proud — a person who has worked hard and lived frugally all their life, and who has always needed to be tough and deal with whatever adversity comes along may not want to accept a well-intentioned neighbor’s offer of a ride to a cooling center.

    Also there are a variety of widely prescribed medications that leave the body much less able to cool off effectively. I rarely see the various warnings giving people a heads-up about when they might be taking a medication that might make them more likely to overheat than they were when they weren’t taking it.

    I worry that the “standard copy” (which we hear over and over again) may not be targeting the right populations with real solutions that they can really use.

    What about wet washcloths? No matter how little cash a person has on hand, its usually not beyond a person’s means to run a washcloth under cold water and hang it on the back of their neck. And you can do that w/out the loss of dignity some people may feel is involved by accepting a charitable ride to a public cooling center.

    Etc., etc. Sorry to be on a soapbox… Heat must be getting to me…..

  2. Eric July 20, 2011 8:41 PM

    Oh, Eric, you’re always so punny. Pun intended.

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