The Water Cycle
❝It's sticky, it's muggy, and the air feels thick—these are expressions to describe moisture in the air. This moisture comes in the form of an invisible gas called water vapor. The term for the moisture in the air is humidity.
On Earth, plant and animal life use the same water over and over, recycling it through a process called the water cycle.
We get a tiny amount of new water during volcanic eruptions and from cometary debris, but not enough to be noteworthy.
The water cycle is driven by the energy of the sun. As our liquid water molecules absorb heat from the sun, they vibrate themselves right into the gaseous state of water vapor. The water vapor rises with the hot air that contains it. As the water vapor reaches great heights, it becomes cold and condenses back into a liquid called a cloud droplet.
The cloud droplets constantly grow as they bump into each other. Eventually, they grow too large to float and fall back to Earth's surface as some form of precipitation. They eventually evaporate again and the cycle repeats itself.
People are acutely aware of the water cycle even though they may not realize it. The amount of water vapor in the air determines our comfort levels in hot weather. We need to maintain a constant internal body temperature of approximately 98.6° F for our metabolism to function properly.
When the human body's internal temperature goes much above 98.6° F, it starts to sweat. With low to moderate humidity levels, the hot sweat evaporates and takes the excess heat with it. This effectively cools off the body and keeps everything inside working properly.
When the humidity levels are high, the air is already full of water vapor and has no room for more. Sweat will not evaporate. This leaves the body feeling hot, moist, and uncomfortable. The body will not cool down under this condition; it is easy to become overheated. Public health officials always recommend minimal physical activity when the weather is hot and humidity is high to avoid several heat-related illnesses.
Hot days with low humidity are great to be outdoors; you can cool off by just finding some shade. Hot, muggy days are best enjoyed indoors with air conditioners.
Questions? Comments? Feel free to contact me.❞