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What is Dew Point - and How is it Measured?

By: Leaftech

Anybody who lives in an area of high humidity, such as in the cities and towns of eastern Canada in summertime, is well aware of the effects of a high dew point. The higher the dew point, the more uncomfortable humans become; this is due to the fact that the way our bodies regulate their own temperature is directly interfered with by the environmental conditions. If that sounds a bit confusing, don't worry; this article will clear some of those questions you have about dew point right up!

What is dew point?

Dew point is the temperature at which the air must cool in order for water that is currently present in the form of vapour to condense into a liquid. When it comes to the human body, more water vapour in the air means that our cooling mechanism, sweating, becomes much less effective. Therefore, the air seems hotter than it actually is. In addition to humidity, a high dew point may also be called "muggy".

Aside from the reaction in our own bodies, dew point is an important consideration in many different fields. Aviation, geology, construction, and dozens of other fields require an understanding of dew point from time to time. In most cases it is important to understand the dew point in order to avoid damage to expensive equipment that may also determine the safety of users (this is the case in aviation).

Measuring dew point

So we have established what dew point is and why it is important to take dew point into consideration in a couple of different scenarios. But what good is this knowledge if you don't know how to predict the dew point?

Well, leave it up to scientific ingenuity to leave nothing to the imagination. In fact, humans have been using instruments to calculate dew points for as long as recorded history, but of course we like to think that today's instruments are a bit more sophisticated and reliable. The actual calculation of the dew point involved a very intricate calculation which takes into account humidity, several logarithms, and temperature, but today we can skip the manual work and use several handy instruments with built in calculations and even thermometers and barometric pressure indicators which do all the work for us.

If you do work in an industry where knowledge of dew points is important, it will be well worth your while to consider using one of these calibrated machines. After all, there is little margin for error and it will take a lot of work out of your day.

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