What is a Humidity Map?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

A humidity map is a map which provides humidity values for a region, usually expressed in terms of relative humidity. Such maps can be useful in a wide variety of applications. They are often generated by government agencies, although weather forecasting companies and private organizations may also generate their own humidity maps. Data from such maps is readily available on the Internet for various regions of the world.

In addition to humidity maps, there are also dew point maps.
In addition to humidity maps, there are also dew point maps.

In terms of weather forecasting, it is common to provide humidity maps when giving updates about weather conditions. The map displays current humidity, and some forecasters may also provide humidity projections, based on general trends, the history of the area, and current humidity levels. Forecasters can also use such maps to identify trends which may become a concern.

Humidity can hinder some of the systems used on equipment like space shuttles.
Humidity can hinder some of the systems used on equipment like space shuttles.

For individuals, knowing the humidity can be useful. Some people feel uncomfortable in humid weather, and may make plans to engage in physical activities outdoors when it will not be so humid. Humidity can also impact activities like painting, concrete pours, woodworking, and so forth, and people may check the humidity before starting such projects to confirm that the weather will not interfere with their plans.

Researchers also maintain archives of humidity maps. A humidity map can be useful when tracking long term trends, and they can also be used in weather forecasting. Knowing how weather patterns usually run can be useful when people are trying to predict which way the weather will go. These maps are also useful for organizations like NASA which need humidity information to prepare for launches and arrivals, as humidity can interfere with some of the systems used on equipment like space shuttles.

Everyone from gardeners to medical examiners may have need to consult a humidity map from time to time. Some organizations publish dew point maps and other maps expressing various ways of looking at humidity to form a more complete picture. People may find it helpful to have several systems of expressing humidity to look at when they are having trouble visualizing the meaning of humidity values.

Many newspapers print a humidity map in their weather sections, and such maps are also displayed on TV news forecasts and on Internet sites. People can search for a map of a specific area in their favorite search engine with the keywords “humidity map” and the area in question. People can add “archives” to that search if they are interested in seeing maps from the past, and archives can also sometimes be found on weather websites.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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