(WKBN) – We are pushing toward the summer season and temperatures are slowly warming up. With each day closer to summer, the humidity levels will rise on average as dew point temperatures climb through the season.
We are used to hearing about the heat index, or feels like temperature, to get a feel of what the heat will “feel like” on our bodies.
The heat index has been used for years to display to a person the impact of heat and humidity and how hot the air “feels” to your body.
There is another way to measure the heat and humidity. It is called the wet bulb globe temperature or WBGT.
What is a WBGT wet bulb globe temperature?
The wet bulb globe temperature is created by using a combination of three thermometers.
It uses a “wet bulb globe” for humidity.
The wet bulb temperature is developed by using a thermometer that has a water-soaked cloth over the bulb of it. As air flows past the cloth it evaporates the water in it. The temperature created by the evaporative cooling will give you the “wet bulb” temperature on the thermometer.
It uses a “black globe” for solar factor (Sun angle and Cloud Cover).
It uses a “dry bulb” for the ambient(air surrounding it) temperature.
Who uses the wet bulb globe temperature?
The WBGT is used by many including outdoor workers, athletes, marching bands, and others that are out working or playing in the heat and humidity.
The guidelines for activity may change from location to location as normal temperatures will change from region to region. A region’s local people may be more adjusted to their normal environment.
You can use this link to adjust the map to your location to calculate your WBGT
The WBGT has been an effective indicator of heat stress for many. It has been used for decades in the military and by OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration). Some marathons use the WBGT. The American College of Sports Medicine bases its guidelines for intensity of sport practices. Many school districts will use the WGBT as well.
What is the difference between the heat index and the wet bulb globe temperature?
There are differences between the two measurements.
How they are the same:
The heat index and the WBGT measure both the temperature and relative humidity. These are only two inputs that are the same.
How are they Different?
The heat index, or feels like temperature, is measured in the shade.
The WBGT is measured in the sun.
The heat index is measured in the shade and only uses temperature and relative humidity. The WBGT uses more elements in its calculation.
The WBGT is measured in the sun and uses temperature, relative humidity, wind, cloud cover, and sun angle.
The WBGT can be used as a guide to make sure you and your family are safe when the next big heat wave arrives. It can also be used on a daily basis to make sure you do not put your body in an extreme situation ending in heat danger.