Dubai: The temperature across the UAE is around 39-44°C, but when you step outdoors do you feel like it’s much hotter than that?
No, it’s not just you, the heat index across the country is relatively higher today than usual. What does that mean? We spoke to an expert from the UAE’s National Center of Meteorology to find out.
What is heat index?
The NCM expert explained that while the temperatures are high across the UAE, the heat index or the “feeling temperature” might be higher depending on other weather conditions, especially the humidity.
He said: “In simple terms, during summers, the air temperature across the UAE is already very high. On days when the relative humidity is also very high, we might feel like the temperature outdoors is much higher than it is.”
Temperatures across the country are higher today, especially in coastal and western areas of the country, and the Relative Humidity is currently around 55 per cent, according to the NCM.
Based on these conditions the heat index is higher by seven to nine degrees today. This means that when the actual temperature is 38°C, it might feel like 45-47°C.
The Weather Channel, a global weather website explains how relative humidity combined with air temperature affects the human body's comfort. According to the website, when the body gets too hot, it begins to perspire or sweat to cool itself off. When perspiration is evaporated off the body, it effectively reduces the body's temperature. However, when the atmospheric moisture content or humidity is high, the rate of evaporation from the body decreases.
If perspiration is not able to evaporate, the body cannot regulate its temperature.
In other words, the human body feels warmer in humid conditions. The opposite is true when the relative humidity decreases because the rate of perspiration increases. The body feels cooler in arid conditions.
The NCM expert added that the heat index also changes depending on wind speed and air mist. He said: “On days when temperatures are high, but the weather is windy, one might not feel as hot as it really is.”
According to the NCM’s weather forecast, humid weather is expected to continue this week till Thursday. Some eastern parts of the country, like Fujairah, will see low clouds and light rainfall this week. A slight decrease in air temperatures is expected on Friday.