How Does Humidity Affect Air Pollution?
In high school, many of us would have sat with folded arms while the teacher explains the meaning of humidity. If you are like me, you may not have gained so much from the class except that humidity is the atmosphere’s water amount.
Well, now is the time to learn more without being in class. In this article, we have explained everything you need to know about the humidity. We’ll also focus on how humidity affects air pollution.
- Why Humidity?
- How Does Humidity Affect Air Pollution?
- Is Humidity an Air Pollutant?
- How Does Humidity Affect the Environment?
- How Does Humidity Affect Particulate Matter?
- How Does Humidity Affect the Climate?
- How Does Humidity Affect Air Quality?
Why should I learn about humidity? Well, there are a hundred and one reasons. For one, two, and three, humidity is a significant determinant of home comfort, adequate living conditions, favorable weather conditions, and, ultimately, human health and life.
As human beings, we cannot do without humidity as it ensures that we have sufficient breathable air in our homes. Relative humidity ensures that we can regulate our internal body temperature through perspiration, which is, sweating. Interestingly, our domestic pets are not left out.
As individuals, humidity affects:
You would agree we all need respiration for daily living. Yea. That’s what many of us learned in high school.
But do we know what is responsible for it? Well, you got your answer here. Humidity! Low or high humidity can cause poor breathing in humans due to heat stress and airborne germs.
It would be best if you still remembered the meaning of sweat. It is merely the process of generating body heat.
Well, relative humidity helps regulate the body temperature in ensuring good perspiration, which is sweating.
How Does Humidity Affect Air Pollution?
Many people around the world feel physical discomfort in response to hot and humid weather. Unknown to many, humidity affects air pollution in ways that make it more harmful to humans and our respiratory health.
If you doubt if humidity affects air pollution, then you should know this. Humidity is gaseous water in the air. It is the amount of water vapor in the atmosphere. This means that humidity affects the quality of the air we breathe in at every point in time. Yes, every point in time.
You should know that humidity is a combination of dry air and water vapor. The degree of combination of this duo ultimately determines how hot or cold the temperature is. This scenario comes alive when we feel intense body heat and skin irritation or shivering uncontrollably.
High humidity increases the rate of harmful or toxic chemicals in the air. It also causes dust mites in our homes, dampening the quality of air. Bacterial and viral organisms that cause respiratory infections thrive as a result of high and low humidity. Low humidity also causes airborne germs.
Mind you, respiratory conditions such as asthma and bronchitis thrive in environments with low humidity.
Yes, so whenever you see these symptoms beware, that’s likely due to low humidity. In sum, the adverse effects of inadequate humidity ultimately affect our atmosphere and the quality of human and animal health and life.
Is Humidity an Air Pollutant?
No, humidity is a naturally occurring phenomenon that is common in certain climates and seasons across the world. While it is naturally occurring, humidity can cause stress to individuals with weakened respiratory systems particularly those with preexisting conditions like asthma. It can also cause the growth of harmful molds and bacterias that trigger negative respiratory responses. Most importantly, humidity increases the negative effects of harmful air pollutants like smog.
How Does Humidity Affect the Environment?
Do you sometimes feel too hot or too cold? Sometimes we want to stay in the pool all day, and sometimes being by the fire is all you need. Well, let’s explain the cause for you.
There is no other reason than humidity. Humidity is a significant cause of the drastic temperature changes in our immediate environment. It plays a crucial role in directing our daily weather and climate conditions.
But let’s talk about temperature. Relative humidity can be a lifesaver by stabilizing and regulating the temperature of our immediate environment. Both low or high humidity causes a hot or cold temperature. Humidity is a significant component of the atmosphere and affects weather conditions such as fogs, storms, and rainfall.
To simplify this situation, the environment’s humidity can be low, high, or relative.
Low humidity causes domestic ailments from dry skin to chapped lips. High humidity increases the birth rate of disease-causing microorganisms. On the other hand, relative humidity determines the amount of water in the air relative to the temperature.
Relative humidity affects the rate of transpiration in plants and determines their quantity and quality of nutrients.
In the wildlife, humidity dictates the quality of plant and animal life. On an industrial scale, humidity influences greenhouse gases (GHG) and the machinery and equipment used in chemical factories. High humidity usually causes porosity of home furniture, equipment, and utilities.
Now that you know the importance of humidity in your home and environment, let’s talk about measuring it? A typical instrument that you can use to calculate your environment’s relative humidity is the hygrometer. If you have the time, you can relieve stress by measuring the humidity of your environment.
Other best practices you can adopt in your home include proper cross ventilation, spot ventilation, and furnace filtering.
The effect of humidity in your environment is enough reason for you to learn how to manage your environment’s humidity because it affects your comfort, health, and productivity.
How Does Humidity Affect Particulate Matter?
First of all, let’s clear the air. What is particulate matter? Well, the answer is in the air.
Particulate matter is made up of miniature particles about 2.5 microns in size (invisible to the naked eye) that are suspended in the air. These can be made up of things like pollen, dust, ash, spores, soot, smoke, aerosol droplets, etc. All of these miniature particles easily get past our natural defenses and can be breathed deep into your lower respiratory system.
The high concentration of these particulate matter has been associated with weakening human health. So, how does humidity come in?
Humidity affects the natural deposition of particulate matter in the air. With an increase in humidity, the size of the particulate matter also increases. Eventually, it becomes too heavy to remain in the air and begins to fall off. This is what is called the dry deposition of particulate matter.
Remember that many particulate matters are dangerous to living things because of respiration. So, the less volume of particulate matter in the air, the better for everyone and everything on earth.
We should all give thanks to humidity for the natural cleansing.
How Does Humidity Affect the Climate?
If you are a science geek, you will know that separating humidity from climate is as tricky as separating Siamese twins. It’s possible, but not easy.
Well, now that you are here, we will take on the difficult task and point out how humidity affects the climate. But first, what is climate?
Climate refers to the weather conditions of a specific region at a particular period, usually calculated on a long-term basis. Climate connotes environmental temperature and precipitation, which are primarily influenced by humidity.
How does this happen? Well, you already know that humidity is the amount of water vapor in the air. This implies that humidity can determine the atmospheric temperature and concentration, which influence weather conditions. The frequency of variations in such weather conditions ultimately affects the climate in the long term.
So, as you can see in this simple case, humidity affects the weather, which affects the climate. Therefore, we can agree that humidity affects our climate.
How Does Humidity Affect Air Quality?
Humidity is actively connected to the quality of air in the environment, especially in an enclosed area.
Contrary to what many think, air quality is not determined by control of pollution, adequate ventilation, or air freshness. Humidity has a vital role to play always.
The humidity level in an enclosed area may be the primary cause of inadequate hygiene. In essence, when a place’s relative humidity goes too high or comes too low, it can be a significant cause of the discomfort, health problems, and low hygienic atmosphere.
If not controlled or maintained optimally, the humidity of the air in an enclosed area can be a contributor to adverse health conditions of those in the enclosed area. Hence, it is essential to maintain the air’s humidity in every enclosed area to have good air quality.
But then, how do you achieve this? Sounds like an excellent problem for you? Well, let’s break it down for you.
Now, the human body tends to be more habitable when the relative humidity of an area ranges between 20% and 60%. However, for an enclosed area, if the external temperature is greater than 20° Fahrenheit, the relative humidity is expected to peak between 30% and 50%.
Anything below or above these is not pleasant for the human body. For instance, if the relative humidity in an enclosed area is above 60%, a natural element taking the form of a furry or woolly growth of tiny fungi or minute powdery or webby fungi begin to form in the air.
These tiny formations in the air can be the primary cause of instability in the health of those inside the enclosed area. Ultimately, the stale odor will start springing up in the atmosphere.
Also, when the enclosed area’s relative humidity falls below 30%, a person’s resistance to upper respiratory illness may drop, which may be indicated by the mucous membranes’ dryness. There could also be irritation of the skin, dryness of the eyes, and static electricity problems.
You do not want to have a feel of these conditions, whether when the humidity is high or low. Hence, it is crucial to keep the humidity of the air within the recommended range.
Here’s how to achieve a standard air quality
Give Room For Ventilation
It is when there is enough ventilation that external air can replace the air inside an enclosed area. So, it is essential to give enough room for proper ventilation.
It would be best if you always remembered keeping your windows open for cross ventilation and reducing odor and moisture that may fill the air bit by bit from activities like cooking and bathing of pooing.
Use Furnace Filters
You can use a furnace filter to collect dust, lint, and fibers before they circulate and move around the room. This way, you make the air more quality by reducing the number of particulate matters moving about.
Use Air-to-Air Heat Exchanger
In places where the climate is cold, the air-to-air heat exchanger can help you mechanically dehumidify and ventilate the area. It can also serve as part of your central heating and cooling system.
Use Spot Ventilation Systems
Spot ventilation allows you to provide quick ventilation to specific places in your home, mostly by using localized exhaust to remove pollutants.
Without a doubt, this would help increase the quality of air in the environment.
So far, you have learned the impact of humidity on air pollution. You have also learned how much of an impact humidity has on your air quality.
Well, you can improve all that. And we have also shown you how. So, read up and stay safe.