What Is Wet Bulb Temperature & How Does It Affect Us?

The UK measured record temperatures in Cambridge last month, with a national high of 38.7℃. With every passing heatwave, we are reminded of the consequences that threaten our planet if we fail in our battle against climate change. This article aims to bring the rising climate to the forefront of industry discussion. We’ll be explaining wet-bulb temperature and its impact on the human body, and we’ll be analysing the pivotal role of air conditioners in combatting these issues.

What is the wet-bulb temperature?

Put simply, the wet-bulb temperature is a measure of humidity. Temperature is measured using a thermometer. Humidity is measured by covering a thermometer (and its bulb) with a wet cloth. The humidity in the air will influence the evaporation experienced by the cloth and consequently impact the measurement read on the thermometer. The resulting temperature difference will indicate ambient humidity levels.

What is the concern about wet-bulb temperature?

When we get too hot, sweat is released to cool ourselves down. This is a process of homeostasis — the biological function that maintains a stable core temperature.

When the wet-bulb temperature exceeds 35℃, the air is so full of water vapour that sweat no longer evaporates. This interferes with the natural process of homeostasis and prevents the body from cooling itself down successfully. Without the ability to dissipate heat, our core temperature will continue to rise, leading to dangerous health risks.

How does the wet-bulb temperature impact our health?

A rise in our core temperature can lead directly to heat exhaustion. Symptoms include dizziness, fatigue, headaches and fainting. Severe bouts of heat exhaustion can even lead to heat-stroke, mental confusion, seizures and loss of consciousness.

Where is the wet-bulb temperature of most concern?

Wet-bulb temperatures exceeding 35℃ have not yet been reported. However, evidence suggests that this threshold may be exceeded in Southern Asia, the Persian Gulf and Northern China by the end of the century. Combined, these regions are home to billions of people.

How can air conditioners help with rising wet-bulb temperatures?

If the wet-bulb temperature continues to rise globally, we may become reliant on air conditioning units to dehumidify the air and keep our core temperature stable.

One of the main concerns with this solution is that air conditioners may contribute to the growing issue of climate change, creating a loop of growing bulb-temperature and a growing need for air conditioning units. There is also concern that the electricity output would be too much to handle. Both of these concerns stem from the same issue: energy efficiency.

We believe that creating highly-efficient air conditioning units is entirely attainable. Significant leaps have already been achieved in air conditioning technology and here at FM Mechanical, we supply some of the most efficient air conditioning units on the market. We stock air conditioning units from the world’s leading manufacturers, including Daikin, whose inverter technology has allowed them to create extremely effective air conditioning units that achieve the highest energy efficiency labels.

Daikin is just one of the world-revered brands we supply in our extensive range of air conditioning units. We care deeply about the environment and are committed to bringing our customers the air conditioning and ventilation products that meet rigorous energy efficiency standards. To learn more about our products or services, give our team a call today.