Corn Sweat: What Is It Doing to Our Weather?
With the jet stream way up north, an extreme heat wave is sweeping much of the country this week. Something that not very many people would think of, except those that live in the corn belt, is also contributing to the heat. Corn, it is also helping contribute to the high humidity, making the heat feel much worse than what it actually is. Actual air temperatures are only in the 90’s. However, dew points in the Midwest are in the upper 70’s to low 80’s. When dew points are in the 70’s, it is very tropical feeling. So how does the corn factor into this?
Corn, like any other plant, has water in its leaves. Just as you release water vapor when you breathe, plants do too. When the dew point and air temperature are close, water beads will form on the corn leaves, which is where the term “corn sweat” originates, as it appears the corn is sweating. When the heat evaporates this water from the leaves, it is called transpiration. Studies have revealed that transpiration accounts for about 10 percent of the moisture in the atmosphere, with oceans, seas, and other bodies of water (lakes, rivers, streams) providing nearly 90 percent.
So no, you can not blame the corn on the extreme heat. The corn is just adding to the already high temperatures, by providing extra humidity.