Featured Article | GreenCast | Syngenta

Plants Feel the Heat Index

With the sweltering heat encompassing much of the eastern United States, heat index warnings should be taken seriously.  The heat index combines air temperature and relative humidity to determine the apparent temperature.  Or more simply stated the heat index tells you how hot it actually feels.  Humidity is an important aspect in the calculation of the heat index.  High humidity values restrict the cooling process of humans by sweating.  When we sweat, water evaporates from us removing the heat.  Not much different from plants in that high humidity restricts evapotranspiration, resulting in an increase in the leaf or turf canopy temperature.  Interestingly, exposure to full sunshine can increase the heat index values by 15 F.  This is the same increase we observe with turf canopy temperatures.  Given adequate moisture is present, and no air movement, the turf canopy temperature is 15 F higher than the air temperature in full sun.  Whether human or plants, we suffer under high temperatures and humidity

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