27 June 2005

Travelling in the heat

We have been discussing our impressions obtained during our recent trek and they highlight some differences we discovered between Australia and the US.
The first difference is heat and humidity.
Luckily we planned our trip for late Spring rather than mid or late Summer. As one travels further North in Australia it gets hotter and more humid. Considering one is getting closer to the Equator and further from the Antarctic this makes sense.
However, we found that in the US it was humid wherever we went when it was hot. In Illinois the temperatures were in the mid 90's F (high 30's C) and it was VERY humid. So the more North we went - towards the "cooler" areas - the humidity was just as high as where we left. We figure it must have something to do with the greater quantities of water around. The Great Lakes are truly great bodies of water. (Although REALLY cold in Winter)
In the area we live in Australia we are bordered on one side by a mountain range, and a few hundred kilometres to the West are the dryer areas then the desert. Check out a map of Australia. You will see lots of little blue lines that are dotted. This means they are "seasonal" or occasionally filled with water. There are no big lakes or large bodies of water.
Although we complain about the lack of sunlight where we live here under a almost solid canopy of trees, the temperature difference in summer is 20F. It was 95F at the office 15 minutes away, and at home it was 75F. (39C to 27C) What a difference a bit of shade makes! Also, being in the Appalachian mountains and bit higher up, the humidity is a lot less than further South.

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