When my mom was here, usually the first comment she heard was “Wow! You look so young, you could be Amanda’s sister!!” The second comment was then something like “Don’t you think Taiwan is so hot?”
My mom gladly accepted the first comment, but she fought the second one, insisting that Texas was indeed hotter than Taiwan.
Today on her facebook page, she is further trying to prove her point:
Taiwan friends and family…….we, TEXAS that is, win —- we had a high temp of 103 F (40 C) with 28% humidity to make it feel like 107 F (42 C) today!!! It is now 7 PM and temp is 98 F (37 C)!!!…! TEXAS IS HOTTER THAN TAIWAN!!!!At first, I just agreed: Yes, Texas is hot. We don’t usually get over 40 here in Taiwan.
But, then I started thinking about it. And, while Texas is hotter than Taiwan a few days a year–what about on average or during the year as a whole? So, I did some research and made some comparisons–comparing my two hometowns–Tainan to Bastrop.
As you can see in the charts below–Taiwan is in fact hotter than Texas!
Only for two months does Texas have higher high temps than Taiwan–but during those same months the average temps are the same and the average low temps are higher in Taiwan, so while Texas has high spikes, Taiwan stays hot.
(I only caught the months on one of my charts–so 1-12 is Jan to Dec, and 13 is the yearly mean. And, all temps are in Celsius.)
I used average dew point to compare humidity because as I told my mom, I don’t think comparing relative humidity is accurate for comparison. Then I found this from usatoday.com to back up my belief:
If you want to know how comfortable you’re going to be, you want to know the dew point. Allowing for differences among people and their tolerance for humidity, most people are going to start feeling the humidity is getting out of hand when the dewpoint is above 70 degrees. Dewpoints above 60 are going to make it feel humid, maybe a little too humid for some people.
What’s wrong with using relative humidity?
To see what’s wrong with relative humidity, let’s go to Barrow, Alaska, on an average January day when the temperature dips to -19 and the dew point is -20, the relative humidity is going to be 94.96%. You might be wishing you had another parka to put on, but the 94.96% relative humidity is not going to make you feel sticky.
For more on why relative humidity doesn’t really tell you how humid you feel, and just what is this mysterious “dewpoint” that I’m talking about, go to the USATODAY.com Understanding humidity page.
However, if you are more comfortable comparing relative humidity, go right ahead, and you’ll find that each month, Tainan’s average humidity is higher than Bastrop’s.
When Taiwanese people like to tell me that Taiwan is HOT! I respond with: it is humid, but that both Texas and Taiwan are quite hot. I also make the following analogies: Taiwan is like a rice cooker; you will be steamed. Texas is like an oven; you will be baked!