OK, so, yeah, it’s hot in Miami. Or at least that’s how most people feel.
It’s so hot our basketball team is called the Heat. Seventy-five percent of Miami residents have seared skin off the backs of their legs after getting into a car in August. Kids here can inhale an ice cream cone in 10 seconds because otherwise it melts all over their hands.
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So it’s hot. But maybe, technically, not that hot.
Miami is 1,783 miles from the equator, where Earth gets the most sunshine. That seems pretty far (though Minneapolis, for example, is 3,111 miles away). And we don’t have any barren deserts (except for the blasted-out wasteland that is Derek Jeter’s soul) where temperatures can reach 115 degrees and beyond.
U.S. climate data reports that the annual average high temperature in Miami is 84.2 degrees. That may sound crazy to you, especially since nine months out of the year the city seems to be 95 degrees and climbing.
So if it’s not actually 100 degrees outside, why does it feel so hot?
The answer is humidity. Miami has a tropical monsoon climate, according to the Koppen Climate Classification. We’re classified as Aw, as in “Aw, hell, why is it so hot today? I just sweated off my eyebrows, and it took me an hour to draw them on.” This classification is a good news/bad news kind of deal. That means short warm winters (good) and warmer, humid summers (bad).
Miami’s high humidity renders our sweating inefficient. Sweat evaporates more slowly in air saturated with water. So when it’s humid, you feel hotter and crankier. Damn, is that air conditioner even working?
The Koppen scale, though, isn’t completely infallible. For example it does not factor in the exponential heat you experience when the FPL workers are restoring power to your neighbors after a hurricane but not to you.