It's Not You, It's Global Warming
Though you're more likely to only hear about the higher temperatures brought about global warming, increasing humidity has also been an important consequence of this phenomenon. In fact, the two effects are directly related: warmer air has the capacity to store more water vapor.
The Midwest, for example, a region in the U.S. known for its muggy and hot summers, has dampened quite a bit over the past four decades. Chicago, IL, whose mean summer dew point (the temperature at which water condenses from the air) reached 58.9ºF in the 60s, has seen it rise 1.5º since then. That's high enough for the atmosphere to lose its capacity to absorb sweat from human bodies as fast as they can produce it: in other words, you sweat more.
"When [dew points] start getting up into the 70s, that's when it gets really miserable out there," said Jim Angel of the Illinois State Water Survey.Climatologists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) decided to monitor signs of expanding humidity to seek evidence of global warming because of its link to rising temperatures. Indeed, recent studies have shown as the global oceans have warmed over the past 3 decades (by around 1ºF), water vapor has increased around the world by about 4%. "If there's global warming, you almost have to find [expanding humidity]. We found it," said project scientist John Fasullo.
Unfortunately for those midwesterners who now have to labor under the increased humidity, there are no easy solutions or cures. You just have "tough it up, try to bear it," said one Chicago resident. Just pray the mean summer dew point doesn't reach into the low 70s any time soon.
Image courtesy of Men's Health