Have you spent ages getting your hair looking just so, then gone out only to find it's gone into an unsightly frizz (curly hair) or limp and lanky (straight hair)? If you have, then you've observed the effect humidity can have on your body. Hair is shorter when the air is dry and stretches when it's moist by up to 2.5 percent.
This phenomenon didn't go unnoticed by the early inventors of humidity recorders (aka hygrometers): In the 15th Century Nicolas de Cousa observed changing humidity levels by recording the amount of moisture absorbed by wool. Others used human hair, string, intestines or wild oats before the standard wet/dry bulb thermometer method and today's electronic wizardry were developed.
If any of you have one of those little weather houses, where a man or woman comes out of a door depending on whether it's going to rain or shine, then you're using hair to tell you what the weather's doing. If you don't have one, then here's how you can build your own simpler version.
Humidity isn't the only weather component our hair reacts to. I was taken by surprise by the speed of an approaching storm in Mallorca once and I knew exactly when it was directly overhead as all the hairs on my arms were raised clear of my skin. I felt electrically charged and very alive. Needless to say I headed for shelter as fast as I possibly could as I was the tallest object around and on a bicycle to boot. Not the best of situations in a raging storm!
How's the weather with you today?
Happy ABC Wednesday everyone :)