It’s most likely a weather measurement you’ve never heard of before but it’s been around for decades and is used by our military and many other countries around the globe.

just like many technological advances, this one started with military use in the 1950s. Training camps in the United States Army and Marine Corps found a way to measure heat stress and it was better than using the heat index.

It’s called WetBulb Globe Temperature and having it on hand greatly improved productivity and reduced heat illness. Being that heat is the number one weather-related killer, it’s still being used today but not by everyone just yet.

Just like the heat index, it uses temperature and relative humidity plus other parameters to get a better representation of heat stress on the body. The WetBulb Globe Temperature takes into account not only temperature and humidity but wind speed, the sun angle, and cloud cover. It’s also measured in the sun as opposed to in the shade like the heat index.

The National Weather Service is testing it out in our western states where we have had intense heat lately. If this is successful with the general public there, it’ll be implemented across the entire nation.

Meteorologist John Paul Martin, with the National Weather Service office in Bismarck, says, it’s packed with information that can help you make better decisions.

“It works both ways, a better indication of when you should not be outside and a better indication of, well it may be ok to be outside… and there are tables, it recommends so much work outside versus so much rest time and also, it even accounts for how much water intake you should have.”

Martin says there’s some wiggle room within the guidelines because we’re all individuals and what’s stressful on one may not be stressful on another.

The WetBuulb Globe Temperature effects and recommended precautionary actions.

There are recommended actions based on the WetBulb Globe Temperature. But here’s the catch. Notice the temperatures are represented in the 80s. While this may seem warm to many of us, it doesn’t seem dangerous. WetBulb Globe Temperatures shouldn’t be mixed up with the actual temperature or the heat index.

Martin says there’s a lot of work to be done so everyone is on the same page, “I think it’s going to take a tremendous amount of education to the public to follow this WetBulb Globe Temperature. Because for example right now, when you hear a heat index of maybe 100°, 105°, 110°, you think, that’s dangerous. But with the WetBulb Globe Temperature in the 80s, that could be just as dangerous as the 110°.”

Another example would be if we have a heat index of 100° but there’s a lot of cloud cover and there’s a lot of wind. The Wet Bulb Globe temperature will give you guidance saying the heat may not be as stressful on your body because of that cloud cover and wind.

Anyone who is outdoors for any length of time would benefit from this new way of measuring heat stress. From construction workers to gardeners, to school sports activities.