Why Is Florida So Humid?

With its muggy, sweat-inducing climate, Florida is infamous for its humidity levels that can often exceed 90%. If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: Florida’s humidity stems largely from its abundant bodies of water and subtropical location.

In this approximately 3,000 word article, we’ll explore the climatic factors that contribute to Florida’s oppressive humidity. Looking at topics like the ocean, lakes, climate patterns, vegetation, and urbanization, we’ll explain the conditions that cause moisture to linger in the air across the Florida peninsula.

Influence of Surrounding Bodies of Water

One of the main reasons why Florida is so humid is because of its close proximity to surrounding bodies of water. The state is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean on one side and the Gulf of Mexico on the other.

These large bodies of water play a significant role in creating the humid conditions that are characteristic of the state.

Ocean Breezes Pick Up Moisture

The ocean breezes that blow across Florida pick up moisture from the warm waters of the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. As these breezes travel over the land, they bring with them the moisture that eventually contributes to the humidity in the air.

This is especially true during the summer months when the waters are warmer, and the temperature gradient between the ocean and the land is more pronounced.

According to a study conducted by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Gulf Stream, a warm ocean current that flows along the eastern coast of the United States, has a significant impact on Florida’s humidity levels.

The study found that the Gulf Stream transports large amounts of moisture from the tropics to the southeastern United States, including Florida, contributing to the high humidity experienced in the region.

Evaporation from Lakes and Wetlands

In addition to the influence of the surrounding oceans, Florida’s abundant lakes and wetlands also contribute to its high humidity. Evaporation from these bodies of water adds moisture to the atmosphere, increasing the overall humidity levels in the state.

Florida is known for its vast wetland areas, such as the Everglades, which cover a significant portion of the state. These wetlands act as natural reservoirs of water, releasing moisture into the air through evaporation.

The combination of the oceanic influence and the evaporation from lakes and wetlands makes Florida a particularly humid state.

According to data from the Florida Climate Center, the average relative humidity in Florida ranges from 60% to 90% throughout the year. This high humidity can have both positive and negative effects on the state.

On one hand, it helps to create a lush and vibrant ecosystem, supporting diverse flora and fauna. On the other hand, it can make the climate feel hotter and more uncomfortable, especially during the summer months.

Understanding the influence of surrounding bodies of water and evaporation from lakes and wetlands is crucial in explaining why Florida is so humid. It highlights the unique geographical characteristics of the state and how they contribute to its climate.

Subtropical and Tropical Climate Patterns

One of the main reasons why Florida is so humid is because of its subtropical and tropical climate patterns. Located in the southeastern United States, Florida experiences warm temperatures and high humidity throughout the year.

These climate patterns are influenced by several factors, including warm and wet air masses and frequent thunderstorms.

Warm and Wet Air Masses

Florida is located in a region where warm and wet air masses from the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico flow into the state. These air masses bring in moisture from the surrounding bodies of water, resulting in high levels of humidity.

The warm temperatures in Florida also contribute to the evaporation of water, further increasing the humidity in the air.

Frequent Thunderstorms

Another factor that contributes to the humidity in Florida is the frequent occurrence of thunderstorms. The state is known for its afternoon thunderstorms, which are a result of the warm and moist air coming into contact with cooler air or frontal boundaries.

These thunderstorms can bring heavy rainfall and add to the overall humidity in the state.

Florida’s climate patterns and high humidity make it a popular destination for those seeking warm weather and tropical landscapes. However, the humidity can also pose challenges, such as discomfort and increased risk of heat-related illnesses.

It is important for residents and visitors to take precautions, such as staying hydrated and seeking shade, to stay safe in Florida’s humid environment.

Abundant Flora Contributes Moisture

One of the main reasons why Florida is so humid is due to the abundant flora found throughout the state. The lush vegetation, including trees, shrubs, and various types of plants, contribute significantly to the moisture in the air.

This phenomenon occurs through two main processes: transpiration from plants and the shading effects on evaporation.

Transpiration from Plants

Transpiration is the process by which plants release water vapor into the atmosphere through their leaves. In Florida, with its diverse ecosystem and sub-tropical climate, there is an abundance of plant life that actively participates in transpiration.

According to research conducted by the University of Florida, a single large tree can release hundreds of gallons of water into the air each day through transpiration. Multiply that by the thousands of trees found in the state, and it becomes clear why Florida’s humidity levels are so high.

Moreover, Florida is home to various wetland areas, such as the Everglades, which further contribute to the humidity. Wetlands are characterized by their water-saturated soil and the presence of water-loving plants.

These wetlands act as natural humidifiers, releasing moisture into the air through both transpiration and evaporation.

Shading Effects on Evaporation

In addition to transpiration, the shading effects of the abundant flora in Florida also contribute to the high humidity levels. Trees and plants provide shade, which reduces the amount of direct sunlight reaching the ground.

This shading effect lowers the temperature and slows down the evaporation process. As a result, the moisture in the environment has more time to accumulate and linger, leading to higher humidity levels.

It is worth noting that Florida’s humid climate is not solely due to its flora. Other factors, such as its geographical location and proximity to large bodies of water, also play a role. However, the abundance of plants and their active participation in transpiration and shading effects make them significant contributors to the overall humidity levels experienced in the state.

For more information about Florida’s flora and its impact on humidity, you can visit the University of Florida’s website: https://www.ufl.edu.

Urban Factors That Increase Humidity

Florida is notorious for its high humidity levels, and while the state’s subtropical climate plays a significant role, there are also several urban factors that contribute to the humidity. These factors exacerbate the already humid conditions, making Florida’s weather feel even more oppressive.

Urban Heat Island Effects

One of the main urban factors that increase humidity in Florida is the phenomenon known as the urban heat island effect. This effect occurs when urban areas experience significantly higher temperatures compared to surrounding rural areas.

The abundance of concrete, asphalt, and buildings in cities absorb and retain heat, causing the temperature to rise. As a result, the increased heat leads to higher evaporation rates, which in turn increases humidity levels.

The urban heat island effect is particularly prominent in cities like Miami, Orlando, and Tampa, where the concentration of buildings and infrastructure is high. The constant release of heat from buildings, vehicles, and other sources creates a microclimate that traps moisture in the air, amplifying the humidity levels.

Impervious Surfaces

Another urban factor that contributes to humidity in Florida is the prevalence of impervious surfaces. These surfaces include roads, parking lots, and sidewalks, which prevent rainwater from being absorbed into the ground.

Instead, the water remains on the surface and evaporates, adding moisture to the air.

The extensive network of impervious surfaces in urban areas exacerbates the humidity levels by reducing the amount of natural evaporation and moisture absorption in the soil. This effect is especially noticeable during the rainy season, when heavy downpours occur frequently.

According to a study conducted by the Florida Climate Center, urban areas with a higher percentage of impervious surfaces tend to have higher humidity levels compared to areas with more green spaces. The study found that cities with extensive concrete jungles had humidity levels up to 10% higher than areas with more vegetation.

Reducing the impact of impervious surfaces and implementing green infrastructure, such as parks and green roofs, can help mitigate the humidity in urban areas. These green spaces provide opportunities for evapotranspiration, which helps cool the surrounding air and reduce humidity levels.

Humidity Seasonality and Trends

Florida is known for its humid climate, with high levels of moisture in the air throughout the year. The state’s proximity to large bodies of water, such as the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico, plays a significant role in creating and maintaining its humid conditions.

The warm ocean currents and prevailing winds carry moisture from these bodies of water and deposit it over the land, resulting in the high humidity that Florida experiences.

Summer Months Are Most Humid

During the summer months, Florida experiences its highest levels of humidity. This is primarily due to the combination of warm temperatures and increased rainfall. The heat causes more water to evaporate from the ocean, increasing the amount of moisture in the air.

Additionally, the frequent afternoon thunderstorms that are common in Florida during the summer contribute to the humidity. These storms can bring heavy rain, which adds even more moisture to the atmosphere.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the average relative humidity in Florida during the summer months ranges from 70% to 90%. This high level of humidity can make the summer heat feel even more oppressive and uncomfortable.

Climate Change Effects

Climate change is expected to have significant effects on humidity levels in Florida and other coastal regions. Rising global temperatures can lead to increased evaporation rates, resulting in higher humidity levels.

This can exacerbate the already humid conditions in Florida and contribute to more intense and prolonged heatwaves.

Furthermore, climate change is also expected to impact rainfall patterns. Some studies suggest that Florida may experience more frequent and intense rainfall events, which could further increase humidity levels.

Conversely, periods of drought could also occur, leading to lower humidity levels in certain areas.

It is important to note that climate change is a complex issue influenced by various factors, and its specific effects on humidity levels in Florida may vary. However, it is clear that addressing climate change and reducing greenhouse gas emissions are crucial steps in mitigating the potential impacts on humidity and other aspects of Florida’s climate.


Florida’s notoriously high humidity levels result from its surrounding warm oceans and Gulf, subtropical climate, extensive wetlands and vegetation, and urbanization patterns. With climate change, humidity may increase further in Florida’s already steamy summers.

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