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January 30, 2014

"Wind Chill Blows: It’s time to get rid of this meaningless number"

I'm not entirely convinced, but it's an interesting argument


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I don't know where the author of the article is from, but there is a significant difference between -5 and -25(with wind chill). I live in the middle of WI and am from MI Upper Peninsula and have lived through some incredibly cold winters and wind chill matters. Once properly acclimated, -5 ain't no big deal. We just had a stretch of -20 (with wind chill of -50) and I have to say the +15 this AM felt quite balmy......In short, wind chill matters.


Wind chill is a marketing term for morons. Just another way to exaggerate a boring topic.


This tiresome lament would be true if we were a hunk of steel or a rock. But since we humans care more about the rate of heat loss than the actual temperature, it is informative to have some guide to that. Yes, it's -20, to take Paul's example, but you just being in outside in the wind you are going to lose heat like it is -50, which means unless you dress to compensate, you are going to feel a lot colder.

Yes, we could all take the objective temperature number (a measure of the heat content of still air), our internal heat generation, integrate to determine the conductive heat transfer between the two, factor in the impact of air movement on the heat transfer due to convection, add in the solar radiation heat addition, etc. Or we could have one objective number and one that gives a qualitative estimate of the subjective sensation.

I get stray cats on my front porch in the winter when it is windy. It is protected from the prevailing winds. Cats understand wind chill, not as a number but as an impact on their management of their heat loss.

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