Perceived temperature: why you feel cold – even when it’s not that cold

Every person has a very individual feeling for temperature. Depending on whether you are fat, or thin, muscular or lanky, or just tall or short, you can withstand temperatures differently. Therefore, comparative temperature data makes little sense.

One shivers already at 20 degrees, while at 10 degrees and sunshine you can still see enough T-shirts on the street. So you can actually save it to say that it will be "quite chilly" next night.

How to predict the perceived temperature?

The individual temperature preferences can not even Google or Facebook to find out 100 percent (at least not yet), so to say something more about the temperature, you can use the objective influencing factors.

The factors at a glance:

  • Wind even has a double effect. The protective warm air envelope that surrounds each person is blown away and at the same time more unsaturated air is brought to the skin. This increases the evaporation and therefore the evaporative cooling is higher.
  • Sun on the other hand has a direct influence. Because when the solar radiation reaches the skin, it warms it up immediately. This has a very big influence on the heat balance of a person and can account for up to 15 degrees of perceived temperature.
  • Relative humidity, or air moisture, determines how much heat we can release through sweating. Because if the humidity is low, then the sweat evaporates quickly on the skin and cools the body. But if the relative humidity is high, then evaporation takes longer and the body may come under heat stress.

Therefore, all weather services have been trying for many years to develop a generally valid temperature model that takes exactly these factors into account.

The only problem is that there is no universal model and everyone works on their own formulas, but they all somehow give the same result. However, the results cannot be compared with each other, because the formulas are secret.

Little boys feels different than top athlete

But as I said, this still doesn’t mean that a little boy feels exactly the same as a top athlete in shot-putting. If you want to get something out of it for yourself, you can fall back on two recognized temperature values: the heat index and the wind chill temperature.

For both temperatures, you can enter the forecast data from the Weather Channel and get a very good estimate of whether you are in danger or not.

From when wind amplifies cold dangerously

The wind chill temperature is a good indicator of how cold you feel, as it tells you how long it takes before frostbite sets in on your uncovered skin.

If the temperature drops into the range of severe frost, i.e. below -10 degrees, then being out in the fresh air slowly becomes dangerous. It can, if in addition wind blows, quickly come to frostbite on the skin.

Already at -10 degrees and a wind speed of 35 km/h frostbite occurs within 30 minutes. If it gets even colder and windier, then the so-called frost bite sets in. Frostbite can occur within minutes (less than 5 minutes).

Hipsters are at risk during hard freezes

By the way, beard wearers can also quickly get frostbite in winter. While a well-maintained full beard does provide some insulation from the cold air, it can also freeze the humidity of your breath in your beard.

These ice clumps, if they are close over the skin, can then also promote frostbite. This is also a reason why the beard policy in many armed forces requires shaving in polar areas.

In Germany, however, one can give the all-clear in this respect. Fost-bite conditions only actually occur occasionally in the mountains; so beard wearers are safe.

Who does not sweat, risks the heat collapse

When temperatures rise and it gets hot, the body tries to cool down via the evaporative cooling of sweat. But that only works if the air can also hold water vapor.

Usually warm or hot air can do it, but if the humidity is very high, then you can’t. Then we feel sultriness. If the sultriness becomes too great, then the body is threatened with overheating. The heat index takes into account the humidity in the air and warns of heat damage.

First of all we don’t have to be afraid of the heat in Germany. Next week the highs will drop below 10 degrees, no one will get heat stroke, no matter how high the humidity is.

Keeping an eye on the wind

At the moment everything is half so wild is with the temperatures and the felt values maximally 4 degrees deviate just after 4 degrees downward. Nevertheless, one should not forget in the winter that it can become nevertheless fast dangerous with low Temepraturen and wind and that other humans can shiver already long, while one does not notice anything yet or the other way around.

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