Friday, February 7, 2014

The Windchill fantasy

Windchill is a human concept used to explain how we feel about the cold, not a meaningful number to describe the temperature.

A thermometer  doesn't care if the wind is blowing. It will register the same temp in and out of the wind.

However, because humans generate heat from within that normally creates a barrier of warmth around the body, a brisk wind can reduce or remove that heat barrier resulting in the skin cooling down. If sufficient heat is removed, you can get frost bite. However, your skin will never get colder than the actual temperature. 

Thus saying the temp is 20, but the wind chill is 8 is misleading. The coldest you can get is 20. (But if you do, you've died, so you'll have no need to worry about the matter anymore.)

Even if you are inclined to measure the perception of cold because you think your feelings should count it turns out to be a bit of a quagmire.

 It turns out that our heat sheilds varies greatly. When my nephew was a little skinny boy, he hated coats. Even on the bitterest of days, he'd go without one and people would glare at my sister as if she were the worst of mothers. My nephew generated a massive heat barrier. 

The older, out of shape, woman glaring at my sister, generated far less heat (unless heated condemning glares count.) (They don't, they just hurt feelings.)

Turns out contrary to common belief, fat actually blocks the heat from reaching the upper skin levels and thus lessons your heat barrier. 

What you need to generate heat is lots of muscle mass. Our friend from my Neandertal blog can probably walk naked in -40.

I didn't notice it before, but do you see the tiny little guy he is boxing? (right corner).  What was little guy thinking??? That he was so tiny, he'd be invisible?

Back to current topic...

Old people tend to have less muscle mass which explains why they are always so cold. (and often cranky)

The glaring woman perceived my nephew had to be freezing because she was freezing with five layers of clothes plus a heavy coat on her. If your body cannot create heat to fill all those layers, then even with a coat on, you'll still be uncomfortably cold.

Women also tend to be colder than men because they have less muscle mass.

But it's just our perception.
20 degrees with no wind and 20 degrees with 50mph winds is still 20 degrees.

It's just in in latter, the wind is blowing away our internally generated heat shield.

So stop the whining, put on muscle mass like Neandertal man. And stay young.

This has been a bloody useless learning from Liza- You're Welcome.


  1. Easy for you to say...
    I fear I agree with the tag line.
    thanks for sharing.

    1. That this has been a bloody useless learning from Liza?


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