If you check the temperature on Google or the weather app, it doesn’t just tell you about low and high temperatures. It also says what that means for the choice of clothes the next day. Hence the ‘feels like’ temperature becomes the easiest way to describe the weather. But how is the ‘feels like’ temperature actually determined? Let’s find out.
Welcome to winters, the thermometer shows ten degrees Celsius, the wind whistles grimly outside, and drizzle falls from the sky. The thermometer still shows ten degrees Celsius but it has started to feel colder. Despite the hat, scarf, and gloves, it feels much more like temperature around zero. How is that possible? Is the thermometer broken or does it have another explanation? Let’s find out.
This so-called ‘feels like’ temperature is often part of the weather forecasts on radio, television, and Google. In addition to the air temperature, it also depends on several other factors. The ‘feels like’ temperature expresses how a person perceives the temperature in their environment. For better understanding, it is given in degrees Celsius, like the air temperature.
To calculate the perceived temperature, in addition to the air temperature, other external factors like wind speed, humidity, and wind chill as well as individual influences that influence our perception of the temperature, are taken into account.
The mean radiation temperature expresses whether and how strong the sun shines and is reflected by the surroundings. If this is the case, for example in the case of house walls illuminated by the sun, the perceived temperature rises. In contrast, high wind speeds reduce the perceived warmth.
Humidity affects the perceived temperature depending on the situation. With a large heat load paired with high air humidity, we can no longer cool our bodies very well by sweating. This increases our perception of the heat load and we perceive it as higher and stuffy heat.
On the other hand, tiny droplets of water get onto the skin of the face when it is wet and cold. They extract additional heat from the body in light winds due to evaporation. This makes the temperature even colder.
In addition to these external factors, people’s heat balance also depends on individual factors. Meteorologists, therefore, take into account the activity of an average person and the thermal insulation of their clothing when calculating the ‘feels like’ temperature.
If the person is male, 1.75 meters tall, weighs 75 kilograms, and is about 35 years old, he can adjust his clothes to the temperature and vary between a T-shirt with thin long trousers and a wool suit with a winter coat.
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The values of the perceived temperature, which are determined with the help of the average build of males and females, can be easily transferred to other people.
Once the model was calculated and prepared, it was assumed that for an older woman who moves less than that the young male says, the result for the perceived temperature was almost the same. Therefore, the ‘feels like’ temperature may vary by a degree or two, but it will feel almost the same to everyone.