When temperatures really start to drop in the winter, you’ll hear us talk about a wind chill a lot. Often times when we talk about “what does the air look like” we get a lot of questions about what that really means. Often times people tell us they think we are making it up or that it’s some kind of scary tactic to make the cold air cooler. It’s not. Wind chill is a real thing that was developed to help us all better understand how cold air and wind are more harmful to your body than this same level of cold.
According to the National Weather Service who developed this chart and the equation for wind chill, “Wind chill is based on the rate of heat loss from exposed skin caused by wind and cold. As the wind increases, it draws heat from the body, lowering the temperature of the skin and eventually the internal temperature of the body. Therefore, the wind makes it much colder. It is important to note that wind chill should only be considered for people and animals. When the wind is strong in cold weather, it will cool your pipes and your car faster. But wind chill is meant to show what the wind and cold will feel on the skin, not inanimate objects.
Still not convinced? Here is more information from the National Weather Service on how their calculator calculates wind chill based on temperature and wind speed:
From the user, we are given an air temperature (T) and a wind speed (Windsfc).
In order to calculate wind chill, the temperature must be converted to degrees Fahrenheit (° F). Additionally, in order to calculate wind chill, wind speed must be converted to miles per hour (mph).
Then the wind chill can be calculated using this formula:
WindChill = 35.74 + (0.6215 × T) – (35.75 × Windsfc ^ 0.16) + (0.4275 × T × Windsfc ^ 0.16)