How do meteorologists determine the “felt” temperatures in summer and winter?

A 13WMAZ viewer in Perry, Roy Sabine, asked us how meteorologists determine the “tangible” temperatures in summer and winter.

Some days in Central Georgia feel much hotter or colder than actual air temperatures.

Meteorologists use the terms “heat index” and “wind chill” to describe these days.

“Feels like” Temperatures are determined by a number of different atmospheric factors. First, let’s talk about heat indexes that we usually calculate on hot days.

The two factors needed to determine the heat index for the day are actual temperature and relative humidity. Relative humidity refers to the moisture content of the air.

To counteract the heat, your body will begin to sweat. The water released onto your skin starts an evaporation process to keep you cool.

If the air already contains too much moisture, the evaporation process of sweating cannot work as efficiently. This will make you feel hotter on really hot and humid days.

On cold days we can calculate the wind chill. Windchill takes into account air temperatures and the speed of the winds five feet above the ground.

The body’s natural response to cold temperatures is to create goose bumps. The goosebumps make your hair stand up and try to limit the loss of heat from your body.

When the air temperature is cold and the wind speed is high, goosebumps and hair cannot hold as much heat, making your body feel colder on cold, windy days.

This is how meteorologists determine the perceived temperatures.

If you have any questions about weather phenomena and how they work, send us an email at [email protected]

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About Mike Crayton

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