Why does the same temperature feel different at different times?

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Ash Mcgee

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AshMcgee asked the Naked Scientists:
   Really enjoy the show - listen every week. Was wondering whether you could
answer a question I've been thinking about for years...

Why is it that on a warm summer's day you can comfortably sit inside in
shorts and t-shirts when it's 15 degrees inside, yet on a winter's day
at the same temperature you would be wrapped up to the eyeballs?

If you could shed some light on this conundrum it would be most appreciated!

Thanks and keep up the sterling work

What do you think?


Offline Chemistry4me

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I think it might have something to do with the humidity.


Offline stereologist

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Part of the issue is expectation. You expect to be cold and dress for that even if it is not required. Part of the issue is humidity. Cold air is dry air and dry air feels cooler. During the summer the humidity is higher since the air is warmer. You also feel colder when hungry, although some people report feeling colder when they eat. Drugs that alter blood flow can make you feel warmer or colder. Alcohol is a vasodilator. Drinking allows core heat to flow outward giving a sense of warmth. Nicotine is a vasoconstrictor. Smoking restricts blood flow to the extremities making them feel cooler. I'm sure there are other conditions as well.


Offline RD

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Wind chill is going to make it feel colder outdoors.