Winter weather often shows a severity marked by low dry-bulb temperature combined with high wind speed. The wind chill factor is now a standard meteorological term to express this severity. This factor, or more appropriately the wind chill temperature, represents that air temperature without wind that would effect the same heat loss rate from bare human skin as that due to the actual combined dry-bulb temperature and wind. Currently used wind chill factors derive from a study conducted by the U.S. Antarctic Service over 50 years ago. The data then collected was used to develop a cooling rate as a function of wind speed, which in turn was used to formulate an equation still in use today. The equation is based on primitive experiments with a container of freezing water and an unrealistically high human skin temperature. A more appropriate estimate of the thermal properties of the skin and implementation of modern heat transfer theory can provide a more realistic wind chill factor. Recent research studies suggest that the wind chill equation currently used overestimates the effect of the wind for the range of temperatures and wind speeds expected. This paper provides a new formula for the wind chill factor and a chart of wind chill temperatures for various combinations of dry-bulb temperatures and wind speeds as measured by standard techniques.
Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society – American Meteorological Society
Published: Sep 26, 1999
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