What Is Meant By The Windchill Factor?



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In cold weather, the windchill factor (also called the windchill equivalent temperature or windchill index) is included in weather reports. The windchill factor is a measure of how cold the air feels, due to the interaction of wind and temperature. Wind intensifies the effects of low temperature by removing heat from the body more rapidly than usual.

The windchill factor is the temperature at which the body would lose an equivalent amount of heat, if there were no wind. For instance, if it were 10° Fahrenheit (-12° Celsius) and winds were blowing between 29 and 32 miles per hour (46 and 51 kilometers per hour), the windchill factor would be -35° Fahrenheit (-37° Celsius).

The accompanying chart is used to determine windchill. Find the wind speed in the column on the left and the temperature at the row on top. The square where this column and row intersect gives the windchill factor.

Sources: Ahrens, C. Donald. Meteorology Today: An Introduction to Weather, Climate, and the Environment, 5th ed., pp. 77-79; Vergara, William. Science in Everyday Life, pp. 168-69.

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