Wind Chill - North American and UK - Celsius scale


Wind-chill or windchill, (popularly wind chill factor) is the perceived decrease in air temperature felt by the body on exposed skin due to the flow of air.

Wind chill numbers are always lower than the air temperature for values where the formula is valid. When the apparent temperature is higher than the air temperature, the heat index is used instead.

A surface loses heat through conduction, convection, and radiation. The rate of convection depends on the difference in temperature between the surface and its surroundings. As convection from a warm surface heats the air around it, an insulating boundary layer of warm air forms against the surface. Moving air disrupts this boundary layer, or epiclimate, allowing for cooler air to replace the warm air against the surface. The faster the wind speed, the more readily the surface cools.

The effect of wind chill is to increase the rate of heat loss and reduce any warmer objects to the ambient temperature more quickly. It cannot, however, reduce the temperature of these objects below the ambient temperature, no matter how great the wind velocity. For most biological organisms, the physiological response is to generate more heat in order to maintain a surface temperature in an acceptable range. The attempt to maintain a given surface temperature in an environment of faster heat loss results in both the perception of lower temperatures and an actual greater heat loss. In other words, the air 'feels’ colder than it is because of the chilling effect of the wind on the skin. In extreme conditions this will increase the risk of adverse effects such as frostbite.

In November 2001 Canada, U.S. and U.K. implemented a new wind chill index developed by scientists and medical experts on the Joint Action Group for Temperature Indices (JAG/TI). It is determined by iterating a model of skin temperature under various wind speeds and temperatures using standard engineering correlations of wind speed and heat transfer rate. Heat transfer was calculated for a bare face in wind, facing the wind, while walking into it at 1.4 metres per second (3.1 mph). The model corrects the officially measured wind speed to the wind speed at face height, assuming the person is in an open field. The results of this model may be approximated, to within one degree, from the formula shown here – based on the Celsius temperature scale.

Related formulas


TWCwind chill index, based on the Celsius temperature scale (dimensionless)
Taair temperature in degrees Celsius (dimensionless)
Vwind speed at 10 metres (standard anemometer height) in km/h (dimensionless)