Climate and Weather


Who is associated with developing the concept of wind chill?

The Antarctic explorer Paul A. Siple (1908–1968) coined the term wind chill in his 1939 dissertation, “Adaptation of the Explorer to the Climate of Antarctica.” Siple was the youngest member of Admiral Richard Byrd’s Antarctica expedition in 1928–1930, and later made other trips to the Antarctic as part of Byrd’s staff and for the U.S. Department of the Interior assigned to the U.S. Antarctic Expedition. He also served in many other endeavors related to the study of cold climates.

What is meant by the wind chill factor?

The wind chill factor, or wind chill index, is a number that expresses the cooling effect of moving air at different temperatures. It indicates in a general way how many calories of heat are carried away from the surface of the body. The National Weather Service began reporting the equivalent wind chill temperature along with the actual air temperature in 1973. For years it was believed that the index overestimated the wind’s cooling effect on skin. In 2001–2002 a new wind chill index was instituted, and additional corrections are expected in the next few years. Below is the official wind chill chart from the National Weather Service as of 2009.


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