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James P Hansen

Perhaps it may be pointless, misleading, whatever. At the core, I think it succeeds as good communication if it makes the average person think twice and take a heavier coat.

It truly is about effective heat loss, subsequent frostbite, and then hypothermia from inadequate insulation.

I mean the Slate author went to relatively great lengths to understand the history of windchill, why it is kinda bunk at best, and then decree its garbage and should go away. All without proposing a meaningful replacement folks could use in their day to day life to know how to prepare. Proposing that folks could use experience and observation to determine outside safety is nuts.

I suggest Slates authors and editors read the MPR weather blog and sometime. The meteorologists there go to great lengths to not only report the weather, but talk about weather reporting, its challenges in communicating to a semi-educated public, foibles (such as windchill) and so on.

When someone comes up with an interesting, reliable, related, and viable alternative for warning the general public about dangerously cold conditions, I'm more than happy to read about that. All else is navel gazing.

Dollars to donuts, I bet windchill warnings saved a lot of folks' literal backsides the last few days, failure of a statistic and all.


JH: You certainly have a good point about the ultimate goal. I'd rather it be called something else because it isn't just the wind.

Antonio Rinaldi

It's curious. Also here in Italy we speak about "temperatura percepita" (perceived temperature) but during summer when people suffer muggines and want to hear that the hot is hotter. :)
Anyway, I did some googling about perceived temperature and the moust hilaurious thing is its ridicolous unit of measurement.

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