Wind Chill Science Revisited

I stumbled across this article on with regards to how the “Wind Chill Temperature” is calculated in today’s public forecasts, and the inherent flaws, or rather, extremely simplified assumptions used to translate the values to a “temperature” simply because the public can relate better to a “Feels Like” comment.

From “Brad’s” blog post on Environment Canada’s change in Wind Chill Warning mechanisms;

“As I’ve shown above, there are some egregious assumptions made that oversimplify the reality of how wind chill can be measured. In addition to that, there are fundamental parameters that can be dramatically altered by body type and clothing. The idea that there’s a “one size fits all” solution to wind chill simply isn’t rooted in reality.”



The Rise of the Internet Weatherman (Via Buzzfeed)

“The local TV meteorologist is dying, but it’s never been a better time to be a weatherman.”

Buzzfeed with a great piece on the evolution of the social media-centric weatherman. Aside from the tech and social audience’s desire to avoid television and their local news at all costs (or no costs), its also bred a new form of higher level meteorology to a wider audience. For years the local weather guy/gal throws up a map of the forecasted temps within a 40 mile radius*.

Seriously, does it matter EVEN REMOTELY that it will get to 23 in Schaumburg, but only 19 in Evanston today?  “Hmmm, better pack a scarf, 20 degrees is my cutoff”.  “Amateur” forecasters now throw around terms like ECMWF and MOS regularly and quickly comment on how these models evolve as systems approach, as well as regular updates during storms (@ForecasterEnten has been ferviously covering the latest NYC systems as of late).

It will be very interesting come spring as these roles evolve and the weather affecting the US takes a more violent and uncertain stance as the severe thunderstorm season unfolds. But for now, know that Sonny Skies and Zack Frost have some competition.

* I know former classmates and colleagues who fill television met-roles and do a great job.  Everyone has to adapt sooner or later.  I’m also a trained met myself.