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Old 07-07-2014, 08:20 PM
 
Location: Sydney, Australia
10,419 posts, read 8,292,088 times
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Last night it plummeted down to 5C (41F) here (the sky was clear), though the humidity was kinda high (80%).

In the desert it was also 5C, but the humidity there was in the 30% range (rather dry).

Just wondering, would the air feel any different there despite having the same temp? Is there a big difference between 5C with low humidity and 5C with high humidity even under clear conditions?
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Old 07-07-2014, 08:23 PM
 
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If you were naked and not hairy, it wouldn't make any difference.

The reason people erroneously believe that humid cold is worse than dry cold relates to clothing. Anything with cotton in it will absorb moisture, even if that cotton layer is underneath a hydrophobic layer, and obviously even a slightly damp layer of clothing will chill you quickly. Those who spend a significant amount of time outdoors in cold weather are advised to wear an inner layer of polypropylene or fleece, middle layer(s) of fleece or wool, and outer layers of nylon.

In Saskatoon, Canada, where we have five months of harsh winter weather, most normal people don't dress this way. Heating and vehicular transportation is widespread, and most homes and office buildings are overheated to an uncomfortably warm 21 degrees C. Therefore, people just wear jeans and T shirts, with sweaters and jackets over those, even when it's -40 degrees C. Wearing polypropylene underneath from head to toe is a good way to be very uncomfortable when sitting in a heated office from 9 to 5. If these same people travel to the Niagara Region, where it may be around -10 C with a damp wind off the falls, they would insist that the humid -10 C is much worse than the dry -40 C. This may be true in their case because of the clothing they're wearing, and as such is a faulty comparison because it operates on a faulty premise.

Jeans and corduroy absorb a tremendous amount of moisture from damp air and are responsible for the cold, clammy feeling wearers get from damp cold as opposed to dry cold. I have been able to wear jeans at a very dry -20 C with nothing underneath them without my legs getting cold (and I was walking briskly). I would not be able to do that on a winter evening in London or Paris, but that doesn't mean humid cold is worse. It means humid cold is worse for those wearing absorptive clothing.

Last edited by arctic_gardener; 07-07-2014 at 08:40 PM..
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Old 07-08-2014, 02:49 AM
 
Location: Glendale, Arizona but from norcal
211 posts, read 207,886 times
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I think it makes a big difference. The drier one feels way warmer and more comfortable. When its cold and damp my cheeks and other areas in the face tend to absorb some of the moisture and this makes me feel colder especially with a light breeze. Id say this is one of the reasons why arizona isnt as bad as some other plaaces with similar temps in winter.
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Old 07-08-2014, 08:23 AM
 
Location: Serres, Greece
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Dry cold is better. I live in a humid city and in winter when it falls below 6 C with high humidity (at night it reaches 100%) you walk on the road you are stooping. :P I don 't refer the feeling when it falls below freezing!!! :P
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Old 07-08-2014, 10:35 AM
 
Location: Top of the South, NZ
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High humidity feels warmer, as it retards heat/moisture loss.

Low humidity will produce the cold skin feeling a lot quicker.
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Old 07-08-2014, 12:31 PM
 
Location: Winterpeg & up
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I don't even want to think about 5C right now. It's only 4 months away and I'm enjoying our short summer.
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Old 07-08-2014, 12:54 PM
 
Location: Lexington, KY
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There is an very noticeable difference. Dry cold chills your face and hands, wet cold chills your insides. As with heat, I feel humid cold is more exciting and preferable.
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Old 07-08-2014, 08:15 PM
 
Location: Sydney, Australia
10,419 posts, read 8,292,088 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe90 View Post
High humidity feels warmer, as it retards heat/moisture loss.

Low humidity will produce the cold skin feeling a lot quicker.
I'm gonna say that this is true.
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