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I'm curious Why do we feel cooler when wind hits us?

  1. Apr 3, 2012 #1
    I don't know much on these kinds of things but I was just sitting here thinking with my fan on...

    So particles or atoms or whichever heat up when they move faster/shake faster right? Why is it when the wind hits me I cool off? I assume the wind would speed them up even more right? I feel stupid but that's ok :P

    So could anyone teach me something new ?
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 3, 2012 #2
    Re: I'm curious..

    What are your thoughts on this?
  4. Apr 3, 2012 #3


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    Welcome to PF!

    Hi GrimReapiN! Welcome to PF! :smile:

    If it's a hot wind, it will make you hotter. :approve:

    If it's a cold wind, it will make you colder. :frown:

    If it's exactly the same temperature as you, yes, the loss of momentum of the wind when it hits you head-on will make you slightly warmer. o:)
  5. Apr 3, 2012 #4
    Re: I'm curious..

    I think the answer is quite involved and depends on many variables including the homeostastasis mechanisms used to maintain a constant temperature.As an example two of the cooling mechanisms used involve sweating and vasodilation. A "cooling" breeze will increase the heat loss efficiency of both mechanisms by more efficient removal of the warmer and more humid air layers close to the body.
  6. Apr 3, 2012 #5
    Re: I'm curious..

    I would more than likely answer the question on where you live. If you live near the equator the wind, in my opinion (and some of the answer of Dadface), wouldn't cool you off rather help you heat up. But that wind is primarily hotter wind because of the atmosphere. If you are located in a place that has cooler temperatures, the wind will be primarily cooler because that specific region isn't hit directly by sun rays.
  7. Apr 4, 2012 #6
    Re: Welcome to PF!

    So lets say it's 80f in my room, and the wind hitting me is also 80f. I would in fact be warming up?
  8. Apr 4, 2012 #7
    Re: I'm curious..

    I don't know too much about this, but I imagine that the speed at which the individual gas molecules are bouncing off of each other (their temperature) is much greater than the speed of the overall air mass (the wind speed).

    Each individual molecule is probably bouncing around in every imaginable direction at speeds orders of magnitude greater than everyday wind speeds. However, their average speed ends up being essentially zero, minus whatever the wind speed happens to be.
  9. Apr 4, 2012 #8


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    if it hits you head-on, and if your skin, or outer clothing, temperature is also 80° F, yes, slightly

    however, if your skin, or outer clothing, temperature is more than 80° F, then your body will have been losing heat to the air anyway, so there will be a temperature gradient away from your skin (from 98° down to 80°), and the air near your skin (nearly 98°) will be swept away by the wind, to be replaced by 80° air, thus enabling you to cool down fairly fast :wink:
  10. Apr 4, 2012 #9


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    Re: I'm curious..

    Probably worth mentioning that evaporation can also make a difference. If you are sweating or happen to be wearing wet clothing, a breeze will cool you down a lot better than when you are dry.
  11. Apr 4, 2012 #10


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    Re: I'm curious..

    ...And wet bulb temperature is a measure of that. Put simply, the wet nulb temperature is the lowest temperature that can be achieved by evaporation of moisture into the air.
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