Why does wind feel cold?


Whether for good (breeze on a hot day) or bad (wind chill in winter) moving air always feels colder than still air. Why is that?

In: Physics

Cool air removes heat from your body. As that happens, the air surrounding your body warms – reducing the temperature difference between the air and your body, which in turn slows down the rate of heat transfer between your body and the air.

A wind removes this layer of warmed air and replaces it with cooler ambient air, which has a larger temperature difference with your body, which increases the rate of heat transfer between your body and the air, which you feel as “cold”.

The opposite can happen when the ambient air temperature is higher than your body temperature. In this case, the wind will feel hot.

Answer: Your body is producing heat at all times. This heat acts somewhat like an aura around your body, an invisible membrane between you and the air around you. So the temperature you feel on your skin is a combination of your own heat mixed with air temperature, and when a strong gust of wind hits you, it briefly strips you of that membrane.

This is also the reason why standing in 70F degree weather feels much warmer than jumping into a 70F degree pool of water.