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Dutchess_III's avatar

How is it that the first 35 degree day after summer can cause me to feel like I'm freezing to death, but 35 degrees after well-below freezing weather makes me feel like putting on my shorts and a t-shirt and going to the lake?

Asked by Dutchess_III (46743points) February 12th, 2011

It’s been up to -20 degrees here over a period of a couple of days. Today it’s 33 and it feels down right tropical. Didn’t even need to wear a coat, whereas if it had hit 33 after summer, I’d be bundled up. Is there a scientific explanation for this, or is it all simply a matter of perception?

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19 Answers

YARNLADY's avatar

It is very subjective. I was raised in Colorado, and if the sun was shining, it was warm, despite the actual temperature, but since I moved to California, where the sun shines all the time (hehe) I need a coat unless it’s over 70 degrees.

Cruiser's avatar

I am just the opposite! Had the same God awful minus temps and bundled up to finally get outside and do some chores and almost suffered heat exhaustion! HS 37 degrees and I was sweating my ass off. Got down to sweatshirt and wanted to put on shorts but the snow is too deep!

ChocolateReigns's avatar

I have no clue, but I love it! We’re supposed to hit 40* 3 or 4 times this week, with highs in the upper 30s. Yippee!!

Dutchess_III's avatar

Kind of makes you wonder, if a person is very used to sub-zero temps, like they live at the North Pole or something, and someone from Ca came to visit, and they got stuck outside would the guys from the North Pole be the last to freeze?

@ChocolateReigns It’s supposed to hit in the high 50’s next week.

janbb's avatar

@Dutchess_III I don’t have an answer but I’ve often wondered the very same thing. I go down to Florida at times in the winter and after a day or two, if it’s 55–60, I’m chilly whereas up North in the winter, that would be balmy.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Well, lets go outside nakit @janbb and see who freezes to death first!

Soubresaut's avatar

Hah! Boring answer—I think the body just adjusts. I was sitting next to a lady on an airplane to Arizona, and she was talking about how after the first 6 months, it stopped feeling like you were being baked alive in an oven, blood boiling away.

I had a teacher who had just moved from Wisconsin to a mild-weather area of California and she wore shorts and a tshirt in the coldest point of the year loving how warm the winter was.

As for me, 80 and above is hot, 50s and below is cold, and if it makes it to 32, “It’s technically freezing!! We have frost! Damn this jacket is thin…” I’m sad to say I’ve been weather-spoiled. Four real seasons sounds so exciting to me

john65pennington's avatar

It’s all psychological. Our brain controls our body, everyone know this. Its winter and our brain goes into a “cold” mode. It tells us to turn on inside heat and to keep the doors shut. Its summer and our brain goes into a “hot” mode. It tells us to strip to skin level and jack up the AC.

Its just psychological.

Dutchess_III's avatar

But still interesting @john65pennington!

We seriously have 4 real seasons in Kansas @DancingMind. There are times, during the spring/tornado season that the temps can drop 20 degrees in a matter off minutes. It’s freaky when that happens, and you start looking around for something bad!

gailcalled's avatar

Einstein might say that it’s all relative.

incendiary_dan's avatar

I’ve heard mention that our blood thins or thickens. I’m not sure if the people saying that were being literal or metaphorical.

I imagine it’s metabolism, at least in part.

Coloma's avatar

Yes, I think body adjustment/metabolism is a factor.

We are having unseasonably warm weather, an amazing 10 days or so of 60’s & 70’s. Today is magnificent, 72 degrees, the house is wide open!
I just came in from a walk at the nearby river, everyone is out in droves hiking, kayaking on the river, walking, bicycling, riding horses, BUT….we are supposed to drop way down to freezing at night again and rain/snow starting Tues.

Only in California! haha

Uberwench's avatar

@Dutchess_III Part of it is probably that our bodies tend to react to change more than they do to absolute differences. This fact is one of things behind tactile illusions (see the third example for something somewhat similar to what you’re experiencing). Depending on how you interpret the etiology of such illusions, you might think it’s as much physiological as psychological.

YARNLADY's avatar

@Coloma Down here in the valley, it’s even warmer.

Haleth's avatar

@Dutchess_III I know what you mean! It was 40 here today and I went out without a coat. It was the most amaaaazing feeling.

mattbrowne's avatar

Humidity. Wind.

People can stay 4 minutes in a chamber at -184 F with dry air wearing a bathing suit.

The effect has to do with heat conduction. You can put your hand inside a hot baking oven without problems. As long as you don’t touch the metal of the oven.

Dutchess_III's avatar

It’ supposed to hit 70+ here in a couple of days. This state drives me nuts.

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