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  #51  
Old 07-26-2011, 12:36 PM
BDoors BDoors is offline
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Originally Posted by Sunspace View Post
"Fahrenheit-using countries"? Plural? Is there more than one Fahrenheit-using country? Officially? (I grant that there's some unofficial Fahrenheit use in Canada; I think I even heard it on the radio a few months ago, on a station that caters to old people and American tourists...)
Apparently they also use it in Belize. Although it does seem unlikely that any weather forecast there has ever included the phrase "ten below".
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  #52  
Old 07-26-2011, 12:38 PM
md2000 md2000 is offline
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Originally Posted by Lemur866 View Post
No, 100F was supposed to be body temperature, and 0F was the coldest salt and ice brine that Fahrenheit could make.

I grew up in Fairbanks Alaska. The convenient thing about living there is that 40 below means the same thing in both Fahrenheit and Celsius.
Yes, Farenheit was trying to construct a thermometer that anyone could reproduce in their own lab, back in the early days of scientific experimentation. The trouble with "boil water" is that it could vary depending on altitude (altough I doubt that that mattered or that Farenheit knew it was a problem). When ice and salt are mixed, the coldest they get is 0F. The joke goes that while devising his thermometer, he got a slight fever from frequently mixing all that ice and salt.
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  #53  
Old 07-26-2011, 12:54 PM
Sunspace Sunspace is offline
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Originally Posted by BDoors View Post
Apparently they also use it in Belize.
Interesting. A little searching turned up the Belize News website, which links to various Belizean media. Fahrenheit temperatures are indeed more prominent.
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  #54  
Old 07-26-2011, 12:56 PM
septimus septimus is online now
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Originally Posted by Koxinga View Post
No, I'm afraid I've never seen that before. Sorry.
Oops! Teach me not to skim. Sorry, back.

It is a good story though, right?
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  #55  
Old 07-26-2011, 01:04 PM
LunarPlexus LunarPlexus is offline
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Originally Posted by BDoors View Post
We measure it relative to freezing. I can't tell you how other people experience it. I imagine along the lines of "cold", "not cold", "bloody cold" etc., much like Americans.
Do you? Since 0(C) = "freezing," it could be said that you are measuring it relative to 0, which we are also doing when we say "10 below."
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  #56  
Old 07-26-2011, 01:05 PM
robert_columbia robert_columbia is offline
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Originally Posted by johnpost View Post
in near tropical Canada...
wait, what?
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  #57  
Old 07-26-2011, 01:15 PM
Acsenray Acsenray is offline
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Originally Posted by robert_columbia View Post
wait, what?
Windsor is south of Detroit, you know.
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  #58  
Old 07-26-2011, 01:22 PM
Little Nemo Little Nemo is online now
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I grew up in northern New England. When we say "ten below" we mean ten degrees below zero degrees fahrenheit. We might also says "ten below freezing" in which case we mean twenty-two degrees fahrenheit.

Freezing temperature (thirty-two degrees fahrenheit or zero degrees celsius) would be considered a mild temperature in winter time. I'll go outside without a coat when it's thirty-two degrees out.

Zero degrees fahrenheit, on the other hand, is cold.
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  #59  
Old 07-26-2011, 01:27 PM
pulykamell pulykamell is online now
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Originally Posted by The Flying Dutchman View Post
Actually we still say "potato" the same way you northern Americans do. And we say "about" not "aboot" as well
Sure, you don't say "aboot" but many Canadian accents don't say "about" (at least as how most American accents would say it) quite, either. "Aboot" is a rough, inexact, transliteration of how it sounds to many American listeners' ears (although not everyone notices it.) Whenever I listen to NPR, I could tell which of the hosts come from Canada based on their pronunciation of that vowel sound, which is a little different than the pronunciation in most American accents. I'm not saying I can identify all the Canadian voices, as not all of them have the "Canadian raising", but there a lot of them who do. Like Dick Gordon. Or Sook-Yin Lee of "Definitely Not the Opera." And American "ow" is /aʊ/, while those accents with Canadian raising the initial vowel of that diphthong is higher up in the throat, closer to an "eh" /ɛ/ or an "uh" /ʌ/ sound.

Last edited by pulykamell; 07-26-2011 at 01:31 PM..
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  #60  
Old 07-26-2011, 01:32 PM
mlees mlees is offline
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Originally Posted by markdash View Post
As a native Californian, I object to some of the characterizations of Americans in this thread.

For me, ten below is ten below 50F.

There is no such thing as 0F. It's a ghost story told to kids.
The high desert (like around China Lake) gets freeking cold at night in the winter months, and freeking hot in the day time in the summer.
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  #61  
Old 07-26-2011, 01:40 PM
engineer_comp_geek engineer_comp_geek is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lemur866 View Post
No, 100F was supposed to be body temperature, and 0F was the coldest salt and ice brine that Fahrenheit could make.
Fahrenheit was looking to make 0 to 100 correspond to the coldest and hottest temperatures one could expect in Europe, but you can't make a scale out of "roughly the coldest day" and "roughly the hottest day". He needed something more constant and easily reproducible, so he chose exactly what you posted.

He fiddled around a bit before finally settling on those though. The brine mixture that you mentioned proved to automatically stabilize itself so it made a good temperature reference. On the hot side he played around with things like human body temperature and also with Ole Romer's original scale, multiplied by four to get the numbers into roughly the range he wanted. After some fiddling with one of his revised scales, he found that water boiled at something above 200 degrees. He then modified his scale so he could get water to boil at exactly 212 degrees, so that there would be exactly 180 degrees difference between the boiling and freezing points of water. Human body temperature ended up at about 98 on his revised scale.
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  #62  
Old 07-26-2011, 02:13 PM
Mahaloth Mahaloth is offline
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Originally Posted by thelabdude View Post
I can't believe a simple question with a simple, unambiguous answer has now reached 47 posts.
I know, I'm always surprised.

By the way, I'm in America and say "Negative 10" or "10 below zero" if the situation arises.
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  #63  
Old 07-26-2011, 02:49 PM
jtgain jtgain is offline
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Originally Posted by BDoors View Post
The record low in London is -10C.
It's never gotten colder than 14F in London? That seems amazing to me for some reason, it being as far north as it is.
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  #64  
Old 07-26-2011, 02:51 PM
bibliophage bibliophage is offline
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Originally Posted by septimus View Post
Any other Jack London fans? I like To Build a Fire which describes temperatures so low you wonder if there's an off-by-32 error. However this is clarified in the first line of the following excerpt:
Quote:
Fifty degrees below zero meant eighty odd degrees of frost....
This is what I came to post about. Degrees of frost was formerly a common way of quantifying temperatures below freezing. I've seen it a lot in books about Arctic and Antarctic expeditions. Three degrees of frost means 29 F. Likewise 3 degrees of fever refers to a body temperature 3 degrees above normal body temperature, or about 101.6 F.
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  #65  
Old 07-26-2011, 03:03 PM
engineer_comp_geek engineer_comp_geek is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jtgain View Post
It's never gotten colder than 14F in London? That seems amazing to me for some reason, it being as far north as it is.
The wind patterns and ocean currents (specifically the North Atlantic Current) tend to make the weather in England fairly mild. The summers don't get too hot and the winters don't get too cold. Those same wind and ocean currents also make England windy and give it some fairly unpredictable weather. You can have hot T-shirt and shorts weather one week and be in light jackets the next (at least that's the way it has been every time I've gone over there to visit relatives).
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  #66  
Old 07-26-2011, 03:09 PM
BDoors BDoors is offline
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Originally Posted by jtgain View Post
It's never gotten colder than 14F in London? That seems amazing to me for some reason, it being as far north as it is.
I got that from the BBC weather pages: http://news.bbc.co.uk/weather/forecast/8# , click More then Average Conditions.
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  #67  
Old 07-26-2011, 04:00 PM
MarcusF MarcusF is offline
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London is a special case - massive city with its own micro-climate. Out in the English countryside the coldest temperature measured was -26C - say "15 below".
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  #68  
Old 07-26-2011, 05:22 PM
clairobscur clairobscur is offline
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Originally Posted by Koxinga View Post
As opposed to the rest of the metric system (ease of convertibility into other units and all that), as far as I can see there really shouldn't be any basis for arguing Celsius has any advantage over Fahrenheit,.
In fact, the Celsius scale isn't part of the metric system.
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  #69  
Old 07-26-2011, 05:35 PM
clairobscur clairobscur is offline
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Originally Posted by jtgain View Post
It's never gotten colder than 14F in London? That seems amazing to me for some reason, it being as far north as it is.

At the same latitude, temperatures in Western Europe and in America are widly different. This is due in part to the Gulf Stream, bringing hot water to the European coasts, and in part to the cold wind regime in eastern North-America. Usual winter temperatures in, say Canada are absurdly low by comparison with Europe at the same latitude (so much so that I'm even unable to imagine how cold say, -30 C, could be like. I guess you just drop dead if you leave your house or something).

And having a very oceanic climate, the UK is even more peculiar, with usually a very short range of temperatures by comparison with the continent. It's essentially never really cold and never really hot there.
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  #70  
Old 07-26-2011, 05:38 PM
CookingWithGas CookingWithGas is offline
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I don't want to play a game of "I'm tougher than you" because I don't really like cold weather that much. I lived in Ann Arbor for 8 years and that was enough cold weather for a lifetime for me. And A2 isn't even that cold.

But you recalibrate depending on what you've experienced. In the DC area I hate it when it's 45oF and these wussies tell me it's cold.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Motorgirl View Post
...when it is significantly below 32 it is "wicked cold" and when it is below 0 it is "f-ing cold." HTH
Quote:
Originally Posted by Merneith View Post
Freezing
Cold
Really Cold
Really Fucking Cold
Zero
Below Zero
Ridiculously Cold
Witches' Tits.
My F scale would be

45: Put the top up, it's getting chilly
32: Put a coat on, it's getting cold, and watch for black ice
20: brush the frost off your moustache, it's pretty cold
0: Now that's cold. Put on gloves and a hat if you have to go out even for a few minutes.
-10: Now it's fucking cold. Let the dog in.

I have never been in weather colder than -10 but I am going to call that "take the next plane to Hawaii."
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  #71  
Old 07-26-2011, 06:08 PM
BrotherCadfael BrotherCadfael is offline
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Originally Posted by TriPolar View Post
The Fahrenheit scale is much maligned, but it does suit the US temperature range quite well. Temps above 100F and below 0F are very rare, so anything above or below these figures are noteworthy.
Along the northern tier, temps below zero Fahrenheit are reasonably common each winter. 100+ almost never, but common enough in the desert Southwest. But by and large, zero to 100 is about the temperature range of much of the country.
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  #72  
Old 07-26-2011, 06:16 PM
Apollyon Apollyon is offline
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Originally Posted by clairobscur View Post
In fact, the Celsius scale isn't part of the metric system.
Celsius has been an SI unit since 1967.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Resolution 3 of the 13th meeting of the CGPM (1967/68)
3. a temperature interval may also be expressed in degrees Celsius;
(cite)

Last edited by Apollyon; 07-26-2011 at 06:17 PM.. Reason: Spelling Celsius right :)
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  #73  
Old 07-26-2011, 06:37 PM
TriPolar TriPolar is offline
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Originally Posted by BrotherCadfael View Post
Along the northern tier, temps below zero Fahrenheit are reasonably common each winter. 100+ almost never, but common enough in the desert Southwest. But by and large, zero to 100 is about the temperature range of much of the country.
It's certainly not ideal. But it is good for weather reports. Re-reading the thread, it looks like engineer_comp_geek mentioned this first. But in other countries people don't seem to have a problem reporting the weather in Celcius. The scale is in smaller units, but it's not 1 or 2 degrees F that makes much difference anyway. Although negative numbers for common temperatures would seem strange to me.
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  #74  
Old 07-26-2011, 07:27 PM
Sunspace Sunspace is offline
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Originally Posted by TriPolar View Post
Although negative numbers for common temperatures would seem strange to me.
It's just the convenient signal of, "Hey! It's below freezing! Watch out for ice/more skidding cars than usual/slippery sidewalks/etc!".

I understand the Fahrenheit scale; it was around in my earliest childhood in Canada. I still remember the day the first weather report was in metric. But I find the Celsius scale's use of 0 as the signal of the great change from solid to liquid water is more logical than the Fahrenheit scale's use of 32.
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  #75  
Old 07-26-2011, 08:38 PM
Normal Phase Normal Phase is offline
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Originally Posted by Apollyon View Post
Celsius has been an SI unit since 1967.

quote=Resolution 3 of the 13th meeting of the CGPM (1967/68)]
3. a temperature interval may also be expressed in degrees Celsius;

(cite)
Key word: Interval.

The Celsius and Fahrenheit scales are in fact equally arbitrary. However, the Kelvin scale, which is not (it bottoms out at zero = absolute zero of temperature) happens to have been based on the Celsius scale. Degrees are the exact same size, but it's offset by 273.15 something.

So while a degree difference in Celsius is exactly the same as a 1 Kelvin difference, the absolute temperatures as measured on each scale are different. "The temperature in the vessel dropped 15 degrees Celsius" is equivalent to "the temperature in the vessel dropped 15 K", and apparently both are accepted as SI. But "the temperature was measured at 15 degrees Celsius" is not SI; the SI requires a conversion to Kelvins, or "the temperature was measured at 288 K". And you use Kelvins for any absolute temperature needed in calculations.

That makes the Celsius scale easier to use than Fahrenheit for scientific needs, because it's one fewer conversion, yet still familiar.
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  #76  
Old 07-26-2011, 09:07 PM
Sunspace Sunspace is offline
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Originally Posted by Normal Phase View Post
Key word: Interval.

The Celsius and Fahrenheit scales are in fact equally arbitrary. However, the Kelvin scale, which is not (it bottoms out at zero = absolute zero of temperature) happens to have been based on the Celsius scale. Degrees are the exact same size, but it's offset by 273.15 something.

So while a degree difference in Celsius is exactly the same as a 1 Kelvin difference, the absolute temperatures as measured on each scale are different.
:: nods ::

Nitpick: we don't need to capitalize "kelvin"; while the unit may be named after Lord Kelvin, only the symbol K is capitalized.

Note also the difference between saying "one Celsius degree" and "one degree Celsius": the first describes a temperature interval, which could be between many pairs of temperatures; the second describes a specific temperature.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Normal Phase View Post
That makes the Celsius scale easier to use than Fahrenheit for scientific needs, because it's one fewer conversion, yet still familiar.
There's also a Fahrenheit-sized equivalent to kelvins: the Rankine scale.
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  #77  
Old 07-26-2011, 10:19 PM
Bytegeist Bytegeist is offline
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Originally Posted by clairobscur View Post
Usual winter temperatures in, say Canada are absurdly low by comparison with Europe at the same latitude (so much so that I'm even unable to imagine how cold say, -30 C, could be like. I guess you just drop dead if you leave your house or something).
In the upper Midwest, where I grew up, they would probably cancel recess at that temperature but you were still expected at school, and the adults still went to work.

Society still functioned more or less as usual. Only a heavy snowfall would keep people indoors.
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  #78  
Old 07-26-2011, 11:25 PM
TriPolar TriPolar is offline
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Originally Posted by Sunspace View Post
It's just the convenient signal of, "Hey! It's below freezing! Watch out for ice/more skidding cars than usual/slippery sidewalks/etc!".

I understand the Fahrenheit scale; it was around in my earliest childhood in Canada. I still remember the day the first weather report was in metric. But I find the Celsius scale's use of 0 as the signal of the great change from solid to liquid water is more logical than the Fahrenheit scale's use of 32.
Well there's no arguing that Farhrenheit is logical. 32 and 212 are arbitrary, and the scale had to be adjusted to get the freezing and boiling points to be integers. I'm just used to Fahrenheit for the weather. I would find it very annoying to be a chemist and have to measure temperature in Fahrenheit.

Does anyone know why the term Centigrade was abandoned in favor of Celsius?
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  #79  
Old 07-26-2011, 11:33 PM
Jenaroph Jenaroph is offline
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Originally Posted by CookingWithGas View Post

My F scale would be

45: Put the top up, it's getting chilly
32: Put a coat on, it's getting cold, and watch for black ice
20: brush the frost off your moustache, it's pretty cold
0: Now that's cold. Put on gloves and a hat if you have to go out even for a few minutes.
-10: Now it's fucking cold. Let the dog in.

I have never been in weather colder than -10 but I am going to call that "take the next plane to Hawaii."
I'd add in one note to your scale,

10: Boogers begin to freeze, pull your scarf up
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  #80  
Old 07-26-2011, 11:41 PM
Boyo Jim Boyo Jim is offline
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Originally Posted by Merneith View Post
North American - I've never heard anyone, even once, say "ten below" when they were talking about 22 degrees Fahrenheit. I also don't know anyone who bothers doing any math to figure out how far below freezing "ten below" would work out to be. Thirty-two degrees, twenty-two degrees, and ten below don't really relate to each other. They all occupy distinct points on our mental scale which goes something like:

Freezing
Cold
Really Cold
Really Fucking Cold
Zero
Below Zero
Ridiculously Cold
Witches' Tits.

In general, I would say North Americans don't really care what the actual thermometer says - we're more interested in the what the weatherman says about windchill factor or the humidity, probably because those are more extreme numbers.
There are different North American scales too. In Wisconsin, it's not Really Fucking cold until well Below Zero.

32 F is springtime
0 F is brisk
-10 F is a might chilly.
-20 F is cold
-30 F is Really Fucking Cold

We choose not to pay any attention to Wind Chill -- that's entirely imaginary and for pussies.
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  #81  
Old 07-26-2011, 11:49 PM
ricksummon ricksummon is online now
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"Ten below" is, in fact, hotter than any positive temperature on the Kelvin scale.
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  #82  
Old 07-27-2011, 12:24 AM
Boyo Jim Boyo Jim is offline
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Originally Posted by ricksummon View Post
"Ten below" is, in fact, hotter than any positive temperature on the Kelvin scale.
Nonsense. Kelvin is the same as Celsius but with a different zero point.

+32 F = 0 C = 273 K

Kelvin has no negative numbers because it starts at Absolute Zero. But it goes up as high as any other temperature scale goes.
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  #83  
Old 07-27-2011, 05:49 AM
panache45 panache45 is offline
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I've always wondered why ≤32F is "freezing." Why don't we refer to 32F as "freezing" and <32F as "frozen."
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  #84  
Old 07-27-2011, 06:42 AM
Colophon Colophon is offline
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Originally Posted by BDoors View Post
Overnight lows of down to about -4C are not that unusual. The record low in London is -10C.
-21C, actually but that was in January 1795 when London was a rather different place.

I live about 35 miles from London and it got down to -18C here in winter 1982, when I was five. That's about half a degree below in Fahrenheit terms...
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  #85  
Old 07-27-2011, 09:12 AM
ricksummon ricksummon is online now
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Originally Posted by Boyo Jim View Post
Nonsense. Kelvin is the same as Celsius but with a different zero point.

+32 F = 0 C = 273 K

Kelvin has no negative numbers because it starts at Absolute Zero. But it goes up as high as any other temperature scale goes.
Did you click on the link? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Negative_temperature

Last edited by ricksummon; 07-27-2011 at 09:13 AM..
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  #86  
Old 07-27-2011, 10:02 AM
Floater Floater is offline
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Originally Posted by BDoors View Post
The record low in London is -10C.
Do you happen to know when that was? I was in London in December 1976 and it was about that cold then. The Serpentine was covered with ice and there was snow on the ground, but that didn't deter a couple of boys from playing football dressed in T-shirts and shorts.

I have also had snowfall in London on May 3rd once.

ETA Did you know that Celsius' original temperature scale had freezing at -100 and boiling at 0? It was later changed by Carl Wilhelm Scheele.

Last edited by Floater; 07-27-2011 at 10:04 AM..
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  #87  
Old 07-27-2011, 11:47 AM
SimonMoon5 SimonMoon5 is offline
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Originally Posted by TriPolar View Post
The Fahrenheit scale is much maligned, but it does suit the US temperature range quite well. Temps above 100F and below 0F are very rare,

Well, around here (in Oklahoma), temps above 100F are not rare. We typically get three weeks of such temperature a year and this particular year, it looks like we may get far more than that, getting around two months of such temperatures. We may even break records.

Last edited by SimonMoon5; 07-27-2011 at 11:48 AM..
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  #88  
Old 07-27-2011, 12:23 PM
Bytegeist Bytegeist is offline
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Originally Posted by TriPolar View Post
Does anyone know why the term Centigrade was abandoned in favor of Celsius?
To honor Anders Celsius, a Swedish astronomer who defined (almost) the scale that now bears his name although he had the numbers running in the opposite direction.
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  #89  
Old 07-27-2011, 01:00 PM
Shot From Guns Shot From Guns is offline
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Originally Posted by BDoors View Post
I have not exhibited any such attitude. Somebody said "below zero, of course" and I acknowledged their answer and then merely explained why it was not "of course" to me.
Not sure why it's not "of course." In Celsius, temperatures aren't "below" because they're "below freezing" but because they're "below zero," which on that scale happens to coincide with freezing. In Fahrenheit, temperatures "below" are also "below zero"--our zero is simply lower than yours.

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Originally Posted by TriPolar View Post
School was cancelled around here once when the temp hit '5 below'.
I really wish school would have been canceled here every time it hit 5 below. Especially if you factored in windchill. I'm not even sure we canceled recess for that (and if you tried to hang around the bathrooms to stay warm, they'd chase you out).

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Originally Posted by jtgain View Post
It's never gotten colder than 14F in London? That seems amazing to me for some reason, it being as far north as it is.
There are palm trees in Ireland.

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Originally Posted by panache45 View Post
I've always wondered why ≤32F is "freezing." Why don't we refer to 32F as "freezing" and <32F as "frozen."
Actually, when referring to specific temperatures, I hear anything lower than 32 as "below freezing," while the general descriptor of "freezing" is not meant to be taken literally and, depending on the tolerance of the person speaking, may be well above 32. For example, while waiting in line at the taco cart outside to get some lunch, I thought to myself, "Man, it's freezing out here," when the temperature display I can see from the office says something like 63 (i.e., 20 degrees colder than it has been the rest of the week, and 30 degrees colder than last week).
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  #90  
Old 07-27-2011, 01:22 PM
BDoors BDoors is offline
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Originally Posted by Shot From Guns View Post
In Celsius, temperatures aren't "below" because they're "below freezing" but because they're "below zero," which on that scale happens to coincide with freezing.
I'm not sure what that assertion is based on. Leaving aside the fact that people here (UK) would not word it as "ten below" (they'd more likely say "minus ten"), how could anyone know whether they meant below zero or below freezing, especially since they are the same thing? Has there been a poll on the matter?

When I initially puzzled about this, I actually thought that Americans had usefully exploited the fact that the Fahrenheit system has two obvious reference points in that temperature range -- zero, and freezing -- and so they had two ways of expressing low temperatures in relative terms - "ten below" for below freezing, and perhaps "minus ten" for below zero. Whereas we Celsius users can only give temparatures relative to one point. It turns out not to be the case, but that's what I was wondering about.

Last edited by BDoors; 07-27-2011 at 01:26 PM..
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  #91  
Old 07-27-2011, 02:05 PM
Shot From Guns Shot From Guns is offline
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Fair enough.
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  #92  
Old 07-28-2011, 10:08 AM
Bosstrain Bosstrain is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2011
when I hear it's ten below in the weather report, all that means to me is put on a coat, cause it's cold enough to freeze your balls off out there
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