Humidity & Cold Weather

A friend from Colorado moved to Florida a few years ago. He swears to me that a cold temperature feels colder in Florida than it felt in Colorado. Just as the humidity makes hot feel hotter, he says humidity makes cold feel colder.

I understand perfectly why humidity makes hot feel hotter, and I know that wind makes cold feel colder. But I’ve never heard any talk of humidity making cold feel colder.

Any info on this?

(Although I do know 70 degree air feels fine, but a 70 degree swimming pool is too cold!)


According to this site,

Great site, thanks.

I think I’m going to suggest the weathermen add “cold index” to the already existing “heat index” and “wind chill factor.”

OTOH, it is very generally regarded that increasing the humidity in a house during the cold of winter will make if feel warmer. See the last part here.

Humidifying your house in the winter is O.K. when you’re trying to increase comfort, but there is a drawback: it increases the water vapor pressure differential around the structure’s envelope (i.e. walls). In the winter (and only in cold climates), water vapor travels from inside your house to the outside. Under the right conditions condensation can form in one of the envelope layers, though this is usually a problem only when there’s a vapor barrier near the outside wall.

I just read some info at the MadSci Network re: relative vs. absolute humidity. It may have something to do with that, but I admit that’s getting above my head.

If it’s humid enough to actually form condensed water on your skin, then you would feel colder, and when the wind blew you would really feel it.

News flash: My earlier post was incorrect. And the quote from the link is wrong. The thermal conductivity of air actually decreases as its relative humidity increases. According to my 2001 copy of the ASHRAE Handbook, 20°C/20% RH air has a thermal conductivity of about 0.025 Wm[sup]-1[/sup]K[sup]-1[/sup], while 20°C/80% RH air has a thermal conductivity of about 0.020 Wm[sup]-1[/sup]K[sup]-1[/sup], which is 20% lower.This link provides a much better explanation of what’s going on.

Is this thread also about monkeys? :slight_smile: