The perception of temperature

, 2 minutes to read, 50 views

After a pretty terrible spring, the weather has slowly become nice. And by terrible I mean it was raining almost every day for a whole week. I’m not sure if this is actually true or just in my brain, but it felt like the humidity was so high, I always felt kind of wet. Now that the weather is pleasant, I felt some confusion around what is warm and what isn’t. Let me explain.

Feeling warm when it’s cold

In winter, when it is objectively cold, you can often effortlessly feel warm (or at least warmer). You put on some coat, gloves, and a hat, and you become warmer. That works very well until a certain degree. If it’s too cold, then it’s really hard to stay warm in any way.

But then when it slowly becomes warmer, I always notice a strange phenomenon. You start to feel too warm, especially if you are inside wearing a long jumper and long trousers. Suddenly, it’s only like 18 °C1 and you are becoming hot. Not much of a problem, taking off a jumper is fairly easily done. A then when it’s even a bit warmer, anywhere around 20 °C2 suddenly you feel like you are breaking a sweat when cycling. Or walking too fast. Or running towards the bus.

So pretty suddenly the temperature is not even that high yet, but it feels warmer.

Feeling cold when it’s warm(ish)

So now that it’s warm (it’s currently measuring around 23 °C3 in my apartment), it was one of the first warm and sunny days in a while, somehow I feel too cool. It feels like I should be warmer. I’m not entirely sure as to why, but here are two explanation attempts.

Firstly, because it’s nice and warm, I put on some short clothes. Shorts and no more jumpers. So suddenly, when wearing less clothes, the 23 °C are not actually that warm. Especially in the shade, especially in the evening.

Secondly, I think, being in an office with incredibly warm meeting rooms, I got used to some heat, so now it doesn’t actually feel that warm.

Or maybe I’m just a bit confused today, after all, it is a nice day with nice weather.

Here’s to a wonderful, long, rich and warm summer.


  1. This blog uses Celsius and will not apologise for it. ↩︎

  2. If you insist, I can provide the translations: 20 °C are about 293°K. ↩︎

  3. Yeah, it’s degrees Celsius, International System of Units all the way. ↩︎

Tags: Outdoor, Personal