Temperature is actually the speed of how fast or slow molecules and atoms of a substance are moving. We measure temperature through the use of a thermometer and use measurement scales based on Fahrenheit, Celsius and Kelvin.
A thermometer has mercury in it that is sensitive to the changes in temperature. When the temperature increases, the mercury expands and raises up in the glass that holds it. When the temperature drops, the mercury shrinks and lowers within the glass.
While we might know what the temperature is outside, we often hear about the ‘wind chill index’. This is the temperature that you will feel on your body when the wind speed is combined with the actual air temperature. The higher the speed of the wind the more quickly the exposed areas of your body will lose heat and the colder you will feel.
Another important term is the ‘heat index’. This is very important in the summer time when temperatures become too hot for people to stay out in them for long periods of time. The heat index is the combination of the humidity and the air temperature to give you a description of how the temperature feels on your body. It isn’t the actual temperature that you would see in a thermometer.
- A person can experience heat stroke if they are out in a hot environment for long periods of time. It is life threatening and is one of the most severe types of heat injuries.
- If a person is exposed to 130 degrees Fahrenheit or above for long periods of time they are highly likely to experience heat stroke. 105-130 degrees Fahrenheit gives them a rating of ‘likely’ to experience heat stroke with prolonged exposure and 90-105 degrees Fahrenheit is listed as ‘possible’ heat stroke with prolonged exposure.
When it is really cold outside you might be able to see your breath. This is because the temperature of your breath coming out of your nose or mouth is warmer than the outside air. When cool air meets with warm moist air it creates a vapor through the process of condensation.
One of the interesting things about temperature is that you might actually be able to tell the temperature when you listen to crickets chirping. The chirping varies with the outside temperature. You can count the number of cricket chirps in a fifteen second interval and then add the number ‘37’ to get an approximate temperature in Fahrenheit measurement.
- There are many types of temperature warnings in the extreme seasons:
- Wind chill advisory means that the temperature with the wind chill factor is between -15 to -24 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Wind chill warning is usually issued when the temperature of the wind chill is expected to be -25 degrees Fahrenheit or lower.
Heat advisories are issued when the heat index exceeds or is equal to 105 degrees Fahrenheit and less than 115 degrees Fahrenheit for less than three hours in the day. Night time heat indices are listed as maintaining 80 degrees Fahrenheit or above for at least two consecutive days.
- Excessive heat watch is more extreme and list the heat index at 115 degrees Fahrenheit or greater that may occur within the next couple of days.
- Excessive heat warning is one of the highest warnings and indicates that the heat index will be 115 degrees Fahrenheit or more for over three hours per day for at least two consecutive days.