Slate calls BS on the wind chill factor

Daniel Engber has a piece at, the topic of which speaks to our hearts and extremities—the wind chill factor. In our part of the country, where chatting about the weather goes beyond small talk and television meteorologists are considered celebrities, Engber's piece gives the reader a bit of insight into the history of calculating the wind chill factor, and, quite frankly, how meaningless it is: "The updated model patches over the worst flaws of the old wind chill system, but it's not anything close to perfect. [Randall] Osczevski and [Maurice] Bluestein made a set of new assumptions to determine wind-chill-equivalent temperatures. Namely, they geared their calculations toward people who are 5 feet tall, somewhat portly, and walk at an even clip directly into the wind. They also left out crucial variables that have an important effect on how we experience the weather, like solar radiation. Direct sunlight can make us feel 10 to 15 degrees warmer, even on a frigid winter day. The wind chill equivalent temperature, though, assumes that we're taking a stroll in the dead of night." Read the article here.