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Meteorology (Weather)/Relative Humidity


In San Francisco at 55 degrees, with fog rolling in, it's bone chilling cold.  In Florida, at 65 degrees, riding a motorcycle is so cold, I have to wear the heaviest gear I can.  In Anchorage, Alaska, I can ride to 38 degrees before it's too cold for me.  Alaska is dry, very little relative humidity, about 40-60% depending on time of year and where you are in Alaska (a big state).  All three areas are right on the water.  Why is it so much "warmer" in Alaska?  Is the air too cold in Alaska to retain moisture and is therefore "warmer"?  But, 65 degrees is the same temperature whether it's in San Francisco, Florida or Alaska (all three spots are on the water).  So, why can I ride in Anchorage at 65 degrees and be nice and warm, but freeze to death in Florida and San Francisco @65 degrees? Also, SF and Florida are farther south of course than Anchorage.  Thank you for your time, energy and devotion to science.

Hi Barbara

Wearing the same clothes, with the same air temperature, wind speed and humidity the feeling will be exactly the same.

Vary any of those three variables and the evaporational cooling of the skin will vary thus creating a cooler or warmer feeling.

The decrease in sunlight with fog will also mean that the darkness lowers the temperature as it happens.

Riding on a motorcycle even in Florida cause higher rates of evaporational cooling to the skin
because of the wind flow rate increase.

Anchorage is surrounded by ocean which means the general humidity will moderate the feeling of coldness.

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Donald Rosenfeld


Any questions (except private) answered from the 1st grade level on up pertaining to any aspect of Weather. I am a 20 year member of the American Meteorological society and a long time forecaster of eastern United States snow storms and Hurricanes.

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