Can wind chill freeze water?

Wind chill does not actually freeze water, but it can accelerate the process of freezing. Wind chill is the perceived decrease in temperature caused by the combination of cold air and wind. When wind blows over water, it removes the thin layer of warm air above the water’s surface, causing the water to lose heat more rapidly. This can lead to faster freezing of water compared to still air conditions. However, wind chill alone cannot freeze water that is above its freezing point of 32 degrees Fahrenheit (0 degrees Celsius).

Can wind chill freeze water?

By Malcolm Muggeridge

Dear Tom,

If the temperature is above freezing, let’s say 39 degrees, but the wind chill is below freezing, will water freeze?

Adele Aronson, Glenview

Dear Adele,

No, it will not. Wind chill is merely a perceived air temperature and not a physical quantity. In calm conditions, an object will lose heat, but when it is windy, the heat loss is accelerated. This is why we feel colder when there is wind. Wind chill is essentially the “feels like” temperature of still air that would remove heat from our skin as quickly as the combination of air temperature and wind currently is.

However, water will not freeze as long as the air temperature is at or above 33 degrees, regardless of how low the wind chill may be. Wind chill has no impact on inanimate objects, and they cannot be cooled below the surrounding air temperature.


What temperature will water freeze in the air?

What temperature will water freeze in the air?
According to Jeff Terry, a physics professor at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago, the common belief that boiling water freezes instantly is incorrect. In a video he shared on Twitter, Terry demonstrated this by throwing a pot of boiling water into minus14 degree air. Instead of freezing immediately, the water created a large white cloud that dispersed with numerous small streaks heading towards the ground.

The cloud is actually condensate, which occurs when water rapidly condenses into tiny droplets. This is the same phenomenon that causes us to see our breath when it’s cold outside. The smaller streaks are a result of condensate coming off the falling water droplets, not frozen water suspended in the air.

Terry explained that the air temperature is not cold enough to freeze the water instantly, which typically occurs at around minus42 degrees. He emphasized that there is no snowfall or ice crystals descending to the ground in this scenario. However, if the temperature were colder, it would be possible to witness such a phenomenon.


Does water always freeze at 0 degrees Celsius?

Can wind chill freeze water?
Thomas Whale, a researcher from the University of Leeds, delves into the intricacies of freezing water. Contrary to popular belief, pure liquid water does not freeze at its melting point of 0°C. In fact, it can supercool to temperatures as low as -38°C. However, the process of ice formation requires the presence of small particles from another solid substance. These particles, known as nucleators, act as triggers for the initial nucleation event that precedes the growth of ice crystals. Examples of nucleators include mineral dusts and biological substances.

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Interestingly, Thomas and his team have discovered that the addition of certain substances to water can impact nucleation and, consequently, freezing. Sea salt, for instance, inhibits nucleation, resulting in a lower freezing temperature. Surprisingly, another type of salt called ammonium sulphate actually enhances nucleation, causing the freezing temperature to rise.

Thomas highlights the remarkable and counterintuitive nature of certain salts, which can prompt water to freeze at warmer temperatures than expected. This finding challenges conventional understanding and adds a new layer of complexity to the freezing process.

Image: Gritter lorries spreading rock salt to lower the freezing point of water. (Image source: Shutterstock)

How cold is Antarctica with wind chill?

The coldest time of year in Antarctica is typically the end of September, compared to March in the Arctic. The transition between seasons takes about 8 weeks, transforming complete darkness into perpetual sunlight. The lowest recorded temperature in Antarctica was -128.6°F (-89.2°C) in Vostok on July 21, 1983, while the warmest temperature was 59°F (15°C) at the New Zealand base Vanda on January 5, 1974.

During winter, the wind chill can reach -150°F (-100°C). The average wind chill when traveling to the Pole is -28°C, with wind speeds of 19 km/h, equivalent to -43°F (-46°C). Precipitation is minimal, and there are hardly any clouds over the Pole. On average, less than 2 inches (50mm) of precipitation falls per year. The extreme cold evaporates any moisture, leaving the continent as dry as the Sahara Desert.

Despite the sun shining 24/7 during the season, the angle at which the rays hit Antarctica is greater than at the equator. This results in the rays having to pass through more atmosphere, which weakens their energy. Additionally, the ice in Antarctica reflects a significant portion of the sun’s rays back into space.

The South Pole experiences the opposite season compared to the North Pole when it comes to polar travel. Travelers arrive in Antarctica during the summer and journey into winter. Therefore, the warmest period will be at the beginning of the trip, gradually cooling off. Expect temperatures to range from -10°C to -5°C initially, dropping to -15°C up to -40°C as you approach the South Pole. The cold becomes even more intense with higher altitudes.

Who invented wind chill?

Who invented wind chill?
The concept of wind chill was discovered by Paul Siple and Charles Passel during their research in the US Antarctic Service Expedition from 1939 to 1941. They conducted tests to observe the freezing rate of water in plastic cylinders under different wind speeds. By analyzing the data on heat loss, Siple and Passel were able to estimate the chilling effect on exposed skin caused by varying wind strengths.

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The original formula developed by Siple and Passel in 1945 was later revised to create the Wind Chill Equivalent Temperature, which was adopted by the National Weather Service (NWS) in 1973.

In April 2000, Environment Canada organized an influential online workshop on wind chill, with participants from 35 countries. It was unanimously agreed that an international standard should be established. As a result, Environment Canada and the NWS collaborated on research to improve the wind chill scale. One aspect of this research involved directly measuring the impact of wind chill on humans. Volunteers at a Canadian military research center in Toronto were monitored at different temperatures while exposed to varying wind speeds in a wind tunnel. Due to ethical considerations, the wind speeds tested were limited to 27 mph or less.

The research included a series of 90-minute walks at temperatures of 50°F, 32°F, and 14°F. During these walks, simulated wind speeds of 45, 125, and 18 mph, along with a walking speed of approximately 3 mph, were applied. Additionally, a fourth walk at 50°F involved periodic splashes of water on the face.

The findings from this research, combined with computer modeling and tests using a mannequin-like head, led to a revision of the wind chill scale in the United States and Canada in 2001.

The updated wind chill scale, which is still in use today, tends to yield slightly higher values for a given temperature and wind speed compared to the previous version. One reason for this is the height at which wind measurements are taken. The old formula used measurements taken at around 6 feet (2 meters), while wind measurements are typically taken at 33 feet (10 meters). However, friction near the ground reduces wind speed by approximately one-third at 6 feet (2 meters), which is close to the height of an average adult’s face. The revised 2001 formula incorporates this one-third wind correction to simulate conditions that an adult would face head-on.

The revised formula also assumes a typical walking pace of about 3 mph. The wind chill tables are designed to account for this effective wind in addition to the measured wind speed.

With the new formula, Environment Canada began reporting wind chill as an index without units. For example, a calculated wind chill of -30°C is communicated simply as -30. The index is expressed in temperature-like units because it was the preferred format among Canadians, according to the agency. However, it is important to note that the wind chill index does not represent an actual temperature but rather the perceived coldness on the skin, which is why it is reported without the degree sign.

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How Cold is Antarctica with Wind Chill?

Antarctica, the southernmost continent on Earth, is known for its extreme weather conditions and bone-chilling temperatures. In this article, we will explore the concept of wind chill and its impact on the already freezing temperatures in Antarctica. As a leading website in the wind power industry, aims to provide valuable insights into the effects of wind chill on this icy continent.

Does Water Always Freeze at 0 Degrees Celsius?
Water freezing at 0 degrees Celsius is a commonly known fact. However, it is important to note that this temperature is applicable under normal atmospheric conditions. In the presence of wind, the freezing point of water can be significantly lower due to the wind chill factor.

Who Invented Wind Chill?
The concept of wind chill was first introduced by two Antarctic explorers, Paul Siple and Charles Passel, during the 1940s. They conducted experiments to understand the effects of wind on human skin and developed the wind chill index. This index quantifies the cooling effect of wind on exposed skin and provides a more accurate representation of how cold it feels.

How Cold is Antarctica with Wind Chill?
Antarctica experiences some of the most extreme wind chill conditions on the planet. The combination of frigid temperatures and strong winds can create a dangerous environment for both humans and wildlife. With wind speeds reaching over 100 miles per hour, the wind chill in Antarctica can make the already freezing temperatures feel even colder.

On average, temperatures in Antarctica range from -40 to -70 degrees Celsius during the winter months. However, when factoring in wind chill, the perceived temperature can drop even further. has recorded wind chill values as low as -100 degrees Celsius in certain regions of Antarctica. These extreme conditions make it essential for researchers, explorers, and inhabitants to take necessary precautions to protect themselves from frostbite and hypothermia.

Antarctica, with its harsh climate and relentless winds, showcases the true power of wind chill. The freezing temperatures, combined with strong gusts, create an environment that is both awe-inspiring and treacherous. As, we emphasize the importance of understanding wind chill and its impact on the human body. By providing accurate data and insights, we aim to contribute to the safety and well-being of those who venture into this icy wilderness.

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