By Sean McVeigh
This has been a strange winter. One day it’s cold, the next it feels like spring is right around the corner. This weekend was cold. Real cold. Friday night, my family decided to brave the elements and go out to dinner. We’re adventurous like that. We were able to pack into one car and we hit the road.
Cars these days are amazing. Upon entering some of them, you feel like an astronaut boarding a spaceship. Screens bigger than my computer, heated everything, Bluetooth, hotspots, you name it. Heck, they can even drive themselves now. Well, one of the not so novel features, that’s been around for a while, is cars can tell us the temperature. I recently learned that it is not actually a thermometer but rather a thermistor. The difference being a thermistor relies on metal semi-conductors rather than mercury in a thermometer. But that is very much beside the point and sounds like something that should be in Facts You Probably Don’t Need.
On this blistery Friday night, the car had a temperature reading of 16 degrees. Being the astute observer that I am, I opined on how cold that was. In response to my canny comment, I received what I would consider to be the universal retort: “Yeah, but the real feel is more like X.”
Before I continue, let me preface with saying that I am usually among the first to spit out that reflexive remark. So, who am I to throw stones? I would also like to say that I have not studied the alchemy-adjacent field of meteorology in its entirety, but I am a fan of Mike Woods’ work. But as St. Augustine said, “Right is right even if no one is doing it; wrong is wrong even if everyone is doing it.”
In short, I think “RealFeel” temperature is horse pucky! There should only be one temperature. Wherever you are, whatever the thermometer (or thermistor, I guess) reads, that is the temperature. Why does it have to be more complicated than that? How can it be more complicated than that? “Well, what about the wind chill, Sean?” What about it?! If I am standing on the beach holding a thermometer and there is a nasty south wind whipping in my face, why wouldn’t that thermometer read the same temperature that I am feeling? Is that not the real feel? No, it’s the temperature!
I apologize to meteorologists everywhere, but I think you have the easiest job out there. I guess apologies aren’t really in order. More so congratulations. Very rarely can you be wrong. Throw any sort of qualifier in the mix with your prediction and voila, you’re covered.
The whole idea of “RealFeel” just seems made up to me. Maybe there is some very scientific explanation behind it but in my five minutes of intensive and extensive research I came up with mostly definitions along these lines: “The RealFeel Temperature is an index that describes what the temperature really feels like.” You don’t say? Can we all just stop making things up. Keep it simple, will ya? This weekend is supposed to be much nicer than last. Get out there and enjoy it. I hear it might hit 50 degrees and who knows what it will really feel like?!