Thursday, 8 January 2009

Some perspective.

Here's a little sliding scale for folks who have a understanding what various metric temperatures mean. Did you know that the US is legally a metric nation? Honest to god truth. Happened somewhere a couple decades back. Congress just showed about as much attention and followthrough to converting signs and measures as they do in all their endeavours. At the time of writing this, the thermometer said it was -46°C. Where does that put us?
  • 50°C 122°F Warm day in Kuwait; Melting point of Californians.
  • 45°C 113°F Average August day in Kuwait
  • 40°C 104°F A hot day in Salt Lake City. Most Alaskans spontaneously combust.
  • 35°C 95°F About Human Body temp. Austrailian beach weather.
  • 30°C 86°F A hot day in Fairbanks. A lovely spring morning in California.
  • 25°C 77°F Allegedly "Room temperature." Australians put on a jacket.
  • 20°C 69°F Chrysler trucks start working properly.
  • 15°C 59°F My room Temp. 50% of Australians die of cold exposure.
  • 10°C 50°F An average July day in Barrow. Fall in Michigan.
  • 5°C 41°F Midwesterners reach for their jackets. You can see your breath! Still some time left to garden in Alaska.
  • 0°C 32°F Water Freezes. North Carolinians decide it's damndably cold. Alaskans put on shorts and suntan.
  • -5°C 23°F Remaining 5% of Australians boggle that the numbers can go /negative/. Fairbanksans wash their trucks. Best Ice Cream temperature. Chrysler trucks don't start.
  • -10°C 14°F Michiganders start to complain about the cold. Alaskans get in some BBQing before the temp falls. Sweater weather.
  • -18°C 0°F 0°F was chosen as the zero mark because it was colder than it got in Denmark, and it turned out someone didn't like using negative numbers.
  • -20°C -4°F Anchorage starts whinging about the weather incessantly, while the rest of Alaska wishes they'd shut up. Primo skiing weather. Time to grab the jacket in Fairbanks.
  • -25°C -13°F Unmodified diesel begins to gel. Fairbanksans decide it might be getting a little nippy. Midwesterners flee for Hawaii.
  • -30°C -22°F All atomic motion in 90% of Canadians stops. Fairbanksans decide it's sorta cold. Unaided German Cars won't start.
  • -35°C -31°F Inversion layer begins to build. Fairbanksans waffle around and decide it's kinda cold. Landlords in the Midwest finally decide it's okay to turn on the heat.
  • -40°C -40°F Things begin to break from the temperature. Mercury Freezes. Fairbanksans admit it's `cold.` Unwarmed Toyota Tachoma won't start.
  • -45°C -49°F Electronics begin to break, and then burn up from the temperature. Bethel residents shut up about how `wind chill` is worse, and are just glad they live in a comparative tropical paradise.
  • -50°C -58°F Kerosine begins to gel. Hawaii starts to look really good. Dog insists on sleeping in your bed with you.
  • -55°C -67°F Kerosine finishes gelling. Tok wonders why people in Fairbanks are fussing about a minor coldspell. People out in Fort Yukon finally get around to closing the kitchen window.
  • -60°C -76°F Tok admits it's nippy. Dogs move from sleeping in your bed (with you) to sleeping directly on the woodstove.
  • -63°C -81°F Recorded low for Alaska. Sled dogs take vacation to Hawaii. UAF considers closing campus for half a day, but still doesn't.
  • -65°C -85°F The temperature at which pretty much all `absolutely true` sourdough stories take place.

4 comments:

Alaskan Dave Down Under said...

I love your -20 C -4 F entry! Bloody whinging wusses down in Los Anchortown!

CabinDweller said...

Excellent adaptation of an old list!

You forgot the nostril hair freezing index. That starts, hmmm, around 0 degrees F. Very pronounced by -40 F.

Arvay said...

Even I'm in shock when I hear about Anchorage "cold snaps", and I'm a Fairbanks newbie!

Alaska Steve said...

Good list, there is one I'd add and that is the heat of vaporization of gasoline, it's somewhere around -50 something. I remember military training on Poker Flats, sleeping in a tent at 50 below. I've never been able to do the "throwing the hot cup of coffee in the air" trick though. Rubber tires sure like to keep that flat spot at 50 below!

It's almost like it not true AK out here, it never gets below 25 or so. Just got in from walking the dog in shorts . . . .

ps - my word verification is "greak" - a nerdy Greek perhaps?