What is the AccuWeather RealFeel Temperature?

By by Molly Cochran, AccuWeather.com Staff Writer
June 19, 2014, 9:44:30 AM EDT

The AccuWeather.com RealFeel® Temperature was created in the 1990s by Joel N. Myers, Michael A. Steinberg, Joseph Sobel, Elliot Abrams and Evan Myers.

The RealFeel Temperature is an equation that takes into account many different factors to determine how the temperature actually feels outside. It is the first temperature to take into account multiple factors to determine how hot and cold feels.

Some of the components that are used in the equation are humidity, cloud cover, winds, sun intensity and angle of the sun. Humidity is a large contributor to determining the RealFeel, but the time of the day also is important, due to the angle of the sun.

In the morning the low angle of the sun gives off less heat because the energy is spread out, according to AccuWeather.com Expert Senior Meteorologist Dan Kottlowski. In the afternoon, the sun is overhead and the sun's energy is more direct and gives off more energy, making it feel warmer.

"The RealFeel takes into consideration the angle of the sun and its affects on an object or the body," Kottlowski said.

Once the equation was created, the inventors took the RealFeel to AccuWeather.com meteorologists, media and the public to make sure they weren't missing anything and to gather research on how they could improve the product, Steinberg said. 

The equation also takes into consideration how people perceive the weather. Steinberg said that this can be debated, since not everyone perceives weather the same way, but the equation uses the average person's perception of weather and adds that into the RealFeel equation. The RealFeel Temperature can be used throughout all four seasons with the same equation.

Wind is a main component that determines how people perceive the weather and a factor that is used to determine the AccuWeather RealFeel. AccuWeather.com Senior Meteorologist Kristina Pydynowski, said that the wind can make a person feel colder because the cold wind blowing removes heat from your body. 

"The stronger the wind, the faster the heat is getting removed from your body, so it will feel colder outside," Pydynowski said. 

Humidity is another component in equating the RealFeel and also plays a role in how people feel outside. If there is low humidity in the air (meaning less moisture) when you sweat, the moisture is able to evaporate. This works as your body's cooling process, so you won't feel as hot. If there is high humidity in the air, the evaporating process is slowed down or stopped because there is already a lot of moisture in the air. 

"That is why you get the sticky feeling, because the sweat isn't able to evaporate as efficiently," Pydynowski said. 

The AccuWeather.com RealFeel Temperature is one of a kind because AccuWeather is the only company that can use more than two elements in its equation, to determine the RealFeel because of the patents that AccuWeather has, Steinberg said.

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