Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Do Northerners really feel the cold less?

In Britain, we all know the stereotype of hardy Northerners: out on the town on a Winter's night, arms and legs bare, seemingly oblivious to the cold. But do people up North really feel the cold less? According to a report in yesterday's Times newspaper by Paul Simons, an ongoing survey is aiming to find out. Initial results from this research by the Met Office and Open Air Laboratories suggests that people feel the cold just as much regardless of which region they live in. Moreover, contrary to the myth, there's some evidence that Northerners are more likely to change their clothing than Southerners, be that for warmth or to be cooler. Another emerging finding is a rural/urban divide, with rural folk being more likely to don coats in colder weather. "Whether this is due to an urban climate is difficult to say," Simons writes, "but towns and cities can generate their own microclimates which affect temperature."

Link to the research on people's response to the cold (there's still time to take part)
Link to Times article "Weather Eye: northerners vs southerners" (subscription required)

6 comments:

  1. As a former Northerner now residing in warmer SE United States, I have some personal observations. I think when you live in a place of weather extremes, you learn to expect the unexpected, whence the more frequent changing of clothes. I think people in more temperate climates simply figure they can make it through momentary aberrations without adjusting, or they are taken by surprise and have no standard behavior for accommodation. As for the urban/rural split on wearing a coat, it occurs to me that urban dwellers know they can pop in to one of a dozen doors along their path to get warm, while rural dwellers have to make sure they stay warm over much longer distances. I will conclude by noting that given the choice, I will take excess heat over excess cold any time. It's not a fluke that the dream retirement of many northerners involves moving to Florida or California or Arizona!

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  2. I'm pretty sure people physically acclimate to cold weather if they expose themselves to it... but they don't stop feeling it?

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  3. I can say that, in my case, the study is right. I come from a temperate region, and all my friends when they get to London they shivers, but not me.

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  4. I think the comment by Nora is right on. Here in Wisconsin, we rarely have days anymore of -20 F. (-28.88 C) but it is still cold and windy. In winter, +20 F. (-6 C) is a nice day here, if there is little wind. Still, on campus, manly guys were t-shirts and shorts, on short walks between buildings or to their cars. Shapely girls may wear shorts. I saw a 14-something in short shorts at a gas station. She was out of the family car a short time.

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  5. Hello my name is George, I'm from Barcelona. I think generally people who live in the mountains are more resistant to cold because they have come from small to withstand low temperatures. Des small have come to play in the street with very cold temperatures and that has prepared her body. Of course, biological factors also play a role, but I personally think that the main factor is exposure to these temperatures des they are small.
    Greetings to all and that you have a good 2012.
    Jordi Pons www.barcelonapsicologo.net
    www.barcelona-psicologo.com

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  6. Of course people from different regions adapt harder to different climates, it is very logical. Important is when you change climate to inform really good, and be prepared.

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