Temperature and Wind Conversions

Weather Talk
Thursday, April 10, 2014 - 10:42pm

A Brief history of the two temperature scales and how to convert temperatures and wind speeds

I am in the process of adding corresponding Celsius numbers to my current temperature weather graphic. We are right on the border of Mexico which uses Celsius like much of the rest of the world. The United States, Jamaica, the Cayman Islands, Belize, the Bahamas, Palau and other Commonwealths and territories of the USA like Puerto Rico, Guam, and US Virgin Islands are the only places left that use Fahrenheit. In today’s “weather Talk” I thought I would give you a brief history about Fahrenheit and Celsius and also give you some conversion formulas for temperatures and winds.

Wisegeek.org gives a nice brief history of Fahrenheit: “The Fahrenheit scale, which measures temperature, was created by Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit (1686-1736), a German-Dutch scientist, in 1724. He devoted much of his life’s work to the measurement of temperature, and also invented the alcohol and mercury thermometers. On the Fahrenheit scale, the point at which frozen water melts is 32°, and the point where at which it boils is 212°. Between these two points is exactly 180°, a number easily divisible on a thermostat. Although we know with a degree of certainty what measurements the scientist used to determine his scale, his process of arriving at the final scale is largely unknown.”

In modern science Celsius is a temperature scale which zero degrees is the freezing points of water and 100 degrees is the boiling point. Temperature in this scale is generally denoted by °C or C alone.

http://historyofsciences.blogspot.com describes how the Celsius scale came about; “The Celsius scale is widely known as the centigrade scale because it is divided into 100 degrees. It is named for the Swedish astronomer Anders Celsius, who established the scale in 1742.

Anders Celsius was born in Uppsala. His grandfathers were both professors in Uppsala: mathematician and astronomer. His father was a professor in astronomy. He is very talented in mathematics from the early age, was appointed professor in astronomy in 1730.

During student times he became engaged in general problem of weights and measures, including temperature measurements. Anders Celsius should be recognized as the first to perform and publish careful experiments aiming at the definition of an international temperature scale on scientific grounds. He determined the dependence of the boiling of water with atmospheric pressure (in excellence agreement with modern data). He further gave a rule the determination of the boiling point if the barometric pressure deviates from a certain standard pressure.”

You are traveling through Mexico or Europe one fine summer day, and you ask someone the temperature. They say it is 20 degrees and you want to know what that is in Fahrenheit.
To convert: multiply the Celsius temperature by 1.8, or 9/5, and add 32.
20 C X 1.8 = 36, + 32 = 68 F
Conversion the other way (Fahrenheit to Celsius) is to subtract 32 from the temperature and divide by 1.8 0r 9/5. Thus 68 F – 32 = 32 divided by 1.8 = 20 C

Temperatures on the Celsius scale can also be converted to equivalent temperatures on the Fahrenheit temperature scale by multiplying the Celsius temperature by 9/5 and adding 32° to the result, according to the formula 9 C /5+32 = F.

Is this a little confusing? Maybe this will help. Here is a basic rule to help you remember.
Every change of 9 F is equal to 5 C. These benchmark temperatures

-40 C = 40 F Even Penguins stay inside! The temperature at which Mercury freezes!
-20 C = -4 F Icy cold even for Minnesota and the Great White North
-10 C = +14 F Heavy Jacket, Gloves, Scarf and Ear Muffs required
0 C = +32 F Freezing or Melting Point of Ice depending on warming
+20 C = +68 F Ideal Room Temperature!
+30 C = +86 F Maybe I’ll turn on the Air Conditioner
+40 C = +104 Find Some Shade and Water! We’re having a Heat Wave!
Wind Speed Conversion
The National Weather Service and Sailors use the wind speeds in knots (nautical miles per hour). The most typical wind speed is measured in miles per hour, so hear is the conversion if you receive your wind speed in knots.
One knot equals = 1.15 mph
Which way is the wind blowing? If the National Weather Service or Weather caster reports Westerly wind is the air coming from or going to the west? When the TV weather anchor or the National Weather Service reports the wind direction is westerly wind is coming from the west and moving east. We report where the air is coming from.

Whether we are using Celsius or Fahrenheit we know we are in for some hot temperatures over the next few months. Also we also know that whether we use knots or mph the Borderland winds will blow us into May. I hope now you have a better understanding of the Fahrenheit and Celsius scales and about temperature and wind conversions.

Chuck DeBroder, Chief Meteorologist
KTSM, NewsChannel 9, NBC, El Paso, TX
www.twitter.com/ Chuck DeBroder NC9 @wxchuckNC9

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