[M.M.X.I.V. 31] Sunny yet frigid

During the Polar Vortex Part 2, the temperature in Chicago persisted in the negatives in Fahrenheit.  However, during the day, the sky was sunny.

This is very interesting to me, as it is yet another thing of psychology (although perhaps there is also something physical to it).  When I was at a Searle seminar on Wednesday, after it ended, there was some small talk about the weather, and one person mentioned something to the effect of, “I feel like it’s even colder on frigid days when the sun is shining.”

Maybe there is reason to it.  Despite the sun shining, cloud cover does provide some trapping for warm(er) air, although I would think that would be more noticeable at night than during the day, since the sun doesn’t shine on your area at night local time.

What the person suggested was a psychological effect: associating sun with warm days and overcast skies with cold days.  In this sense, sunlight can actually provide a reverse psychological effect–the sun is shining, which may make it feel colder since you would EXPECT it to be warmer.  In some sense, it is the reverse expectation from summer, and perhaps that messes with peoples’ temperature perceptions.

I have indeed found it interesting that it’s been sunny on many days in Chicago this winter, yet it has been really cold.  Maybe there is some limit on how cold it can get on a cloudy day.

I just hope that the sunlight isn’t wasted on these cold days later in the year.  The last few years that I have lived in Chicago, getting through March and April is often a drag with many consecutive days of pure cloudiness.


Today is the thirty-first day of M.M.X.I.V.  That makes four weeks and three days.


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