Hot and Cold at 80 Degrees
Name: Al G.
I had a 9 year old ask me, "Why does 80 degree water feel cool, while 80
degree air feels warm?".
Your 9 year old has made a good observation. Something feels warm or cool to your body based
on how much heat is moved in or out of your body. If both the water and the air are 80 degrees
(both lower than body temperature) your body will give up more heat to change the temperature of
the water than it gives up to the air. Because the water takes more heat from your body, it feels
There is more to the story, but that is about right for 9 years old.
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Update: June 2012