[Physics] The difference in how temperature feels inside in the summer vs. in the winter


72 degrees feels cooler when it's hotter outside, say 90 F but warmer if it's really cold outside, say 32F
However it also feels different if it's 90 vs say 70F outside.
Why is that?

Best Answer

Your body gets acclimated to a given temperature and has mechanisms to keep the skin at a desired temperature by either evaporation of sweat or increased circulation.

  • The acclimation will influence how hot or cold it 'feels', just like how food tastes better when you're hungry or drinking water feels better when you're parched, even when there is no objective (temperature) difference.
  • The physiological mechanisms for regulating temperature are not instantaneous, so you will still be evaporating sweat when you walk into a 72 degree air conditioned room from outside in the summer and this will make it 'feel' much colder (your skin temperature actually will be a bit colder as the sweat evaporates temporarily).
  • As a corollary, you will still have increased circulation when you walk into a 72 degree heated room from the outside in the winter and this will make it 'feel' much warmer (your skin temperature actually will get a bit warmer temporarily).
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