Letter | Published:

‘Raw’ Weather

Nature volume 131, page 515 (08 April 1933) | Download Citation



IN NATURE of January 7, the question is raised why moist cold air should feel ‘raw’. Sir Leonard Hill, in the same issue, gives an explanation very commonly accepted in physiological circles. May I direct attention to some comments on this topic made by me in the Journal of Physiology, vol. 57, 1923? “The uncomfortable feeling caused by cold moist air is attributed, so far as any explanation has been given, to the moist air being a better conductor of heat than dry air. This cannot, however, be the correct explanation, for the diathermic properties of all ordinary gases and mixtures of gases are very close to each other. The cause I take to be that in moist air there is a partial equilibration of the skin gel with the vapour pressure of water in the air leading to a swelling and to a diminution of the small air spaces. The swelling is, in fact, detectable with a strong lens or with a low power of the microscope. As a result of this diminished air enclosed between the epidermic scales the conducting power of the skin is increased”.

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  1. University of Melbourne. Feb. 15.

    • W. A. OSBORNE


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