National Weather Service logo

National Weather Service
Welcome to the Buffalo National Weather Service
Buffalo, New York

NOAA 30 year logo

National Weather Service plans to Implement a New Wind Chill Temperature Index this Winter


The NWS is planning to implement a replacement Wind Chill Temperature (WCT) index for the 2001/2002 winter season. The reason for the change is to improve upon the current WCT Index used by the NWS and the Meteorological Services of Canada (MSC, the Canadian equivalent of the NWS), which is currently based on the 1945 Siple and Passel Index.

For over a year, there has been discussion within the NWS and Meteorological Services of Canada (MSC), about updating the WCT. During the Fall of 2000, the Office of the Federal Coordinator for Meteorological Services and Supporting Research (OFCM) formed a special group consisting of several Federal agencies, MSC, the academic research community (Indiana University-Purdue University in Indianapolis (IUPUI), University of Delaware, and University of Missouri), and the International Society of Biometeorology to evaluate the existing wind chill formula and make necessary changes to improve upon it. The group is called the Joint Action Group for temperature Indices (JAG/TI) and is chaired by the NWS. The goal of JAG/TI is to internationally upgrade and standardize the index for temperature extremes (e.g., Wind Chill Index).

After the October 2000 and February 2001 meetings, the JAG/TI reached agreement on a new wind chill formula, discussed a process for scientific verification of the new formula, and developed plans for implementation of the new formula. The new WCT index was presented at the JAG/TI meeting in Toronto, Canada on August 2, 2001.

The JAG/TI formula will make use of advances in science, technology, and computer modeling to provide a more accurate, understandable, and useful formula for calculating the dangers from winter winds and freezing temperatures. In addition, clinical trials have been conducted and the results of those trials have been used to verify and improve the accuracy of the new formula.

Standardization of the WCT Index among the meteorological community is important, so that an accurate and consistent measure is provided and public safety is ensured. Our goal is to implement the new wind chill formula in Canada and the United States during the same time frame in order to have a consistent WCT Index for North America.

Specifically, the new WCT index will:

  • use wind speed calculated at the average height (5 feet) of the human body’s face instead of 33 feet (the standard anemometer height);
  • be based on a human face model;
  • incorporate modern heat transfer theory (heat loss from the body to its surroundings, during cold and breezy/windy days);
  • lower the calm wind threshold to 3 mph;
  • use a consistent standard for skin tissue resistance; and
  • assume the worst case scenario for solar radiation (clear night sky).

The new formula will be incorporated into the latest software build installed on the NWS Advanced Weather Interactive Prediction System (AWIPS) in early November 2001.

In 2002, adjustments for solar radiation (i.e., the impact of sun) for a variety of sky conditions (sunny, partly sunny and cloudy) will be added to the calculation model.

Here's the formula... 

Wind Chill (F) = 35.74 + 0.6215T - 35.75(V0.16) + 0.4275T(V0.16) 

Note: V   is the wind speed value in mph 

Note:  T  is the temperature in F 

Note: Frostbite occurs in 15 minutes or less at wind  chill values of -18 or lower  
Note: The wind chill formula should be used for wind speeds of 5 mph or greater. 

 

New Wind Chill Chart

Temperature (F)
Wind (miles per hour) Calm

40

35 30 25 20 15 10 5 0 -5 -10 -15 -20 -25 -30 -35 -40 -45
5

36

31 25 19 13 7 1 -5 -11 -16 -22 -28 -34 -40 -46 -52 -57 -63
10 34 27 21 15 9 3 -4 -10 -16 -22 -28 -35 -41 -47 -53 -59 -66 -72
15 32 25 19 13 6 0 -7 -13 -19 -26 -32 -39 -45 -51 -58 -64 -71 -77
20

30

24 17 11 4 -2 -9 -15 -22 -29 -35 -42 -48 -55 -61 -68 -74 -81
25

29

23 16 9 3 -4 -11 -17 -24 -31 -37 -44 -51 -58 -64 -71 -78 -84
30

28

22 15 8 1 -5 -12 -19 -26 -33 -39 -46 -53 -60 -67 -73 -80 -87
35

28

21 14 7 0 -7 -14 -21 -27 -34 -41 -48 -55 -62 -69 -76 -82 -89
40

27

20 13 6 -1 -8 -15 -22 -29 -36 -43 -50 -57 -64 -71 -78 -84 -91
45

26

19 12 5 -2 -9 -16 -23 -30 -37 -44 -51 -58 -65 -72 -79 -86 -93
50

26

19 12 4 -3 -10 -17 -24 -31 -38 -45 -52 -60 -67 -74 -81 -88 -95
55

25

18 11 4 -3 -11 -18 -25 -32 -39 -46 -54 -61 -68 -75 -82 -89 -97
60

25

17 10 3 -4 -11 -19 -26 -33 -40 -48 -55 -62 -69 -76 -84 -91 -98
 
  
The following calculator will allow you to plug in some temperatures and winds to see how the old wind chill values compare to the new ones. 
  

What is the Wind Chill Now?

Note: The wind chill formula should be used for wind speeds of 5 mph or greater.

Air Temperature (F) =
Wind Speed (MPH) =
Old Wind Chill Index
 

New Wind Chill Index
 

This page last updated: November 30, 2001