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May 11–The windchill factor, long thebane of ski area operators, may be revamped to reflect less dire conditionsif a group of scientists and engineers have their way. This new developmentcould eventually mean more people visiting the slopes instead of hidingindoors as a result of television and radio reports if adopted.
At a meeting of the American Meteorological Society ending today, Dr.Maurice Bluestein, a professor of mechanical engineering at PurdueUniversity, is hoping to devise a brand-new windchill rating.
Originallydeveloped in the 1940s and based on how long it took a small can of waterto freeze, the windchill’s effect on human skin is actually much different,according to Bluestein. He says the index often reported during the winteris overstated, sometimes by as much as 20 to 30 degrees at the lowertemperatures. His theory is based on the fact that as temperature drops,the skin does lose heat, but it adapts and grows colder, which cuts down onheat loss–a condition that couldn’t be measured in the old waterexperiment.
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