Have you ever noticed how sunny days typically feel warmer and cloudy days feel cooler? Imagine you are in one city and take a short drive to another. Both cities are sitting at a temperature of 65 degrees. However, that temperature of 65 degrees will feel warmer in one city and cooler in the other. The city that feels warmer has sunshine and the other city feels cooler due to clouds.
This occurs because the sunny city is receiving a lot more infrared radiation from the sun. This type of energy is invisible to the naked eye but can be felt as heat. On sunny days, the sun warms our skin directly which makes the actual air temperature “feel” warmer when it really is not. The body does a better job of absorbing this energy from the sun than the air around you.
On cloudy days, you are still feeling the temperature of the air but without that warmer feeling from the sun’s rays. Also, it does not have to be cloudy for this to happen. On a sunny day, step under some shade and you will instantly feel cooler but the temperature of the air has not changed. The same thing happens when a cloud briefly blocks the sun on a mostly or partly cloudy day.
This same truth can be applied in a seasonal aspect. A temperature of 65 degrees will feel warm in the middle of winter but much cooler in the middle of summer. We become acclimated to the season that we are in at that time. We are also more or less likely to experience a certain range of temperatures depending on the time of year, so an outlier will feel different depending on the season.
-Meteorologist Ronelle Williams