# why do we use fahrenheit instead of celsius

Few things will earn you a nastier, contemptuous snarl from a Very Serious Scientist than using that lowly, scum-based Fahrenheit scale for measuring air temperature. Celsius is the proper form of measurement, they haughtily trumpet,
because everyone else uses it. Everyone else is wrong. The vast majority of us use the air temperature as a way to determine comfort when we go outside. Aside from weather forecasting, we don t really use the air temperature for much else. Even when we dothe swimming pool closes when the temperature drops below a certain point, for instanceit still relates to how we perceive temperatures. Like it or not, humans are sensitive creatures; a small shift in the temperature can mean the difference between ultimate comfort, sweaty misery, or a frozen shiverfest. The two temperatures that matter most in practical uses are the freezing point and the boiling point. Thankfully, we don t worry about the boiling point unless it s pasta night, so we really only ever have to deal with one temperature for anything not related to comfort or safety: 32`F. When water freezes, it has wide-ranging implications from plant survival to building maintenance to the simple ability to walk to the mailbox without slipping and busting your butt on the driveway. Celsius is a scale, as Very Serious Scientists enjoy pointing out, that revolves around the freezing and boiling points of water. It s nice and even: 0`C is freezing and 100`C is boiling. It just makes sense! Sure! Since Celsius is based on water, it would make wonderful sense to use Celsius for the environmental temperature if we lived in water.

Until we sprout gills and start flapping around the Gulf, we should use Fahrenheit for air temperatures. There s an old, bad joke about the two scales that goes around Twitter every once and a while: with Fahrenheit, you re really cold at 0`F and really hot at 100`F; with Celsius, you re cold at 0`C and dead at 100`C. Outside of the polar regions and deserts, the typical range of temperatures stretches from -20`F to 110`For a 130-degree rangewith daily readings clustered even tighter for most of us. On the Celsius scale, that would convert to -28. 8`C to 43. 3`C, or a 72. 1-degree range of temperatures. Fahrenheit gives you almost double1. 8xthe precision* of Celsius without having to delve into decimals, allowing you to better relate to the air temperature. Again, we re sensitive to small shifts in temperature, so Fahrenheit allows us to discern between two readings more easily than Saint Celsius ever could. Scientists need to use a standardized scale so they can easily share and use data from around the world without having to waste time (or make an error) trying to convert variables back and forth. As with other hard scientists, meteorologists use Celsius for weather forecasting, but even the most hardcore Celsius advocates in meteorology still begrudgingly produce public forecasts in Fahrenheit and miles per hour. The metric system does make sense for certain aspects of daily life. Measuring rain and snow in millimeters or centimeters is easier (and allows for more precision*) than figuring out inches and feet. Measuring distance makes more sense in meters (1000 meters = 1 kilometer) than feet (5,280 feet = 1 mile).

Air pressure is better in millibars or hectopascals (mb or hPa) than inches of mercury (inHg). However, just because some aspects of the metric system make sense doesn t mean we should use it for everything, and therein lies the problem: the Very Serious Scientists get even angrier when you pick and choose. Boo! Variety is the spice of life. I like my distance in meters, my wind in knots, my weight in pounds, and my temperatures in Fahrenheit. If we were doing a science project (or running complex weather models), I would understand using a standardized system, but we re talking about day-to-day life here where communication and an ability to relate is key. Fahrenheit makes more sense for precision* and as a way of communicating air temperature in a way that relates to how humans perceive temperatures. The main argument for Celsius is that the United States is one of only three countries (the other two being Burma and Liberia) that use Fahrenheit instead of Celsius. When an argument comes down to precision* and communication versus the good ol bandwagon, the former should always (but rarely ever does) win. Oops. Thanks! ] You can follow the author on Twitter or send him an email. State the freezing and boiling points of water on the Celsius and Fahrenheit temperature scales. Convert from one temperature scale to the other, using conversion formulas. Turn on the television any morning and you will see meteorologists talking about the days weather forecast. In addition to telling you what the weather conditions will be like (sunny, cloudy, rainy, muggy), they also tell you the days forecast for high and low temperatures.

A hot summer day may reach 100 in Philadelphia, while a cool spring day may have a low of 40 in Seattle. If you have been to other countries, though, you may notice that meteorologists measure heat and cold differently outside of the United States. For example, a TV weatherman in San Diego may forecast a high of 89, but a similar forecaster in Tijuana, Mexicowhich is only 20 miles southmay look at the same weather pattern and say that the days high temperature is going to be 32. Whats going on here? The difference is that the two countries use different temperature scales. In the United States, temperatures are usually measured using the scale, while most countries that use the metric system use the scale to record temperatures. Learning about the different scalesincluding how to convert between themwill help you figure out what the weather is going to be like, no matter which country you find yourself in. Fahrenheit and Celsius are two different scales for measuring temperature. By looking at the two thermometers shown, you can make some general comparisons between the scales. For example, many people tend to be comfortable in outdoor temperatures between 50 C). If a meteorologist predicts an average temperature of 0 F), then it is a safe bet that you will need a winter jacket. Sometimes, it is necessary to convert a Celsius measurement to its exact Fahrenheit measurement or vice versa. For example, what if you want to know the temperature of your child in Fahrenheit, and the only thermometer you have measures temperature in Celsius measurement?

Converting temperature between the systems is a straightforward process as long as you use the formulas provided below. How were these formulas developed? They came from comparing the two scales. Since the freezing point is 0 on the Fahrenheit scale, we subtract 32 when converting from Fahrenheit to Celsius, and add 32 when converting from Celsius to Fahrenheit. , also. There are 100 degrees between the freezing (0 ) on the Fahrenheit scale. Writing these two scales as a ratio, gives. If you flip the ratio to be, you get. Notice how these fractions are used in the conversion formulas. The example below illustrates the conversion of Celsius temperature to Fahrenheit temperature, using the boiling point of water, which is 100` C. The two previous problems used the conversion formulas to verify some temperature conversions that were discussed earlierthe boiling and freezing points of water. The next example shows how these formulas can be used to solve a real-world problem using different temperature scales. C instead, and then found the difference in the two measurements. (Had you done it this way, you would have found that F = 121. 1 C, and that 121. 1 C is 1. 1 C. ) Whichever way you choose, it is important to compare the temperature measurements within the same scale, and to apply the conversion formulas accurately. Temperature is often measured in one of two scales: the Celsius scale and the Fahrenheit scale. A Celsius thermometer will measure the boiling point of water at 100 as its freezing point. You can use conversion formulas to convert a measurement made in one scale to the other scale.

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