Winter In Australia Feels Colder Than Winter Everywhere Else, But Why?

Photo by Senni P_yry/EyeEm
Australia, which is often lovingly referred to as the sunburnt country, is famed for its warm climate. 
Our country is a haven for global expats looking for a warmer place to call home — at the end of June 2022, 1.1 million people born in the UK were living in Australia — and every autumn, thousands of posts flood Instagram, bragging about wearing shorts in March and going sleeveless in May.
So why is it, then that a winter's day Down Under feels offensively cold? It's also the kind of lip-tingling, bone-withering cold that makes it impossible to talk about anything else. "OMG, it’s so cold," is how I begin all my conversations now.
Countries known for their coldness technically have much colder winters than we do. The average temperature during winter in the UK is between two and seven degrees Celsius, but temperatures often drop to just below zero. Meanwhile, winter temperatures in Canada range between -2 and -22 degrees Celsius.  
Compare that to Sydney, where last year, the mean minimum temperature in June was 10.0 degrees, with the mean maximum hitting 18.3 degrees. Despite this, it’s not uncommon to hear Aussies and tourists who visit during the winter months complain about how uncomfortably cold it is here. 
The phenomenon is also making the rounds on TikTok, with users musing how nowhere is colder than Australia in winter. Canadian-born @alexandratuohey said, “The coldest I have ever been is living in a Melbourne share house in July.” 
Another TikToker echoed this, saying "It is 6:30pm, it is 16 degrees Celsius and I am absolutely freezing. I’m from Toronto. Like 16 degrees Celsius when I lived in Toronto was like you would wear a T-shirt and shorts and celebrate life. And now I can barely operate. And I’m wearing a North Face jacket who am I turning into?"
And they're not wrong.
After a large chunk of Australia woke to the coldest morning of the year today, the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) shared observations that Melbourne, Sydney, Canberra and Hobart experienced a "feels like" temperature between 3-6 degrees Celsius cooler than the actual minimum temperature. 

Why does it feel colder than it actually is? 

Put simply, the wind is to blame. 
In an interview with the ABC, Ollie Jay, a professor of heat and health at the University of Sydney, explained the reason for temperatures feeling colder than they are is down to a process called convection — the transportation of heat energy from hotter areas to cooler areas. So the stronger the winds, the faster this process occurs. 
"When the temperature of the air is so much lower than that of the outside of the body the temperature difference between you and the air is quite high, which means you shed quite a lot of heat naturally through this process called convection," Jay explained. 
"The multiplier of that is effectively wind."
It makes sense, then, when you consider that our glorified island country is a target for winds (westerlies, southerlies, the lot) that a winter day Down Under feels like a never-ending ice bath. Even for those of us who have grown up shivering through Australia’s surprisingly cold winters, June rolls around each year and catches us by surprise again. 
So as we near the winter solstice and the coldest month of the year, may we suggest investing in a warm coat, updating your skincare routine and entering your hibernation era.
Godspeed, friends.
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