Wednesday, 16 January 2002
Review of the Federal interagency process used to select the new Wind Chill Temperature (WCT) Index
For sometime, there has existed public controversy over the current US and Canadian weather services' wind chill indices, which are based on the Siple & Passel Index. This was brought to the attention of the US Office of the Federal Coordinator for Meteorological Services and Supporting Research (OFCM), the interdepartmental office established in response to Congress to ensure the effective use of Federal meteorological resources by leading the systematic coordination of operational weather requirements, services, and supporting research among Federal agencies. As a result, OFCM constituted the Joint Action Group for Temperature Indices (JAG/TI) with the purpose of improving the operationally used wind chill temperature indices by planning and executing strategies for addressing deficiencies, by reviewing practices and procedures pertaining to the use or development of these indices, and by coordinating any changes to the official wind chill indices. The JAG/TI participants include US National Weather Service, Meteorological Service of Canada, Defense organizations from both countries, other Federal agencies, and universities. The goal of the JAG/TI was to upgrade and standardize internationally, or at least standardize between the US and Canada, the index used for determining wind chill temperatures. This presentation will review and describe the JAG/TI work, recommendations and resulting Wind Chill Temperature (WCT) Index that is to be implemented for the 2001/2002 winter season. The process included 2 small workshops; funded research and clinical trials; and development of public education packages. The JAG/TI recommendations included the following: the new wind chill temperature index should be developed that is scientific, reasonable, and understandable based on the work of two recognized experts; there should be an agreement to implement the same index at the same time in the U.S. and Canada so that a consistent wind chill formula would be used in North America; wind, air temperature and solar radiation should be the environmental factors used in the wind chill formula; and the human face tends to be the part of the body most often exposed to severe winter weather, and should be used as the model for evaluating wind chill impact. A brief overview will also be given on the future work of JAG/TI.