This question is inspired by the book Minus 148 Degrees, which is a true story about a group of mountaineers that got stuck at a high elevation on Denali during a storm and survived 6 days in what is described as "-148F with wind chill". I am told the winds attained speeds in excess of 150mph.

I have made a spreadsheet using the modern wind chill formula to make some estimates about the base temperature, but I understand that the way wind chill is estimated has changed over time and would not have been the same when the book was written and originally published in the late 1960's.

What would be the likely candidate(s) method used at that time to estimate the -148F wind chill temperature?

The wind chill calculator here includes a "pre-2001" formula, but that formula seems broken for the range we are looking at. Putting in a higher speed (ie: going from 150 to 160) produces a warmer wind-chill, so I don't think we can trust that, so I doubt such a formula would have been used. However, that formula would suggest -122F @ 150mph = -148F wind-chill, which does not seem right - planet record cold in Antarctic winter is only a little colder than that. So I'm skeptical of this "pre-2001 formula" as being the method used to determine the -148F estimate.

  • $\begingroup$ Did you get the -122F and 150 MPH figures from the book? How did they measure this? $\endgroup$
    – Spencer
    Jun 28, 2018 at 15:47
  • $\begingroup$ @Spencer I got 150MPH from a different Q&A on outdoors.SE, where a description of a book on some website mentioned 150+MPH winds. But really, I was just throwing numbers into the formula to try it out, and the formula seems invalid in this wind-chill range. I was just showing how the "pre-2001 formula" used on that site does not help. $\endgroup$
    – Aaron
    Jun 28, 2018 at 19:51
  • $\begingroup$ I went to books.google.com, searched for "minus 148 degrees" and then for "wind chill" in the book and the 150mph figure does in the results, but it also says "temperatures more than fifty below zero". I then searched books.google.com for "wind chill formula" and found books.google.com/books?id=vI4B0-WdisEC a 1963 formula for wind chill, but it's measured in units not degrees. I'm guessing -148 is a made up number (for one things, winds over 50mph have little additional chilling effect). I got bored, but further research in books.google.com might prove fruitful $\endgroup$
    – user967
    Jun 29, 2018 at 18:05


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