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Thursday, 2 December 2010

Wed 1st Dec2010 - Red Squirrel Dell, Ryde.

The bitterly cold weather conditions this week meant that it was quite an achievement even to get to the location. Ice and a little snow were one factor (one of the padlocks on the tool shed was frozen!) and a piercingly cold wind another. This understandably meant that numbers were reduced. Never-the-less a very good number, considering the elements, turned out to the 'Red Squirrel Dell', an important piece of wooded boundary for the recreation ground in Pell Lane, Ryde. This is a wildlife corridor linking gardens here to Play Street Lane and one of our favourites, The Millennium Green. We cleared a good area ready for the planting of native trees later in the season.

The site itself was thankfully, as the name suggests, in a dip in the landscape and we escaped the worst of the wind chill factor while we worked. I thought I would investigate, as this week I am the stand-in reporter, this phenomenon of 'wind chill' so often quoted in forecasts. It seems the rate that a surface looses heat depends upon the wind speed above it, so the faster the wind speed the more readily it cools. So if you take an inanimate object, it will reach the ambient temperature quicker if there is wind passing over it. However for biological organisms, like us, our physiological response is to try and maintain our surface temperature in an acceptable range so as to avoid adverse effects (frostbite etc). So that attempt to maintain the surface temperature when there is a faster heat loss from wind chill gives a perception of a lower temperature and a very real accelerated rate of heat loss from the body.

Many thanks to Mark for the pictures and editorial this week.

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