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I'm sure many people have noticed after getting out of a shower or out of a swimming pool that moving air makes them feel colder. It seems like one way to beat the summer heat is with water and also moving air. But, does having water on your body actually cool you off more with moving air, or is that simply what it feels like because water cools differently than air?

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    $\begingroup$ I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it belongs to Physics.SE $\endgroup$ – Remi.b Aug 9 '17 at 5:31
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    $\begingroup$ @Remi.b It's really more about what people feel, the motivation is that people feel cold. You really think a bunch of physicists are biology experts who know the chemistry behind what would cause a different feeling? You can't determine the answer belongs in physics unless it already becomes answered and the answer is purely physics. $\endgroup$ – DaneJoe Aug 9 '17 at 5:51
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    $\begingroup$ Could the question be rephrased Why do we not sense temperature but thermal energy transfer?? If yes, then I'd agree it belongs to Biology.SE $\endgroup$ – Remi.b Aug 9 '17 at 5:57
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    $\begingroup$ I don't think this is a physics question; it has everything to do with biology and how we perceive changes on our skin. $\endgroup$ – anongoodnurse Aug 9 '17 at 14:25
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When your wet skin experiences air flow over it, water will evaporate. Evaporation causes cooling, as energy is transferred from the remaining water molecules to the ones that evaporate - energy in water molecules is being experienced as heat. Less energy -> less heat -> sensation of cooling.

This is why you feel cold, as opposed to when you stay submerged in the pool, or your skin is dry and it is just air movement - no evaporation is taking place.

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  • $\begingroup$ For extra points do you have any references that can support that? $\endgroup$ – DaneJoe Aug 9 '17 at 22:31
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    $\begingroup$ @DaneJoe This is rather basic chemistry, covered by any introductory chemistry text. Although we like references at biology.SE, usually we don't bother for basic textbook knowledge (it gets a bit too pedantic). $\endgroup$ – Bryan Krause Aug 13 '17 at 16:17
  • $\begingroup$ @BryanKrause Wrong. We don't know that enough water is evaporating at a high enough rate to account for this phenomena. I've studied chemistry, we definitely didn't study temperature change due to water evaporation induced by moving air. $\endgroup$ – DaneJoe Aug 13 '17 at 16:57
  • $\begingroup$ It doesn't matter if the air is moving or not, except to speed the rate of evaporation. Surely in chemistry you learned about the heat of vaporization, which is quite high for water because of hydrogen bonds. $\endgroup$ – Bryan Krause Aug 13 '17 at 17:01

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