Is Finland “dry cold” or “wet cold?”

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Woods
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Is Finland “dry cold” or “wet cold?”

Postby Woods » 2016-02-11, 11:51

I was just informed that “dry cold” weather would be very good for my nose, whereas “wet cold” would be pretty bad. As an example, I was given Moscow vs. St. Petersburg – both would be -20, but the former would be “dry,” the latter “wet.”

I’m not sure what the proper terminology would be – but where does Finland stay in this regard? In winters, is it “dry cold” or “wet cold?”

Bonus question – is it windy? Because in my experience wind is what really makes you feel cold, not anything else…

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Re: Is Finland “dry cold” or “wet cold?”

Postby Iván » 2016-02-12, 17:25

Well, I've only been to Finland once during the winter, but I can tell what it was like to me.

Even though I had never been anywhere as cold as Finland before travelling to there, I think it could've been much worse than it actually was. The average temperature, while I was there, was around -20ºC and -25ºC. I can't say it wasn't cold because it was, but having my winter clothes on really helped a lot. I'm not really sure if I understand the difference between "dry cold" and "wet cold", but I guess the former would be when it's cold, but it doesn't really feel like that because it's not too windy and it's not too humid and the latter would be when it's cold and you can really notice that because it's windy and it's humid. So, Finland, or rather the area I was in, which was Etelä-Suomi, was dry cold as long as it wasn't windy. If it was windy, then you would probably start yelling: Why are you this mean to me, lovely Finland?

However, I'm not really sure whether my comment will help you much, but I just want you to know that warm clothes are always your best choice. I guess Finns and people who are currently there can help you more than me.
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Re: Is Finland “dry cold” or “wet cold?”

Postby linguoboy » 2016-02-12, 21:08

Iván wrote:I'm not really sure if I understand the difference between "dry cold" and "wet cold"

It's humidity. Here in the Midwest, where we have a continental climate, it's a dry cold in wintertime. (Currently the relative humidity is 47%, for instance.) But where I lived in Germany, it was maritime (even though I was hundreds of kilometers from the seaside) which made it milder overall, but more humid in winter (currently 93%) and I was miserable.

The Köppen classification for coastal Finland is the same as that of the Upper Midwest (i.e. Dfb, Humid continental, mild summer subtype), so I would expect the weather to be similar there in terms of temperature but more humid. Sure enough, the relative humidity is currently above 90% in all the Finnish cities I checked. By contrast, in Petrograd it's 82% and in Moscow 85% (but predicted to drop to 72% next week).
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Re: Is Finland “dry cold” or “wet cold?”

Postby Naava » 2016-02-13, 12:18

linguoboy wrote:Sure enough, the relative humidity is currently above 90% in all the Finnish cities I checked.

Yeah, it's been raining the whole week. :I (Rain in February, really?!)
I think it depends on how cold it is. Around 0 the humidity tends to be higher, but when it gets colder (-10 and more) the humidity drops as well. I've never really paid any attention to the humidity itself but it hardly ever snows when it's very cold, so I guess the temperature correlates with it.

Strong winds are not very common except maybe in autumn. Sometimes there's blizzards etc but especially in January~February the weather becomes very beautiful, sunny and no wind.

I've lived my whole life in Western Finland so it could be different elsewhere. Also the weather is quite unpredictable, so it can be -15 one day and +3 the next day. I wouldn't be surprised if the humidity went up and down too.

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Re: Is Finland “dry cold” or “wet cold?”

Postby Sol Invictus » 2016-02-13, 15:47

As far as I remember from geography lessons at school climate is largely influenced by closeness to a large body of water - unless there's mountains in the way, air from sea is going to move inland making areas close to sea more humid, you'll get more precipitation and it's going to be warmer in winter, but colder in summer, however this wet air doesn't move very far into continet, therefore there the air is going to be drier, you'll get less precipitation and there are going to be much sharper changes in seasonal temperature. I believe humidity also makes cold less bearable, so same temperature in wet climate is hoing to feel worse than in dry climate; even on smaller scale living away from water probably would be more preferable. Apparently obvious example for all this is to compare any place close to Baltic Sea to somewhere deep inside Russia, you were given an example involving St. Petersburg, but it should apply to Finland as well (probably even more so, since it is closer to main body of the Baltic Sea).

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Re: Is Finland “dry cold” or “wet cold?”

Postby linguoboy » 2016-02-13, 15:55

Naava wrote:I think it depends on how cold it is. Around 0 the humidity tends to be higher, but when it gets colder (-10 and more) the humidity drops as well. I've never really paid any attention to the humidity itself but it hardly ever snows when it's very cold, so I guess the temperature correlates with it.

"Relative humidity" already takes temperature into account. Colder air can't hold as much moisture so 90% humidity at -10°C is much drier than 90% humidity at 10°C.
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Re: Is Finland “dry cold” or “wet cold?”

Postby PrimroseandBlue » 2016-02-17, 14:04

I was there a few weeks ago, and it really did feel like dry cold even when it snowed. It got as low as -24, which was pretty unpleasant, but I found that anything above -10 was ok, whereas -10 in the UK would be horrendous (lowest I've experienced here was -9).

I recommend a winter visit though, it's fantastic.

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Re: Is Finland “dry cold” or “wet cold?”

Postby Woods » 2016-02-20, 21:21

PrimroseandBlue wrote:I recommend a winter visit though, it's fantastic.

But a little bit too dark and with not that many people around maybe?

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Re: Is Finland “dry cold” or “wet cold?”

Postby Naava » 2016-02-21, 18:31

linguoboy wrote:"Relative humidity" already takes temperature into account. Colder air can't hold as much moisture so 90% humidity at -10°C is much drier than 90% humidity at 10°C.

Ok, thanks for telling me! I didn't know this, or much of humidity anyway.

Woods wrote:
PrimroseandBlue wrote:I recommend a winter visit though, it's fantastic.

But a little bit too dark and with not that many people around maybe?

There's never too many people around. :D But it's not like an abandoned city. That's something you're more likely to find during Midsummer holidays. Maybe also Christmas in South. I've never been there in Christmas but lots of people travel North to their families before Christmas Eve, so I suppose it might be quite lonely in cities.

Winter isn't that dark really if there's even a little bit of snow. Besides, the days start to get longer in January-February (and the change from "no light at all sun is dead" to "welcome to blindness isn't it nice when snow reflects all the light to your eyes" is very sudden). For example, the sun rises 7:41 tomorrow in Helsinki and sets 17:27. The worst time is around September-December when it's 0C, no snow, raining and sometimes windy, always cloudy, and the days are just getting shorter. I like it though. A good reason to be lazy.

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Re: Is Finland “dry cold” or “wet cold?”

Postby PrimroseandBlue » 2016-02-22, 12:51

Woods wrote:
PrimroseandBlue wrote:I recommend a winter visit though, it's fantastic.

But a little bit too dark and with not that many people around maybe?


More people about than you'd imagine. There's quite a lot on as long as you're interested in winter activities.

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Re: Is Finland “dry cold” or “wet cold?”

Postby Varislintu » 2016-02-29, 11:56

I have to say I've never thought of humidity in relation to weather when it's below freezing. My skin dries easily and basically for me anything below freezing means dry skin, so I haven't been paying attention to what the official humidity might be. And the air feels kind of dry in my nose whenever it's below freezing, regardless of humidity. Wind is much more something I factor in. Helsinki is pretty windy, especially anywhere alongside the water.
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