1916: Temperature Preferences

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Temperature Preferences
There's a supposed Mark Twain quote, "The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco." It isn't really by Mark Twain, but I don't know who said it—I just know they've never been to McMurdo Station.
Title text: There's a supposed Mark Twain quote, "The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco." It isn't really by Mark Twain, but I don't know who said it—I just know they've never been to McMurdo Station.

Explanation

Ambox notice.png This explanation may be incomplete or incorrect: Edited by a pedant - Please change this comment when editing this page. Do NOT delete this tag too soon.
If you can address this issue, please edit the page! Thanks.

This is a chart of major (and not-so-major) populated areas showing seasonal temperature patterns. The chart is a guide to where one might like to live depending on how much summer heat and winter cold they enjoy. There are four focused zones:

  • Hate both cold and heat (eg. Quito, Addis Ababa)--Neither summers nor winters are too extreme
  • Hate cold but love heat (eg. Rio, Bangkok, Manila)--Very hot in the summer; typically tropical regions
  • Hate heat but love cold (eg. Moscow, Oslo)--Very cold in the winter; typically high latitudes
  • Love both heat and cold (eg. Seoul, Beijing)--Both summers and winters are too extreme

The summer heat axis is determined by humidex, a system that combines heat and humidity to generate an estimate of perceived "summer discomfort".

It is unclear for how long the chart will stay accurate under climate change. As winters and summers become more extreme and weather patterns change, many cities may move between zones.

City Country Continent Average low in coldest month (°C) Average high in hottest month (°C) Hottest monthly average dew point (°C) Humidex
Abakan Russia Asia -22 26 13
Addis Ababa Ethiopia Africa 10 22 11
Altay China Asia -22 27 8
Athens Greece Europe 7 31.8 14
Atlanta United States North America 1.3 31.7 20.1
Baghdad Iraq Asia 3 43 8
Bangkok Thailand Asia 21 34 24
Barcelona Spain Europe 4.4 28 18
Beijing China Asia -8 30 20
Berlin Germany Europe -3 22 11
Blagoveshchensk Russia Asia -26.2 27.3 16
Bogotá Colombia South America 6 19 10
Boston United States North America -5.4 27.6 16.3
Brisbane Australia Oceania 9 28 18
Budapest Hungary Europe -3 26 12
Buenos Aires Argentina South America
Cairo Egypt Africa
Calgary Canada North America
Cape Town South Africa Africa
Casper United States North America
Chengdu China Asia
Dallas United States North America 3 36 19.4
Da Qaidam China Asia
Dar es Salaam Tanzania Africa
DC United States North America
Delhi India Asia
Dhaka Bangladesh Asia
Dubai United Arab Emirates Asia
Dublin Ireland Europe
Duluth United States North America
Edinburgh United Kingdom Europe
El Paso United States North America
Fairbanks United States North America
Fargo United States North America
Flagstaff United States North America
Geneva Switzerland Europe
Guangzhou China Asia
Hailar China Asia
Halifax Canada North America
Ho Chi Minh City Vietnam Asia
Hong Kong China Asia
Honolulu United States North America
Houston United States North America 6.2 34.7 22.7
Irkutsk Russia Asia
Istanbul Turkey Asia
Jakarta Indonesia Asia
Jerusalem Israel Asia
Jinzhou China Asia
Kabul Afghanistan Asia
Kansas City United States North America
Karachi Pakistan Asia
Kiev Ukraine Europe
Kinshasa Democratic
Republic of Congo
Africa
Lagos Nigeria Africa
Lahore Pakistan Asia
London United Kingdom Europe
Los Angeles United States North America
Lubbock United States North America
Madrid Spain Europe
Manila Philippines Asia
McMurdo Antarctica -31 -1 -8
Melbourne Australia Oceania
Mexico City Mexico North America
Miami United States North America
Minneapolis United States North America
Moscow Russia Asia
Mumbai India Asia
Nairobi Kenya Africa
Needles United States North America
Omaha United States North America
Oslo Norway Europe
Ottawa Canada North America
Paris France Europe 2.7 25.2 12
Perth Australia Oceania
Portland United States North America
Pyongyang North Korea Asia
Qiqihar China Asia
Quito Ecuador South America 9 20 9
Raleigh United States North America
Regina Canada North America
Reykjavik Iceland Europe -2 12 7
Richmond, Virginia United States North America
Rio Brazil South America
Riyadh Saudi Arabia Asia
Rome Italy Europe
Sabha Libya Africa
Saint Louis United States North America
Salt Lake City United States North America
San Francisco United States North America
Santa Fe United States North America
Santiago Chile South Africa
Sao Paulo Brazil South Africa
Sapporo Japan Asia
Seoul South Korea Asia
Shanghai China Asia
Shenyang China Asia
Singapore Singapore Asia
Sioux Falls United States North America
St Petersburg Russia Asia
Stockholm Sweden Europe
Sydney Australia Oceania
Tashkent Uzbekistan Asia
Tehran Iran Asia
Thunder Bay Canada North America
Tokyo Japan Asia
Tongliao China Asia
Toronto Canada North America
Turpan China Asia
Ulaanbaatar Mongolia Asia
Urumqi China Asia
Vancouver Canada North America
Vladivostok Russia Asia
Volgograd Russia Asia
Wellington New Zealand Oceania
Wuhan China Asia
Xi'an China Asia
Yellowknife Canada North America -29.5 21.3 7
Yumen China Asia

Transcript

[A chart labeled: Where to live based on your temperature preferences]
[In gray, the data source: Climate data from weatherbase.com]


[A chart with two lines with single arrows. Each arrow is labeled:]
Y axis bottom: Cold winters
X axis right: Hot/humid summers (measured via Humidex, which combines heat and dew point)
[Near each of the corners of the chart there is a gray blob, labeled:]
Top left: If you hate cold and heat
Top right: If you hate cold and love heat
Bottom left: If you love cold and hate heat
Bottom right: If you love cold and heat
[The following city names intersect with the top left blob [hate cold and heat] (in reading order):]
Mexico City
Quito
Addis Ababa
Bogota
San Francisco
Wellington
[The following city names intersect with the top right blob [hate cold and love heat] (in reading order):]
Bangkok
Ho Chi Minh City
Manila
Singapore
Mumbai
Jakarta
Dar Es Salaam
Honolulu
Lagos
Rio [de Janeiro]
Dhaka
Kinhasa
Miami
Karachi
Dubai
Cairo
Hong Kong
Delhi
Riyadh
Guangzhou
Lahore
Sabha
Houston
Needles
El Paso
Baghdad
Dallas
[The following city names intersect with the bottom left blob [love cold and hate heat] (in reading order):]
Reykjavik (with arrow pointing left)
Berlin
Stockholm
Oslo
Calgary
Halifax
Daqaidam
Kiev
Casper
Yumen
St. Petersburg
Volgograd
Moscow
Ottawa
Vladivostok
Thunder Bay
Duluth
Urumqi
Altay
Regina
Irkutsk
Abakan
Ulaanbaatar
Blagoveshchensk (also on bottom right blob)
Fairbanks
McMurdo (with arrow pointing down-left)
Yellowknife (with arrow pointing down)
Hailar
[The following city names intersect with the bottom right blob [love cold and heat] (in reading order):]
[Washington] DC
Shanghai
Tehran
Saint Louis
New York
Xi'An
Salt Lake City
Kansas City
Beijing
Seoul
Sapporo
Pyongyang
Sioux Falls
Turpan
Jinzhou
Minneapolis
Shenyang
Fargo
Tongliao
Qiqihar
Blagoveshchensk (also on bottom left blob)
[The following city names do not intersect with any blob (in reading order):]
Nairobi
São Paulo
Brisbane
Los Angeles
Perth
Cape Town
Sydney
Athens
Santiago
Barcelona
Melbourne
Rome
Buenos Aires
Jerusalem
Atlanta
Raleigh
Madrid
Chengdu
Tokyo
Dublin
Portland
Richmond
London
Istanbul
Edinburgh
Vancouver
Paris
Flagstaff
Santa Fe
Tashkent
Wuhan
Geneva
Lubbock
Boston
Budapest
Kabul
Toronto
Omaha


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Discussion

As someone who lives near San Fransisco, but has lived in multiple other climates, I can say, San Fransisco can be pretty cold during summer months (compared to normal summers), but is still moderate. If you truely hate heat though, avoid mid-September till November as that is our hottest time of year, since there is not as much fog then. Once November hits it pretty suddenly gets cold again though. 172.68.189.187 06:08, 15 November 2017 (UTC)Rowan

This graph doesn't make any sense. In my experience, people who live in places with hot summers hate heat, and people who live in places with cold winters hate coldness. Everyone I've ever spoken from Perth basically constantly complains about the heat! Shouldn't the whole thing be flipped? Maplestrip (talk) 08:46, 15 November 2017 (UTC)

I just now realized that it says "where to live," not "where you live." I take back this silly comment ^_^; My bad Maplestrip (talk) 09:00, 15 November 2017 (UTC)

Why is there dirt in the middle of the picture? Fabian42 (talk) 09:06, 15 November 2017 (UTC)

It appears to be a faded-out image, probably some reference pic that Randall was using while drawing. Something similar appeared in 1561, and was later removed. Peregrine (talk) 11:32, 15 November 2017 (UTC)

Coming from Denmark I'm really dissapointed that he left out our capital, and the largest city in Scandinavia, Copenhagen, when he has both Oslo, Stockholm and .... Reykjavik... :-D But guess it should be placed near Oslo... --Kynde (talk) 09:54, 15 November 2017 (UTC)

Within the mid-United States, Randall ignored Chicago entirely and highlighted Minneapolis. Since I'm originally from Minnesota, I appreciate that a LOT. (Chicago can keep their wind, those blowhards; if you want a humid summer, find a Minnesota lake for your vacation! Then enjoy the ice fishing in winter, too.) --BigMal // 108.162.216.184 15:16, 15 November 2017 (UTC)
Denver isn't on here. We have over 230 temperate days per year; We get big snow sometimes, then it melts away within a day or two. I think it belongs somewhere directly below Paris? I wonder how we'd be positioned relative to Portland...
There's no way Randall has spent any significant time near Lubbock Texas; It should be shown farther up & to the right, maybe a lot farther.
172.68.58.59 02:46, 16 November 2017 (UTC)
The point isn't where Randall has spent time (imagine someone spending enough time in ALL these places to get a good feel for what the summers AND winters are generally lke??!?!?). This graph was made entirely from hard data. NiceGuy1 (talk) 04:46, 17 November 2017 (UTC)
I'm disappointed he left out Hamburg, Germany (and instead included Berlin). Average high over the year in Hamburg is 13.2°C (highest average is 22.1°C and 22.2°C in July and August, respectively), average low over the year is 6.2°C (lowest average is -1.4°C in January). So, if you like mild winters as much as you like mild summers, you should live in Hamburg. --LordHorst (talk) 09:52, 16 November 2017 (UTC)

So I've added a table with one entry for you all to put in data. I don't know where to find humidex info but the average low temperatures should be easy enough to find on e.g. Wikipedia. --AnotherAnonymous (talk) 10:10, 15 November 2017 (UTC)

I think I've sorted all the disambiguations out apart from Richmond. My instinct is to say it's Richmond, Virginia but now I've seen how many Richmonds there are I'm not so sure...--AnotherAnonymous (talk) 12:07, 15 November 2017 (UTC)

The convention that I've always stuck to, is that the mention of a place without qualifiers always refers to the oldest place with that name (where there are more than one location). Therefore, Richmond (with no qualifier) must refer to the place in North Yorkshire. If Richmond in the US was meant, the text would have referred to it as "Richmond, VA" or some such. 141.101.104.155 12:53, 21 November 2017 (UTC)

I think that "Altay" is more likely to be Altay City, China, not Altai City, Mongolia. The Wikipedia-preferred spellings are one piece of evidence, but more convincing is the position of "Altay" right above (i.e. winters warmer than) "Regina". If this is Regina, Saskatchewan, then its temperature profile (per Wikipedia) is very similar to the Chinese city.

  • Jan average: Regina, −20.1 to −9.3°C, and Altay, −21 to −9.4°C (versus Altai, −24.8 to −10.4°C)... pretty close all around, but Altai is a little colder.
  • Jul average: Regina, 11.9 to 25.8°C, and Altay, 15.1 to 28.2°C (versus Altai, 8.0 to 19.7°C)... Altay is warmer than Regina, whereas Altai is quite a bit colder.
  • Annual average: Regina, −3.2 to 9.3°C, and Altay, −1.4 to 10.7°C (versus Altai, −7.98 to 5.03°C)... Altai is again noticeably colder.

(Oops, edit conflict with AnotherAnonymous. Before their edit—which points to Altay City, China—the table said it was unclear which was meant.) -- Peregrine (talk) 12:18, 15 November 2017 (UTC)

Yeah, sorry, I changed my mind, I can't remember why now... --AnotherAnonymous (talk) 13:28, 15 November 2017 (UTC)

So, the table lists temperatures for these cities from some unknown source(s), that may not be the same source(s) Randall used. I think the more interesting table would bte the table of X/y coordinates for each city from the comic. No? JohnHawkinson (talk) 15:01, 15 November 2017 (UTC)

I disagree - we can see where they are on the comic, so that's not very interesting at all. This table puts some hard figures on the co-ordinates. (In most explanations when we 'estimate' co-ordinates, it's because there are no hard figures). By the way, the source I'm using for my figures is weatherbase.com as suggested in the transcript. I can't speak what others are using but maybe we should make this clearer. --AnotherAnonymous (talk) 16:05, 15 November 2017 (UTC)
The point isn't to be interesting, the point is to accurately capture the comic. As I've seen mentioned a couple of times, there are blind people who use readers on ExplainXKCD to follow this comic. As far as I gather, the presence of the transcript is largely if not exclusively for them. And for this comic right now, it seems to read as "There's a bunch of cities over here, and a bunch over in that clump". Seems like a table with rough co-ordinates is extremely called for. NiceGuy1 (talk) 04:46, 17 November 2017 (UTC)

Chicago? Bottom right corner. 162.158.106.12 15:37, 15 November 2017 (UTC)

Chicago averages around 12 days of 90+ and none over 100 per year (similar to New York) does not rank as being all that hot on a world scale Rtanenbaum (talk) 18:47, 15 November 2017 (UTC).
Wherever Chicago should go (and it's definitely in the lower right quadrant), it's weird that Randall didn't put it there. It's the USA's third-largest city and by far the biggest metropolitan area in the Midwest. How did Minneapolis make the cut if Chicago didn't? (No offense, Minnesotans.) 108.162.216.250 23:33, 15 November 2017 (UTC)
As far as I know, Montreal is one of the top ten largest cities in North America, and it's not on there, either. He probably focused on cities particularly known for one extreme or the other, the bottom right is both, which might be why that glob is half empty.NiceGuy1 (talk) 04:58, 17 November 2017 (UTC)

Added hottest month Humidex values for all cities that have temperature and dew point data, using equation from the Wikipedia page on Humidex.

My jimmies are really rustled by Randall using the puny american McMurdo station (record low of mere -51 centigrade) instead of the glorious russian Vostok station (record low -89 "steel shatters" centigrade).


As a resident of Oregon, I vote for Portland being Portland, OR. It is not only larger than Portland, Maine; it also more closely fits the mild climate that Randall seems to place it in on the graph. An early settler wrote two letters back east: The first, "Come live with me, there ain't no winter here", the second six months later "Nevermind, there ain't no summer either" Seebert (talk) 21:44, 15 November 2017 (UTC)

I'm not convinced by the Humidex numbers (or possibly the calculation) for London. It has the third highest value of 49.3, which according to the Wikipedia entry for Humidex, is "Dangerous; heat stroke quite possible". London can occasionally have some unpleasantly hot days in the summer, but generally (as the diagram implies) it's rarely too hot or too cold. --TimO (talk) 10:26, 16 November 2017 (UTC)

You're right - I think someone got their numbers out of sync when they were typing them in, there were several in the wrong place. Fixed now --AnotherAnonymous (talk) 13:38, 16 November 2017 (UTC)

Is the Humidex right for Rio? It shows 48, but meaning it should have been one of the furthest to the right. But that's not where it was drawn.

I don't know whether or not that's correct, but it could be: That is a known problem with Humidex (note: it was invented in Canada and has not been adopted in many southern countries where heat and humidity is much larger). See: an argument about wind chill and Humidex. That value seems to be correct, as calculated by this site. However, maybe there's multiple different equations to compute Humidex? Jeudi Violist (talk) 22:05, 16 November 2017 (UTC)

Temperatures

For the low/high temperatures, should it be the average temperature of the coldest/hottest months or the average low/high of the coldest/hottest months? The two are not the same, and you can get both from weatherbase.com. Some of the data is already messed up. I highly doubt that Raleigh is the hottest place on earth. AFAIK, people live there, but I don't think anyone could survive between 50C and 70C all year round... --Dkasza (talk) 03:31, 16 November 2017 (UTC)

Hi Dkasza, thanks for the comment. I think the point of the original comic is to compare how hot it typically gets in summer - so the average high for the hottest month - with how cold it gets in winter - so the average low for the coldest month. That's what I went with - I think the average temperature for the hottest month isn't the best because it doesn't tell you how hot it gets (and similarly for cold). As for Raleigh, I think the data you mention must have been changed because it looks reasonable now - perhaps someone originally but the Fahrenheit values in by mistake? I've entered most of the data myself, but feel free to correct any errors! --AnotherAnonymous (talk) 14:39, 16 November 2017 (UTC)

Intuitiveness

Comparing relative placements on the map with cities I've been to or lived in: All the ones I see on the chart make a very good fit for how I've known them. It's very well drawn. St. Louis and DC are definitely pinpoint accurate. Same goes for Toronto, Istanbul, Santa Fe, New York, & Tehran.

Chart didn't include Cleveland, Ohio, so I'll tell you it falls right between Toronto and Sioux Falls in the lower middle range. I pretty much agree with 172 about Denver; I'd place it about where Geneva is, though I've never been to Geneva.

As for equable climates of the upper left, keeping to moderate temperatures year-round, I have heard that a lot about Aruba and Kampala. I personally knew a colleague from Kampala who verified that: on the equator and elevation 1,190 m (3,900 ft), charted perhaps above Addis Ababa and left of Nairobi. Aruba I've heard is equable year-round, thanks to ocean breezes off the Caribbean. My parents have been there, but I haven't; it probably keeps company with Kampala. Kuala Lumpur would keep company in the upper right with Jakarta and Singapore. Messina (my ancestral province) keeps company in the upper middle space between Santiago and Athens. Palermo would be closer to Santiago. Diggin how intuitive it is from the chart, without even looking at the data tables below. Johanna-Hypatia (talk) 23:49, 16 November 2017 (UTC)

A few surprises here... My expectation would have put L.A. in the same spot as Miami, suprised this puts the summers at about the same as Ottawa and Toronto (L.A. being the only one of those I haven't visited). Also, have always figured Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal to be the same, weather-wise (so, would be the exact same spot on this chart), weird to see Ottawa and Toronto that separate, which makes it more frustrating that Montreal isn't present (surprising in and of itself, as last I knew Montreal is one of the top ten largest cities in North America). One reason I would approve Montreal's absence is that its position would have wandered over the past 10 years. This summer and last winter would definitely be a bunch left and up from 10 years ago. NiceGuy1 (talk) 04:58, 17 November 2017 (UTC)

The picture is fixed!

The dust/smudge/whatever has been removed already. Can someone update that? 162.158.165.94 16:23, 22 November 2017 (UTC)

I never saw this smudge! I saw references to it, but never saw it, either here or on XKCD itself. And I would have read this within a day or two of when it was first published. Usually when the original changes, this description includes a link to the original... I'm really curious to see this! LOL! NiceGuy1 (talk) 07:33, 24 November 2017 (UTC)