What is the temperature” seems like a weird question. Everybody knows what temperature is, our skin is very sensitive to all changes in temperature and as the right temperature is a crucial for our bodies to function properly, we often hear questions like “are you cold?”, “what’s the temperature outside”, “is it hot in here or is it just me?”. What temperature is seems like a very obvious thing, but if you think about, can you really define a temperature?

Temperature definition

Temperature is a physical quantity expressing intensity of heat of any given object or substance. The temperature can be perceived by touch and measured by tools like thermometer. And if you want more scientific explanation, temperature is a measure of kinetic energy of the motion of particles (like electrons and atoms) in any given substance, including all states of matter.

Most common way to express the temperature is to describe it as either cold or hot. This difference can be easily perceived by the simplest tool we’re equipped with – our sense of touch. More detailed measurements can be done with thermometer. The most common temperature scale are:

Celsius scale (°C)
Fahrenheit scale (°F)
Kelvin scale (K)

Air temperature definition

One of the most common question about temperature is “what is the temperature outside?” By asking that we’re really asking “what is air temperature?” Air is the substance we’re always in and so it’s temperature affects us more than any other.

And how is air temperature usually measured? The same way as temperature of any other substance – with thermometer. However, our subjective sense of the air temperature can be affected by many different qualities, like humidity, wind speed and so on. So in many cases the better way to express this question would be asking about weather temperature.


How is air temperature usually measured?

Data on air temperature are collected by meteorological stations. The measurement is made at a height of 2 m above the ground with a thermometer, shielded from direct solar radiation in the meteorological cage.

With separate thermometers, the maximum and minimum temperature is measured – the maximum and minimum thermometer, respectively.

The first one informs us about the expected cooling of the air during the night, and the second one about the „degree” of its heating during the day. However, it should be remembered that the minimum temperature is not tied to the night, and maximum to day – they concern the whole day, so it may well happen that the highest measured daily temperature will occur at night, and the lowest during the day. It should be made clear that the presented minimum temperatures usually occur in the morning (shortly before sunrise), so in the winter around 7 o’clock, sometimes only after 8 and in the summer between 3:00 and 5:00. In turn, the temperature reaches the highest value during the day generally in the afternoon, i.e. in the winter usually between 13:00 and 15:00, and in the summer between 15:00 and 17:00. Nevertheless, any disturbances in cloudiness, wind direction and speed or the occurrence of atmospheric phenomena often significantly determine both the minimum and maximum temperatures of the air temperature as well as the moment of its occurrence.

Weather temperature

The temperature is given in degrees Celsius [° C], Fahrenheit [° F] or kelvins [K]. The difference between the highest and lowest temperatures in a given period is the amplitude of the air temperature.

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