Celcius or Fahrenheit


Temperature reading for Napier, New Zealand using Metric SystemTemperature reading for Fort Worth, Texas using FahrenheitAs we look at reading temperatures, why are some using Imperial measurements while most others use Metric measurements? Do you know the difference?

Well, let’s first look at what the different measurements are.

Metric Measurement System

Metric is a decimal system of weights and measures. It is easy to convert between units (e.g. from millimeters to meters, or grams to kilograms) simply by multiplying or dividing by 10, 100, 1000, etc. Often this is just a case of moving the decimal point to the right or left. When measuring the temperature Metric uses Celcius. The freezing temperature is 0 and boiling is 100. But Celcius is really great for measuring water.

Imperial Measurement System

The Imperial System (which uses yards, feet, inches, etc to measure length) was developed over hundreds of years in the UK, then the French developed the Metric System (meters) in 1670, which soon spread through Europe, even to England itself in 1963. Also, the imperial System measures temperature in Fahrenheit. Fahrenheit isn’t a favorite for a scientist to use. It is more granular and that is why it is best used for weather. The temperature in the air needs to have more ambient readings.

Did you know

Depiction of the Mars Climate Orbiter

Mars Climate Orbiter Source: NASA via Wikipedia

“The temperature in Canada is in Celsius and this is one area where I will admit that I have some confusion. Imperial measurement is “better” in that there is more of a range over “normal operating temperature”, ie: 72 degrees Fahrenheit which is about 22.2222… degrees Celcius. Most doctors still measure temperature in Fahrenheit.” Quora 

“The use of two different unit systems was the cause of the loss of the Mars Climate Orbiter in 1998. NASA specified metric units in the contract. NASA and other organizations applied metric units in their work, but one subcontractor, Lockheed Martin,  provided thruster performance data to the team in pound force seconds instead of newton seconds. The spacecraft was intended to orbit Mars at about 150 kilometers (93 mi) altitude, but incorrect data probably  caused it to descend instead to about 57 kilometers (35 mi), burning up  in the Martian atmosphere.” Wikipedia 


A map of the world showing who uses metric (gray) and who uses Imperial (red)

Metric (gray); Imperial (red) Source: Wikimedia Commons

So, what countries use the Imperial System? They are Liberia (Africa), Myanmar (Asia), and the United States of America (North America). Everywhere else uses the Metric System. Do you think the United States of America should change? It sure would be nice being able to understand the temperature all the same way, that is for sure. Learning and living it would be quite the challenge for the majority.

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Resource: https://www.quora.com/Why-hasnt-the-United-States-switched-to-the-metric-systemhttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mars_Climate_Orbiterhttps://www.zmescience.com/other/map-of-countries-officially-not-using-the-metric-system/

Image Resource: Featured Image https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Raumthermometer_Fahrenheit%2BCelsius.jpghttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mars_Climate_Orbiter#/media/File:Mars_Climate_Orbiter_2.jpghttps://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Theredmonkey/maps#/media/File:Metric_system.png


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