To keep warm in the Arctic, you have to dress in special layers. (R. Bishop)

To keep warm in the Arctic, you have to dress in special layers. (R. Bishop)

The layers keep warmth trapped next to your body. (R. Bishop)

The layers keep warmth trapped next to your body. (R. Bishop)

Heat travels through empty spaces through radiation, or through conduction when objects are touching each other. (R. Bishop)

Heat travels through empty spaces through radiation, or through conduction when objects are touching each other. (R. Bishop)

Convection is when heat escapes into moving air or water. Cooler air picks up heat from your head. It's why you wear a hat in winter! (R. Bishop)

Convection is when heat escapes into moving air or water. Cooler air picks up heat from your head. It's why you wear a hat in winter! (R. Bishop)

Exposure to Arctic wind chill can cause frostbite in just minutes! (NOAA)

Exposure to Arctic wind chill can cause frostbite in just minutes! (NOAA)

Off to the Arctic

Posted: November 1, 2017

Few people live in the Arctic. But that could change because of the valuable minerals and oil there. What tips could you give someone heading to such a cold part of the world?

Dress in layers. Heat always wants to escape to a cooler place. Insulation slows it down. The air spaces between layers of clothing trap heat.

Mom was right. Wear your hat. Your head has only a thin fat layer but lots of blood flow. That makes your noggin a great radiator. (Think about it. Where do you put a cold washcloth when you have a fever?) In cold weather, 40 percent of the heat you lose is through your uncovered head.

Stay dry. Shed layers so you don’t sweat. Sweat cools your body. But wet clothes pull heat from your body long after you stop moving.

Did you know that making faces keeps blood flowing in your face?

Understand the “Cold”

Dry cold is when the temperature is minus 10 degrees all the time for 24 hours. This kind of cold is a danger to the exposed skin of hikers or skiers.

Wet cold is when the temperature varies, but averages minus 10 degrees over 24 hours. The thawing and refreezing of this weather can be a hazard for drivers.

Wind chill makes everyone miserable. It is when we feel colder than the thermometer says. This is caused by wind on our skin and the evaporation of skin’s moisture.

Respect the Cold

Work carefully in the Arctic. Cold slows everything down—blood, muscles, and nerves. In extreme cold, you won’t think as clearly and your reaction time will be slower.

God designed the body to generate warmth. But in some cases the body can lose heat faster than it can make it. That is a dangerous condition called hypothermia. It has warning signs.

Shivering is a warning. Muscles contract and release quickly. That burns calories, which generates heat. Numbness is another warning. When the body can’t make enough heat, it slows the blood flow to hands and feet. That reserves warmth for the most important organs.