Monday, December 14, 2009

How Cold Is It?

My Friend John writes the following:

Edmonton −60°c

The forecast for Edmonton was about −40° celsius, −50° Celsius with windchill. Today Edmonton reached −48° Celsius without windchill, −60° Celsius with windchill!

Let’s discuss that for a moment, shall we? How cold is −60? Edmonton’s temperature, −60 Celsius, is the Eutectic Point for all biological life. The Eutectic Point is the point at which all entropy (activity) stops in molecular biophysics. All activity stops in biological molecules. That includes decomposition. That includes oxidization. That means whatever biological material is −60 will no longer be alive, but also not decay or change in any way due to internal activity (there is none). Commercially, it’s the lowest temperature used by mankind in practical application. It’s used for “superfreezing” foods. It’s so cold that meat a foot thick will “freeze to the bone” quickly. Super-frozen foods don’t discolour and look as fresh as when they were super-frozen once thawed. That’s not subjective, it’s fact. There will have been no ability for any decomposition, decay or oxidization to change the biological matter. Science uses temperatures lower than −60, but they are uncommon and not commercial in nature. Most frozen foods are actually done much warmer than −60 as well. −60 is the premium of flash freezing.

For all intents and purposes, −60 is as good as anything colder. Anything colder really makes absolutely no difference to any form of life. Activity in molecules stops and from there it only effects atoms. That’s cold! Finger skin starts freezing at −10° Celsius. At −30° Celsius, any exposed skin freezes in 20 minutes or less. If a person’s core temperature reaches 23° Celsius, they will have a heart attack, respiratory failure, pulmonary edema and die. Edmonton is very cold! I’ve been there at −30 or so (without windchill). I can’t imagine −50!

--John Taschereau

No comments: