Hot weather. Cold weather. You might prefer one climate over the other. Or you might love both.
Climate is different all around the world. Some countries have four seasons. Other parts of the world especially countries close to the equator don’t have four seasons and pretty much have tropical climate all year round.
I never liked cold weather. Never like it when the temperature dips below 20’C (68’F) in Melbourne. Summer is my favourite season and a 30’C (86’F) day is something I love. When I lived in Singapore, I loved that each day was a tropical humid 30’C.
Here are some pros and cons of living in each kind of climate – grouped according to different lifestyle aspects. Hot or cold, most of the time we need to put up with the weather as it is to get on with our lives.
The warmer it is, the less you need to wear. The colder it is, the more you need to bundle up.
The warmer it is, the less items of clothing you need to pick out each day and chances are it’s faster to put together an outfit. When it is cold, you probably need to layer up and there’s more clothes to be bought, more washing to be done.
No matter how many woollen layers I wear during Melbourne’s winter that hovers around 5-13’C (41-55’F), I still feel cold. When I lived in tropical Singapore for seven years, I rejoiced throwing on just a shirt and shorts each day. I rejoiced at the humidity, moisturising my skin and throat, rejoiced at the tropical warmth making my body feel warm and alive.
2. Mood and emotions
Perhaps the warmer the weather, the happier you feel and the cooler it is the more contemplative you are.
When it’s warm, many of us seem to like venturing outdoors for a walk or a trip to the beach or just somewhere to unwind and relax. When it’s cooler, many of us seem to like staying indoors, curled up on the couch and reading or watching TV.
With cooler months come cooler temperatures and longer nights in seasonal places. During this time some of us might suffer from seasonal affective disorder (SAD), which is when our mood plummets as daylight decreases leading to bouts of depression. A questionnaire conducted by Swinburne University hypothesised 3-4% of Australians could be affected by SAD and noted a drop in mood among Australians during winter.
On the other hand, research by Auburn University in 2016 found there is no correlation between depression and seasons based on analysing survey responses collected from participants present n different sunlight conditions. Interestingly enough, research on human performance shows we’re more alert when our body temperature is high. That would explain why it’s usually harder for to get out of bed in winter, harder to fall asleep in warm weather.
Whether warm or cold, rain, hail or shine, there’s plenty to do outdoors. Wearing the right attire, you can walk, run, hike, cycle and shop anytime of the year.
Notably while a cold body needs more energy to warm up and get moving comfortably, this doesn’t necessarily mean you burn more calories exercising in cold weather. Rather, as metabolism researcher Aaron Cypress argues, sitting around shivering in the cold burns more brown fat and calories than exercising.
Each of our bodies are genetically and biologically unique and so will react differently to different kinds of weather. When it’s warm, you might get hay fever, need to wear sunglasses in bright sunlight, get heat rashes or get dehydrated.
When it’s cold, you might get cold hands, suffer from hypothermia or frostbite, and maybe be more susceptible to catching a cold or flu.
Notably, a study on human behaviour and personality spanning 1.6 million participants in the US and China found the temperature which we are most emotionally stable in is 22’C (72’F). That said, conditions such as asthma, dry skin and any chronic illness can flare up in any kind of weather.
Living in humid Singapore, somehow I am always a target for mosquitoes. Living in Australia, hay fever hits me hard in the warmer months but I’m not too popular with mosquitoes here. No matter the cons, I’ll always love warm weather.
5. Cooking and eating
Often colder weather triggers a survival instinct and you tend to eat more.
Ice-cream, icy poles, cold drinks and salads tend to be the choice foods in summer. On the other hand, hot chocolate, soups and hearty roasts are usually popular go-to foods in cold climate.
When you’re done cooking at home in the cooler months, you might find yourself opening the windows to get rid of lingering cooking smells – and face the wrath of cold winds coming right at you at home.
6. Insulation at home
When you’re home, you want to feel comfortable and ambient temperature plays a part in that.
Turning on the air-conditioner or fan is one way to cool the house down on a hot day. Cranking up the heater makes the house less chilly in winter. Or we may use a reverse cycle or split system air-conditioner for all seasons, all year round. Statistics by the Australian Energy Regulator show Australians seem to use more electricity during summer.
I’ve never been a fan of using the heater or air-conditioner at home. Both make the air drier at home and my eyes and throat get dry, adding hundreds of dollars to the electricity bill. A fan is enough to keep me cool in summer. As much as I hate layering up, that’s what I do at home in winter to stay reasonably warm.
In Australia, dry summer warmth tends to invite more snakes and spiders to the backyard. Warmth and dampness can bring around dust mites and mosquitoes – bugs which you don’t usually get in winter.
On the subject of cooler weather, Studies at the Woolcock Medical Research in Sydney show that people with allergies often come into closer contact with allergy sources in winter, and mould and mildew can circulate through heater air vents.
I’ve never encountered a snake in summer here in Melbourne, but I’ve had many spiders the size of a hand crawl through the bedroom window. I still like summer.
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What is warm or cold weather to someone may not necessarily be the case for someone else. Naturally each of us are suited to and like different kinds of weather and have varying degrees of tolerance towards different temperatures.
Different factors affect your individual tolerance for cold and hot weather. This could be the food you eat, genetics, age, illnesses and just how well your body regulates and maintains its optimum temperature.
In general, the longer you live in a certain place, the more acclimatised you become to the climate there, or at the very least learn to put up with it. The more you live in a certain place, the more prepared you may be prepared for certain weather conditions.
The weather impacts on how comfortable we feel, and inevitably an impact on mortality rates. In 2015, an international study analysing over 74 million deaths across the world found moderately cold weather kills 20 times as many people as hot weather
The same study found around 6.5% of deaths in Australia are attributed to cold weather, compared to 0.5% from hot weather. It’s also been suggested many Australian homes are glorified tents not prepared for cold temperatures – and some apartments I’ve lived in have condensation on windows and poor ventilation in winter.
Interestingly enough, while heat and light can make us feel better, it also has the potential to make us hot and bothered. The summer months in Australia are usually the highest months for homicide, with murder rates rising with temperature in Darwin – more warm nights out, more tipple consumed, the higher likelihood of aggression.
The more comfortable you are with the weather, the more you can get on with your lives and focus on what you want to do. Most of you reading this will probably live in a place that’s moderately hot or cold temperature-wise.
However it’s possible to live in extreme weather such a living in a desert or within the Arctic Circle (think places reaching 40’C (104’F) or -30’C (-22’F) ) or experiencing raging monsoons. The adventurous among us probably wouldn’t mind experiencing these kinds of climate extremes on once-in-a-lifetime vacations.
At the end of the day, I’d much rather sweat than shiver. Much rather feel sweaty and sticky than numb to the bone. To me, feeling warm is not just being able to feel what’s around me, but it also means feeling the present moment and being present where I am.
Do you prefer living in a warmer or colder climate?