Learning Metric Weather Temperatures

Weather temperatures are a good way to start learning the Metric System because when it comes to the weather, most of the time it won't really matter if you're off by a degree or two. This article offers a few tips for learning the Metric System through everyday weather temperatures.

Fahrenheit to Celsius conversion formula

In case you prefer the Metric conversion method, the formula for converting Fahrenheit to Celsius is °F - 32 / 1.8 = °C, but why would you want to go through that much math every time you wanted to know the Celsius temperature? I'd rather just stick my head out the window and take a guess!

Local Weather

When learning Metric weather temps, focus on learning the weather temperatures that apply to your local home area. Almost everyone will need to know 32°F equals 0°C because there are so many outdoor physical changes that occur at the freezing point, but those who live in Florida don't need to know the colder temps as much in the beginning. For people in the Northeast (like us), the colder temperatures are more important than the hotter temperatures. The remaining weather temperatures can always be learned later.

Look for Celsius, not Fahrenheit

When looking up the weather online, don't look only at the familiar Fahrenheit temperature. Look at the Celsius temp first, then try to guess the equivalent Fahrenheit temp. We use The National Weather Service, and the °C is next to the °F so it's easy to compare the two. If you use The Weather Channel, there's a button in the upper right corner that will convert the temps from °F to °C. The first image below shows the NOAA page with °F and °C temperatures. The second image shows The Weather Channel interface, and the arrow points to the upper right where you need to click in order to convert from Fahrenheit to Celsius.


F to C weather temps NOAA screenshot  
F to C Weather Channel screenshot

°F to °C conversion is not an exact science

The conversion rate from Fahrenheit to Celsius is something like 1.88:1, so a degree Celsius (°C) doesn't always convert to an even number in degree Fahrenheit (°F), and some of the Fahrenheit temps will have the same Celsius temp. The Celsius conversion gets rounded down if it's less than 5, and rounded up if it's more than 5.

For example, 42°F converts to 5.555°C, so it gets rounded up to 6°C, and 43°F converts to 6.1111°C, so it gets rounded down to the same 6°C. As mentioned earlier, one or two degrees isn't critical for most weather temperatures.

It takes practice, but learning weather temperatures is a good way to learn the Metric System without any pressure.