Friday, July 06, 2012

Shiver or swelter? Why Edinburgh beats Sydney

When we first announced we were moving to Edinburgh back in 2008, by far the most common reaction was some variant of "you'll be cold!". As someone who detests Sydney summers, I found this a slightly odd thing to say. I much prefer 5ºC than 35ºC. Having now lived here for almost four years, through four winters, I can confidently say that Edinburgh's climate is superior to Sydney's. While both have (more or less) nine months of reasonably pleasant weather, Edinburgh has three months of cold and dark (and actually, the dark is worse than the cold - perhaps a topic for another post) while Sydney has three months of hot and humid. It is much, much easier (and generally more pleasant) to keep oneself warm than to cool down. Mulled wine, extra layers or some physical activity are more attractive than heat lethargy, shade-hopping and the impossible task of finding an appropriate clothing compromise between sweat and sunburn.

And now, a Washington Post article has found a medical expert who agrees: freezing to death is considerably less painful than heat sickness.
“You start having severe muscle cramps,” explained Michael Kerr, an emergency doctor at MedStar Montgomery Medical Center in Olney. “Then, severe abdominal cramps. Nausea and vomiting start. Your muscles break down. Mental confusion. Maybe renal failure. Heat coma. Then, death.”

Freezing to death, this is preferable.

“Dying in the cold is very painless,” said Kerr, an experienced outdoorsman who likes camping in Montana and northern Idaho. “When you are out in the cold, you start getting confused, disoriented. You literally go to sleep.”
I rest my case.


Anonymous said...

One Salient Oversight:

When you come back to Australia you should consider moving to Tasmania for the climate.

Talk to David Smith (former SMBC lecturer) who lives and teaches here.

Anonymous said...

David Rogers-Smith I mean

conqueringlion said...

I'm with you Byron, give me the snowy wastes over sweltering deserts any day.

byron smith said...

OSO: If a decision on location within Australia was to be made purely on climate, then I'd pick Tasmania in a flash.

Michael Wrathall said...

Glad you like the Scottish climate so much Byron. After three years living in Scotland (only one of which was in Edinburgh), it wasn't so much the cold but the long months of darkness and grey. Mind you, Edinburgh gets some bitterly cold winds - that's more likely to kill you in the short term than a summer day in Sydney...

jessica smith said...

You miss a key point - you don't care for the beach all that much. This is a factor that needs to be included!

Sadly, we are in disagreement on the substance of this one and I feel that proposing to me in the water was one of very few gaps of integrity in your life (Ha!).