What Does "Mild Weather" Mean?

What Does “Mild Weather” Mean?

Mild weather. You can often hear it in forecasts or when people state their preference when it comes to the climate. But what does mild weather mean? What is a mild climate like? What is a mild temperature range?

Here’s my take on the subject as a person who’s constantly researching the best climates in the world, whether these are places with warm temperatures year round or mild weather destinations.

Here’s My Mild Weather Definition

Mild weather means first and foremost no extreme weather. This means no extreme cold but it also means no extreme heat. Just like a mild person is gentle and inoffensive, so is mild weather temperate and agreeable.

How does mild weather feel like? It’s just “right,” so pleasant that it’s neutral. You don’t notice it because it doesn’t inconvenience you in either direction. You don’t need to put on another layer because you’re cold but you also don’t feel the need to remove one because you’re sweating.

Speaking of clothing, what to wear in mild weather? On mild weather days, assuming a comfortable level of humidity, no strong wind, and no intense sun, you can wear a t-shirt and shorts/skirt or thin long pants without sweating. This is what makes the weather mild: you feel fine wearing just the basics.

So is mild hot or cold? It’s neither. But because us humans need relatively high temperatures to feel best, mild weather means relatively warm temperatures—not extremely hot but enough to not have to wear several layers of clothes. For more about this topic, read my article Is 20 Degrees Celsius Hot or Cold?

Mild Weather Temperature Ranges

My definition of mild weather means about 20 degrees Celsius or 68 degrees Fahrenheit. For most people, mild temperatures that they would describe as “pleasant weather” range roughly from 18 to 22 °C (64-72 °F).

According to one scientific paper, the comfortable ambient temperature for a naked, resting human is between 23-31 °C (73-88 °F). But for a person wearing light clothes (we aren’t walking around naked anymore, are we?), this range is between 17-25 °C (63-77 °F).

Women generally feel colder than men so 17 °C (63 °F) may feel too cold while for men, 25 °C (77 °F) may be too hot. So in the end, 18 to 22 °C (64-72 °F) is my sweet spot for mild weather.

But focusing on the temperature alone is wrong because it doesn’t take into account other factors that influence how such weather feels.

Factors That Influence Whether the Weather Is Mild or Not

Factors That Influence Mild Weather

Temperatures don’t tell the full story.

For example, if you have an uncharacteristically warm day in the middle of winter in London and temperatures reach 20 °C (68 °F), it’ll likely still feel much cooler than the same temperature on a cool summer day.

Why is that so?

Firstly, sun intensity plays a big role. Winter sun is weaker than summer sun, particularly in a city like London. Because of that, it doesn’t provide much heat. If you stand in the sun in the middle of winter with 20 °C (68 °F), it may still feel cool. But if you stand in the sun in the middle of summer with the same temperature, you may feel hot. And if you stand by the water which reflects heat, you may even sweat and want to immediately seek shade.

Secondly, it also matters whether it’s a cloudy day or a sunny day. A clear day will feel much warmer than a cloudy day because you’ll have that added heat from the sun. But if the sun is too strong, a cloudy day may be more preferable to have that true mild weather “feeling.” That, or you can simply seek shade.

The next factor is wind. This is more obvious. Strong wind of, say, 30 km/h (18 mph) and 20 °C (68 °F) results in cold weather. Meanwhile, a windless day with the same temperature will feel pleasant. A person cycling in 20 °C (68 °F), due to the wind, may feel cold. Meanwhile, a person sitting or walking will feel perfectly fine.

Then we have humidity. On mild weather days with temperatures around 20 °C (68 °F), high humidity will make them feel hotter while low humidity will make them feel cooler. 20 °C (68 °F) in Florida with 70% humidity will feel very different to the same temperature in Arizona with 20% humidity.

All these factors are taken into account when forecasters give so-called “feels like” temperature.

One factor that is completely subjective and doesn’t depend on the environment is person’s tolerance of cold. Some people naturally prefer lower temperatures and may find 20 °C (68 °F) to be a little too hot. For others, even temperatures higher than 20 °C (68 °F) are still too cold. But as a rough guideline, mild days have temperatures between 18 to 22 °C (64-72 °F).

What Does “Mild Winter” Mean?

The word “mild” is often used to describe winters in a place that doesn’t get cold in the winter. In this context, it doesn’t necessarily mean temperatures of 20 °C (68 °F). For many people, a mild winter climate means that it doesn’t snow and that temperatures rarely drop below freezing.

For example, you can say that Tennessee has mild winters. The state doesn’t have a very mild winter climate like coastal California but temperatures are in general temperate, around 50-55 °F (10-13 °C) during the day and hover slightly above the freezing point at night.

Of course, for some people (yours truly included) that still isn’t a proper mild winter climate. For me, a mild winter means that it feels more like spring than winter. A good example is Savannah, Georgia. Winter temperatures are around 60-65 °F (15-18 °C) during the day and drop to 40-43 °F (4-6 °C) at night. With such mild weather, you can comfortably enjoy the outdoors year round.

Note that a place may have mild winters but it doesn’t mean it has mild summers.

What Does “Mild Summer” Mean?

Mild Winter vs Mild Summer

Some places in the world have mild summers. This means that even in the warmest months they don’t get hot. And this doesn’t depend on how cold a place is in the winter.

Fargo, ND, may have extremely cold winters (definitely NOT mild) but summers can still be relatively hot, with average daytime temperatures of 82 °F (28 °C). With heat waves, temperatures may climb even up to 93 °F (34 °C).

Meanwhile, San Francisco, CA, has a very mild winter climate AND a very mild summer climate. Average temperatures in SF in the summer reach about 70 °F (21 °C). Occasionally temperatures may climb higher but otherwise mild days are consistent throughout the entire summer.

Mild Climate Examples From Around the World

In my article What Country Is 20 Degrees All Year Round? I’ve listed places around the world that enjoy mild weather.

In the United States, California is the unquestionable winner when it comes to mild weather year round. You can choose from cities on the warmer side like San Diego or Chula Vista or cities on the cooler side like San Francisco or Crescent City. In between, you have temperate cities like Watsonville or Salinas.

In Europe, places that offer the most temperate climate are in Spain and Portugal. But they are primarily located on the islands, at higher elevation, in the Canary Islands for Spain and on Madeira and the Azores for Portugal.

A Mediterranean climate, particularly a warm summer one, is often a mild climate.

In otherwise tropical regions in Asia, Central America or South America, you can find mild climates at higher elevations. For example, while Panama in general is a hot country, places in the mountains (like Boquete) have a so-called “eternal spring” climate with consistently mild temperatures. There are even some destinations in Africa that offer consistent mild weather (like Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia).

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