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The title says it all. If I'm standing in the wind and I'm wet, I feel much colder than when I'm dry. This is true no matter how warm or cold the water. Why is this?

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up vote 6 down vote accepted

Evaporation of sweat from the skin surface has a cooling effect due to the latent heat of evaporation of water (from wikipedia). Basically, the heat is transfered from your skin to the water, the water then evaporates, taking with it a bit of the energy stored in it.

Further references here

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Thank you! That was an interesting read. – bertold Nov 4 '11 at 12:30
Latent heat of evaporation refers to the energy cost of a phase transition? – isomorphismes Jun 15 '15 at 2:15

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