When it comes to which temperature measurement systems are used in the United States, there has long been a very heated debate. The large majority of the world uses the metric system, while the English system of measurement stands alone with Burma being the only other country that does not use the metric system. There are many who say that the United States should just jump on the metric system bandwagon for consistency, but there really are valid reasons for not doing so as there are some instances when Celsius is effective and there are times when Fahrenheit would be more effective. So what lies at the heart of the debate—here are some of the reasons the English system of measurement continues to be used in the United States.
Understanding the Basics of Celsius and Fahrenheit
Many people make the argument for Celsius being easier to understand than Fahrenheit largely because of the boiling, freezing, and other standard temperatures, according to eHow. With Celsius, the freezing point of water is zero degrees and the boiling point is 100 degrees, which is much easier to remember and seems to make more sense when compared with Fahrenheit’s freezing point of 32 degrees and boiling point of 212 degrees. Also, when considering human body temperatures the Celsius standard is again a nice even number with the standard being 37 degrees compared with the Fahrenheit or 98.6 degrees.
When Does Fahrenheit Make More Sense?
There is one area of temperature measurement where Fahrenheit makes far more sense than Celsius and that is with regard to weather, according to EricPinder.com. When it comes to reporting the weather, the Fahrenheit scale measures the temperature outside on a scale between zero to 100, as the temperatures rarely go above or below those numbers in many places. This makes it a more convenient reporting system, and makes temperature reporting easier. In contrast, the metric temperature system of outside temperatures ranges from negative 18 to 38 degrees on average, which can be very confusing, especially for those who are not used to the metric system of reporting. Overall, the Fahrenheit scale makes for an easier-to-understand report when it comes to weather, despite the more confusing temperatures when it comes to freezing points, boiling points, and human body temperatures.
Overall, one of the biggest drawbacks of having the two scales comes when those in the United States are traveling outside of the country because unless they work in the sciences and are used to being frequently exposed to the metric system, they are likely to be confused by weather reports in other countries. So while the standard temperature measurement system used in the United States will likely not change in the near future to the metric system, that does not mean there are not areas of science that do not require some knowledge of it. The two systems carry their own benefits and drawbacks and that is why the debate marches on, and likely will continue for many more years to come.
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Ashely is a recent college graduate with a degree in writing. She enjoys writing about anything technology related. To see more, check out her Twitter @ashelymarie1985.