Everything WaterWeather

Why can I see my breath when it's really cold outside?


Bundle up and say "aaahh!" It's cold outside and your breath is making a tiny cloud in the air in front of you!

Have you ever thought about what's in your breath when you exhale? You might already know that when you breathe in, you take in oxygen and when you breathe out, you exhale carbon dioxide. But what you might not have realized before is that there's more in your breath than just the carbon dioxide there's also moisture in your breath from your mouth and lungs!

When the moisture in your breath hits cold air, something special happens: Because the cold air around you cannot hold as much water as warm air in your breath, the moisture in your breath condenses when it hits the cold air and forms into a little cloud! It doesn't happen when the air around you is warm because the warm air can hold the moisture. It's impossible to name the exact temperature at which you'll be able to see your breath, but a good estimate would be around 45 degrees Fahrenheit and below. BRRRR!


Freezing Fun!

What are some of your favorite things to do on a really cold day? Do you like to bundle up in all of your warmest clothes, and then go outside and play for a little while? If there's snow, you can sled, or make snowballs, or build a snowman! Then, when you come back inside, you can warm up with a cup of warm milk or maybe even some hot chocolate! Or do you prefer to stay inside when it's super-cold outside? You can cuddle up under a blanket and watch you favorite movie or tell stories all day long!


Forbes, Dr. Greg. Brrr Youll See Your Breath Almost Everywhere! WeatherInsightsBreathe on Cold Days. NEWTON - Ask a Scientist. Argonne National Laboratory, Division of Educational Programs