Any temperature below zero evokes images of extreme discomfort. Likewise, any day over 100 is certainly a scorcher. These two benchmarks were somewhat arbitrarily chosen by Gabriel Fahrenheit in 1724 when he introduced what is now known as the Fahrenheit temperature scale. A German, Fahrenheit put zero and 100 degrees at either end of what he considered standard weather extremes. This is about right for the climate of Western Europe. However, we tend to get a little more extreme here in the Northern Plains.

For our climate, it might have been more appropriate to have placed the zero mark at what is now around 30 below, which would have changed the freezing and boiling temperature marks. Of course, virtually the rest of the world now uses the scientific Celsius temperature scale, which places zero and 100 at the freezing and boiling points of water (at Standard Pressure) and so takes the human element out of the scale entirely.

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