How An Igloo Keeps You Warm

How An Igloo Keeps You Warm

[MUSIC] For thousands of years, humans, and plants
and animals long before that, have been using frozen “sky water” to keep warm. Which sort of doesn’t make sense. Because snow is cool. You might even say it’s… ice cold. YEEAAHHHHH! No one knows for sure who built the first
igloo, but with the right fit and the right physics, snow can actually warm you better
than the inside of a tauntaun. “You’ll be ok, Luke!” So, how can something cold keep you cozy? [MUSIC] The vast, frozen Arctic is one of the most
forbidding environments on our planet, yet, the Inuit have managed to live there for about
5,000 years. Out on the pack ice, winter temperatures reach
50 degrees below zero , and when it’s that cold, surviving means finding shelter. It’s not an area known for its forests,
so nomadic hunters learned to build with the only thing available: snow. Eskimo languages really do have dozens and
dozens of different words for snow, because there are a lot of different types, and the
type of snow you choose can dictate whether your igloo keeps you warm, or turns you into
a Homo sapiensicle. To understand this, we need to know a little
something about being cold. When your body temperature starts to plummet
– you’re feeling heat leave you. Cold can’t move into your body – in fact,
there is no such thing as cold. Where have I heard that before? Oh, right! Think of heat as an actual quantity of stuff:. The more you give away, the colder you feel. This trading of heat can happen three different
ways: by convection, conduction, and radiation. All three are at play in an igloo. A person inside will radiate body heat, which
moves around the igloo by convection, and is lost through the walls by conduction. This is exactly what happens in your house. Living insulation does the same thing. Fatty tissues like blubber help stop heat
transfer in whales and seals, but for animals who don’t have as much junk in the trunk,
they cover themselves in air. Sea otter fur, for example, is about a thousand
times denser than human hair. It’s snuggly stuff
“This is the softest thing I’ve ever felt in my life. You are adorable!”
…but the secret to its insulation power is in its texture. Otter fur is spiky, so it traps insulating
air molecules. And that is exactly what snowflakes do. Powdery, fresh snow can be up to 95% trapped
air. This makes it an excellent insulator, but
the same way you have to pack it in your hands to make a snowball, it isn’t dense enough
to build with. Solid ice, on the other hand, makes a good
windbreaker, but it’s too heavy to lift. Inuit hunters took the Goldilocks approach:
the secret to good igloo snow is somewhere in the middle. Traditional igloo blocks aren’t molded,
they’re cut out of the ground. That tightly-packed ground snow is dense enough
to hold up, but because it still has far more air pockets than a block of ice, it’s light,
and still a pretty good insulator. As usual, animals figured this one out long
before humans. Polar bears, groundhogs, even birds like grouse
all make snow burrows to stay warm. And even before that, plants were tucking
into snow to avoid death by freezing. During the warm months, heat energy from the
sun builds up in soil, and just like the the roof above your head, a deep covering of snow
prevents that heat from escaping onward and upward. This snowy blanket above stops ice crystals
from forming inside plant roots, and shoots, and seeds. Not freezing to death is a pretty good motivator
for any animal to get crafty, but our big primate brains took it one step further with
igloos. Their engineering maximizes warmth and stability. Cartoon igloos look like flat-bottomed half-spheres,
but in reality, they’re neither of those things! If you were to slice a real igloo in half,
you’d see a shape called a catenary. This gradually sloping shape is the same one
that would form if you held a chain from both ends and let it droop. A catenary arch distributes weight more evenly
than a half circle, without bulging or buckling. In fact it’s one of the most stable arches
in nature, so sound that we still use it today. Inside, snow houses are carved in different
levels. The hot air rises, and the cold air sinks
down into the lower part, and away from where you would eat, sleep, and chill. To boot, body heat melts the innermost layer
of the walls, strengthening the barrier between you, your airy snow-block insulation, and
the frigid great beyond. When you live in an igloo, you act as a living
furnace. Over time, the temperature in your icy abode
can hover some 40-60 degrees above the surrounding air, but bring a friend to your igloo party,
and you’ll get warmer, faster. Stay cozy, and stay curious! “Hey, you remember that thing I said about
eskimos having all those different words for snow? Well our friends from Idea Channel made a
video about that. Here’s an idea, you should go check it out. It’s pretty cool.”

100 thoughts on “How An Igloo Keeps You Warm

  1. Regarding use of the word "Eskimo" in this video: We are now aware, thanks to many polite comments from our audience, that this is viewed as a derogatory term among many native peoples of Canada, as well as in some Arctic regions. Several of our references centered on Alaskan natives, among whom this term is more commonly accepted. Additionally, we used the term in reference to native languages, which are more commonly referred to as Eskimo or Eskimo-Inuit, and not the people, but we should have been more clear and sought out another term. We apologize to those we offended, and have learned a lot. We'll do better in the future, as we always aim to do.

  2. According to Yupic Eskimos of Western Alaska, Igloos are a fake invented by a Hollywood director for an early silent film. They just laugh at stupid "gussuks" who believe they were real.

  3. I’ve got a question if the sun lights the moon and the moon is shining on us at night well then how does the sun light the rest of the world

  4. They don't people need to make fire inside them to stay alive!!!!!! It's called below zero for a reason idiots.

  5. As Indonesian,
    Snow are extremely rare XD
    Some day come Ice rain by the way
    Except you live in top of huge high mountain.

  6. "Hur En Igloo till Kall", is "How aN iGLOO TO cOOLD" in Swedish. Was the translator, or Google Translate drunk!?

    It doesn't give you an air of seriosity, exactly.

  7. I have a question when you are about to fall asleep and you feel like your falling so then you launch back up and your heart beats fast do you have a answer for that and do you know why it happens

  8. I used all the ice cubes in my freezer to try and build an igloo and got yelled at by my mom. This video is a bad influence.

  9. American have like 20 words for feces, poop, caca, sh*t, crap, …. and the list goes on and on…. like doodoo…lol

  10. What bunk. This video is just random associations. An igloo keeps you warm for these reasons: 1. It blocks the wind 2. The sleeping platform should be above the level of the door opening, heat rises so the dome captures body heat and warm breath. [So good igloos are usually dug down a couple of feet.] 3. The temperature in an igloo with a person or a candle will rise to the melting temperature of snow 0 degrees C at which point any additional heat begins to melt the interior walls. My experience is they drip. [block up part of the door, but make sure there's a small opening size of your fist high on the dome on the opposite side. You could suffocate in an igloo. And have a sheet of plastic to put over you and your sleeping bag. 90 percent of the drips in an igloo seem aimed at your forehead or an eye.) 4. Air in the snow? Okay.good point. A snow igloo is probably warmer than a solid ice one (I don't have any experience with an ice igloo). So inside an igloo no matter how cold it gets outside will be about 0 C, which is better than high winds and -50C . If you'd like to make an igloo, and I think you should, you don't need anything fancy. I made one with a machete. Watch Nanook of the North a few times to see how he did it and then find some deep snow you can cut into blocks. It'll take all day. Wear snow pants.
    Catenary? I don't think so. I'll watch Nanook again.

  11. On one winter camping trip, my class and I made quincies which are quite similar to igloos. They're shelters made from compact snow the main difference being that quisies are dug from mounds of snow (most sturdy when pilled and compacted by one's self) and igloos are constructed from blocks of compact snow. I was quite fun learning how snow can make warm shelters and how to make them.

  12. I lost few seconds when you started talking about Dense ice and light ice, etc etc. please make it pretty more simple..
    Love your videos, thou


    thank you for the amazing laughs!

  14. Question. . . . If the universe is 14 billion years old, how is it 93 billion light years wide?? Wouldn't light take 93 billion years to travel this distance… Please explain

  15. I always wondered how they keep you warm for a long time ever since I watched that kids show Pingu when I was a kid

  16. English also has dozens of words for snow.

    I used to joke that Yiddish had dozens of words for idiot, but when I did some research, English again trumps them all.

  17. I’ve always been interested in native peoples who thrive in harsh and unwelcoming environments. Nobody is as tough as the Inuit. They’re a hardy people

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