Can I use 気温 and 温度 when asking for the weather temperature? Both terms indicate temperature. Which one is more commonly used?

3 Answers 3


Though 温度 is a generic word for temperature, we prefer the specific 気温 "air temperature" everyday when we mention the weather, in conversation or in forecast. Same for 水温 of water, 体温 of body, 室温 of room etc. Especially, it'd almost sound like a joke if you described someone 温度が低い instead of 体温が低い (a languid person??).

In my impression, 温度 is only preferred when it would otherwise make a redundant expression (*食塩水の水温) or the object has no convenient compound in the form of ○温.


温度 is a more general term for temperature, whereas 気温 is the atmospheric temperature, specifically.

  • Any suggestion/comment from the downvoters as for how to improve my answer? thanks!
    – jarmanso7
    Commented Oct 5, 2019 at 17:08
  • 2
    温度 is a more general term for temperature, whereas 気温 is the atmospheric temperature, <-- I agree with you on this part, but... Expect to see the latter in more technical or scientific sets <-- ここがちょっと… We use 気温 in daily conversation, too, and 温度 in technical/scientific situations, too. どちらがより technical/scientificというわけではなく、使う対象・使い方が違うのかな、と。例えば天気予報でも、「大気の温度」「室内の温度」「温度差」「体感温度」とか出てくるし。(BTW, I'm not the downvoter.. actually I'm the upvoter)
    – chocolate
    Commented Oct 6, 2019 at 1:38
  • Thank you very much. I removed the second part.
    – jarmanso7
    Commented Oct 6, 2019 at 10:27

気象{きしょう}庁{ちょう} : "Japan Meteorological Agency defines「気温」as


I could not find the original page in the site, but searching the definition of temperature on the site gives this piece of pdf : Chapter 2 Measurement of Temperature. It explains,

2.1 Definition and units

Heat balance difference of atmosphere between regions creates temperature distribution. This temperature distribution generates wind current along with cloud and rainfall phenomena. Thus, atmospheric temperature is one of the most important meteorological elements as well as wind and precipitation. WMO recommends to measure atmospheric temperature at the height from 1.25 to 2m above ground at a representative location of region, as standard.

So, it seems 気象{きしょう}庁{ちょう} follows the guideline of World Meteorological Organization: "WMO".

気象{きしょう}庁{ちょう} uses the system of「アメダス(AMeDAS)」: "Automated Meteorological Data Acquisition System" to monitor precipitation, wind direction/speed, temperature and sunshine duration, such as the following image :

enter image description here

And, according to 「気温について」, the temperature we are knowing should be

Q. 〇〇時の気温は、〇〇時の瞬間の気温ですか?

A. 〇〇時の前1分間の平均気温です。例えば、「12時の気温」として表示されている気温は、11時59分から12時00分に観測された気温の平均です。

The temperature has displayed at the time of 〇〇 is measured by the average temperature monitored during last one minute.

So, all in all 「気温{きおん}」is measured by the system like above.

Things which are difficult to check the temperature by the system such as temperature of oil to fry, checking the temperature of water in your bath is described by 温度{おんど} .

室温{しつおん}, which is used in setting the temperature of air conditioner, is bit subtle. By definition, it can be a part of 気温{きおん} according to this site. However it is saying "indoor temperature". Whereas, 気温{きおん} is normally used to describe "outside temperature". So, it should be separable.

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