Yes, calculating the temperature by counting a cricket's chirps might seem like folklore, an old wives' tale, superstition, or an urban legend. However, it is much more accurate than you might think. The relationship between cricket chirps and temperature was first studied in 1881 by Margarette Brooks. Then in 1897 (and unaware of Brooke's work) the American physicist Amos Dolbear (1837 - 1910) published a paper explaining the temperature / cricket chirp relationship and devised the following formula:

There is a small problem with that formula. When the temperature is 80℉ you will have to count 160 cricket chirps in one minute. Keeping track of that many chirps might be difficult to count so we can change that formula to:

Some people believe that the Old Farmer's Almanac uses an even more accurate formula:

Before you think that equation is just "folklore", even Scientific American has referenced that formula.

If you do attempt this temperature experiment, the reasons why your results might be inaccurate are:

  • The experiment works best with field crickets and tree crickets but there are many cricket species.

  • The chirping rate also depends upon the cricket's age.

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