I am designing a world with extreme weather, which uses human survivability as a measure of time. I've equated something close to an hour for the time I am using, for simplicity's sake, but this poses a significant problem in terms of just how violent these conditions need to be. I'm not all that intelligent with erosion and bone density and it's a pretty specific thing to ask. So I'm asking here to get an answer. Additionally, how long would - say - a sheet of Tungsten and an average granite mesa last in such conditions?
The problem here is that in order for an abrasive substance to quickly damage an object, it has to be moving at high speed relative to that object. Which is a problem because a human body will simply be blown over once the wind speed is over about 20 m/s and potentially picked up and blown away at 30-40 m/s (as per this Physics SE question). This limits the relative speed of the abrasive particles to <30 m/s with respect to the human body, which simply isn't enough to massively damage the soft tissue over the course of an hour, let alone abrade away the bone.
As per this XKCD What If, humans can survive brief exposures to 500 mph (approximately 800 km/hr) winds when ejecting from aircraft, although the link lacks data on ejecting into a dense sandstorm.
Note that "human survivability" is generally defined as "still possessing life signs" rather than "entire human body has been reduced to sand-sized particles". Hurricane-strength winds or even lesser storms can kill humans by either smashing objects into a human body or propelling a human body into a relatively immovable object. Having the survival scale as "mean time before lethal wind-driven impact" would be a useful measure and drop rapidly to only a few seconds as winds pass the point at which even a heavy person will be blown off their feet.
I wonder how exactly would you implementing Human Survivability as time measuring system.
Would each and every situation measure time in different units? In desert would they be measuring with “Sandstorm Units” and in Artic with “Frostbite unit”. What about bullet shots which possibly kill in fraction of seconds when placed right. Knife stabs, Sword Slash, Infections, Diseases etc?
Time is an important measurement. You can get by vague estimations in daily life. But for traders, navigators, armies, explorers, adventures and many more, inaccuracy of mere minutes to an hour can cost profits, conquests or even life.
Also even in exactly same situation, each human last longer, so which one is gonna be the standard. And how exactly are people gonna relate to the time measurement if they haven’t seen a human die in time unit scenario.
Here, with pendulum clock, you have seen how long it takes for it to swing, and know the feel of a second, while hours being estimated from daylight and sun.
Also, time measuring devices like clocks and watches. Here, we have used sun, pendulum oscillation, spring oscillation, atomic oscillations etc to measure and define time. How exactly could human survivability be measured? You can’t exactly use seconds or hour of our world, or any time unit for that matter, since you don’t have any other units besides Human Life.
So, you should, firstly, clarify or rethink your time measuring system , before moving on to sandpapering humans.
Q: I am designing a world with extreme weather, which uses human survivability as a measure of time.
Dig them in
Suppose this wind is constant and you have many thousands of prisoners you can use for 24/7 time measurement. Dig a hole, put them in with only their head sticking out.
How long it would take.. difficult to determine. On your planet, each subsequent hour would be defined as the time it will take for the current prisoner to die. As prisoners differ, the hours would vary as well !
(don't try this at home)