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This paper presents a method of assessing the effective temperature essential for predicting the temperature acceleration of the wearout mechanisms (other than thermal fatigue) of electronic equipment. This is particularly important for equipment experiencing variable thermal conditions. The approach, based on weighting of thermal acceleration factors, leads to the Arrhenius average temperature Teff given by (4). Teff is related to wearout processes and allows one to compare predictions from the thermal design to results of accelerated testing. It has no relation to the maximum component temperature which influences functionality. The method is applicable to outside plant telecommunication equipment as well as in the automotive and aerospace industries. The effect of climate and design constraints on Teff are discussed.