Principles of the New Universal Thermal Climate Index (UTCI) and its Application to Bioclimatic Research in European Scale

Krzysztof Błażejczyk 1 , 2 , Peter Broede 3 , Dusan Fiala 4 , George Havenith 5 , Ingvar Holmér 6 , Gerd Jendritzky 7 , Bernhardt Kampmann 8  and Anna Kunert 2
  • 1 Faculty of Geography nad Regional Studies, Poland
  • 2 Institute of Geography and Spatial Organization Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw
  • 3 Leibniz Research Centre for Working Environment and Human Factors, Dortmund, Germany
  • 4 University of Stuttgart, Germany
  • 5 Loughborough University
  • 6 Lund Technical University, Sweden
  • 7 University of Freiburg, Germany
  • 8 University of Wuppertal, Germany

Abstract

During the last century about 100 indices were developed to assess influences of the atmosphere on human being. However, most of them have not close relationships with physiological reactions in man. In 1999 International Society of Biometeorology established special study group do develop new Universal Thermal Climate Index (UTCI). Since 2005 these efforts have been reinforced by the COST Action 730 (Cooperation in Science and Technical Development). In February 2009 the Action was terminated and UTCI was developed.

The new UTCI index represents air temperature of the reference condition with the same physiological response as the actual condition. The index base on Fiala model that is one of the most advanced multi-node thermophysiological models and include the capability to predict both whole body thermal effects (hypothermia and hyperthermia; heat and cold discomfort), and local effects (facial, hands and feet cooling and frostbite). The model consists of two interacting systems: the controlling active system; and the controlled passive system. The assessment scale of UTCI bases on the intensity of objective physiological reactions to environmental heat stress in wide range of weather and climates. The index can be applicable in various research, for example in weather forecasts, bioclimatological assessments, bioclimatic mapping in all scales (from micro to macro), urban design, engineering of outdoor spaces, consultancy for where to live, outdoor recreation and climatotherapy, epidemiology and climate impact research.

The paper presents thermophysiological principles of UTCI as well as some examples of its application to assess bioclimatic differentiation of Europe.

If the inline PDF is not rendering correctly, you can download the PDF file here.

  • Blażejczyk K., 1994, New climatological- and -physiological model of the human heat balance outdoor (MENEX) and its applications in bioclimatological studies in different scales, Zeszyty IGiPZ PAN, 28: 27-58.

  • Błażejczyk K., 2004, Bioklimatyczne uwarunkowania rekreacji i turystyki w Polsce (Bioclimatic principles of recreation and tourism in Poland), Prace Geograficzne, Instytut Geografii i Przestrzennego Zagospodarowania (IGiPZ) PAN, 192.

  • Fiala D., Lomas K.J., Stohrer M., 1999, A computer model of human thermoregulation for a wide range of environmental conditions: The passive system, Journal of Applied Physiology, 87 (5): 1957-1972.

  • Fiala D., Lomas K.J., Stohrer M., 2001, Computer prediction of human thermoregulatory and temperature responses to a wide range of environmental conditions. Int. J. Biometeorol., 45: 143-159.

  • Fiala D., Lomas K.J., Stohrer M., 2003, First Principles Modeling of Thermal Sensation Responses in Steady-State and Transient Conditions, ASHRAE Transactions: Research. 109, Part I, 179-186.

  • Gagge A.P., Fobelets A.P., Berglund P.E., 1986, A standard predictive index of human response to the thermal environment, ASHRAE Trans., 92, 709-731.

  • Glossary of Terms for Thermal Physiology, 2003, Journal of Thermal Biology, 28, 75-106.

  • Havenith G., 2001, An individual model of human thermoregulation for the simulation of heat stress response, Journal of Applied Physiology, 90, 1943-1954.

  • Havenith G., Nilsson H.O., 2004, Correction of clothing insulation for movement and wind effect, a meta-analysis, Eur J Appl Physiol, 92, 636-640.

  • Holmér I., Nilsson H., Havenith G., Parsons K.C., 1999, Clothing convective heat exchange. Proposal for improved representation in standards and models, Annals of Occupational Hygiene, 43 (5), 329-337.

  • Höppe P., 1984, Die Energiebilanz des Menschen, Wiss. Mitt. Meteorol. Inst. Uni München 49.

  • Huizenga C., Zhang H., Arens E., 2001, A model of human physiology and comfort for assesssing complex thermal environments, Building and Environment, 36, 691-699.

  • ISO 7933, 2004, Ergonomics of the thermal environment – Analytical determination and interpretation of heat stress using calculation of the predicted heat strain, Int. Standards Organization, Geneva.

  • ISO 9920, 2007, Ergonomics of the thermal environment – Estimation of thermal insulation and water vapour resistance of a clothing ensemble, Int. Standards Organization, Geneva.

  • ISO 11079, 2007, Ergonomics of the thermal environment – Determination and interpretation of cold stress when using required clothing insulation (IREQ) and local cooling effects, Int. Standards Organization, Geneva.

  • Jendritzky G., Maarouf A., Fiala D., Staiger H., 2002, An Update on the Development of a Universal Thermal Climate Index, 15th Conf. Biomet. Aerobiol and 16th ICB02, 27 Oct – 1 Nov 2002, Kansas City, AMS, 129-133.

  • Jendritzky G., Havenith G., Weihs P., Batchvarova E. (eds.), 2009, Towards a Universal Thermal Climate Index UTCI for assessing the thermal environment of the human being, Final Report COST Action 730.

  • Kampmann B., Broede P., Havenith G., Jendritzky G., 2008, Der Entwicklungsstand des klimatischen Belastungs-Index UTCI (Universal Thermal Climate Index), [in:] Gesellschaft für Arbeitswissenschaft, Produkt- und Produktions-Ergonomie – Aufgabe für Entwickler und Planer, 54. Kongress der Gesellschaft für Arbeitswissenschaft, Dortmund: GfA-Press, 243-246.

  • Parsons K.C., 2003, Human thermal environments: the effects of hot, moderate, and cold environments on human health, comfort and performance, Taylor & Francis, London, New York.

  • Pickup J., de Dear R., 2000, An Outdoor Thermal Comfort Index (OUT_SET*) – Part I - The Model and its Assumptions, [in:] de Dear R., Kalma J., Oke T., Auliciems A. (eds.), Biometeorology and Urban Climatology at the Turn of the Millenium. Selected Papers from the Conference ICB-ICUC’99 (Sydney, 8-12 Nov. 1999), WMO, Geneva, WCASP-50, 279-283

  • Stolwijk J.A.J., 1971, A mathematical model of physiological temperature regulation in man. NASA contractor report, NASA CR-1855, Washington DC.

  • Tanabe S.I., Kobayashi K., Nakano J., Ozeki Y., Konishi M., 2002, Evaluation of thermal comfort using combined multi-node thermoregulation (65MN) and radiation models and computational fluid dynamics (CFD), Energy and Buildings, 34, 637-646.

  • Wissler E.H., 1985, Mathematical simulation of human thermal behavior using whole body models, [in:] Shitzer A., Eberhart R.C. (eds.) Heat transfer in medicine and biology – analysis and applications, Plenum Press, New York and London: 325-373.

OPEN ACCESS

Journal + Issues

Search