International Journal of Biometeorology

, Volume 55, Issue 4, pp 481–490 | Cite as

Determining optimal clothing ensembles based on weather forecasts, with particular reference to outdoor winter military activities

  • Marco Morabito
  • Daniela Z. Pavlinic
  • Alfonso Crisci
  • Valerio Capecchi
  • Simone Orlandini
  • Igor B. Mekjavic
Original Paper


Military and civil defense personnel are often involved in complex activities in a variety of outdoor environments. The choice of appropriate clothing ensembles represents an important strategy to establish the success of a military mission. The main aim of this study was to compare the known clothing insulation of the garment ensembles worn by soldiers during two winter outdoor field trials (hike and guard duty) with the estimated optimal clothing thermal insulations recommended to maintain thermoneutrality, assessed by using two different biometeorological procedures. The overall aim was to assess the applicability of such biometeorological procedures to weather forecast systems, thereby developing a comprehensive biometeorological tool for military operational forecast purposes. Military trials were carried out during winter 2006 in Pokljuka (Slovenia) by Slovene Armed Forces personnel. Gastrointestinal temperature, heart rate and environmental parameters were measured with portable data acquisition systems. The thermal characteristics of the clothing ensembles worn by the soldiers, namely thermal resistance, were determined with a sweating thermal manikin. Results showed that the clothing ensemble worn by the military was appropriate during guard duty but generally inappropriate during the hike. A general under-estimation of the biometeorological forecast model in predicting the optimal clothing insulation value was observed and an additional post-processing calibration might further improve forecast accuracy. This study represents the first step in the development of a comprehensive personalized biometeorological forecast system aimed at improving recommendations regarding the optimal thermal insulation of military garment ensembles for winter activities.


Clothing insulation Cold Biometeorology Forecast model 



This study was supported, in part, by Knowledge for Security and Peace grant administered by the Ministries of Defence, and of Science of the Republic of Slovenia and by the MeteoSalute Project, Regional Health System of Tuscany, Italy. The authors wish to thank Dr. R. Cioffi, Psychometrist, of the Customer Satisfaction Center (University of Siena) for his valuable support in the analyses.


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Copyright information

© ISB 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marco Morabito
    • 1
  • Daniela Z. Pavlinic
    • 2
  • Alfonso Crisci
    • 3
  • Valerio Capecchi
    • 1
  • Simone Orlandini
    • 1
  • Igor B. Mekjavic
    • 4
  1. 1.Interdepartmental Centre of BioclimatologyUniversity of FlorenceFlorenceItaly
  2. 2.BIOMED d.o.o.LjubljanaSlovenia
  3. 3.Institute of BiometeorologyNational Research CouncilFlorenceItaly
  4. 4.Department of Automation, Biocybernetics and RoboticsJosef Stefan InstituteLjubljanaSlovenia

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