International Journal of Biometeorology

, Volume 59, Issue 5, pp 503–515 | Cite as

Outdoor thermal physiology along human pathways: a study using a wearable measurement system

  • Makoto Nakayoshi
  • Manabu Kanda
  • Rui Shi
  • Richard de Dear
Original Paper


An outdoor summer study on thermal physiology along subjects’ pathways was conducted in a Japanese city using a unique wearable measurement system that measures all the relevant thermal variables: ambient temperature, humidity, wind speed (U) and short/long-wave radiation (S and L), along with some physio-psychological parameters: skin temperature (T skin), pulse rate, subjective thermal sensation and state of body motion. U, S and L were measured using a globe anemo-radiometer adapted use with pedestrian subjects. The subjects were 26 healthy Japanese adults (14 males, 12 females) ranging from 23 to 74 years in age. Each subject wore a set of instruments that recorded individual microclimate and physiological responses along a designated pedestrian route that traversed various urban textures. The subjects experienced varying thermal environments that could not be represented by fixed-point routine observational data. S fluctuated significantly reflecting the mixture of sunlit/shade distributions within complex urban morphology. U was generally low within urban canyons due to drag by urban obstacles such as buildings but the subjects’ movements enhanced convective heat exchanges with the atmosphere, leading to a drop in T skin. The amount of sweating increased as standard effective temperature (SET*) increased. A clear dependence of sweating on gender and body size was found; males sweated more than females; overweight subjects sweated more than standard/underweight subjects. T skin had a linear relationship with SET* and a similarly clear dependence on gender and body size differences. T skin of the higher-sweating groups was lower than that of the lower-sweating groups, reflecting differences in evaporative cooling by perspiration.


Mobile observation Globe thermometer Outdoor thermal comfort Outdoor thermal physiology Mean radiant temperature Sweat rate 



This research was financially supported by the MEXT/JSPS KAKENHI Grant Number 227335 (Grant-in-Aid for JSPS Fellows) and the Research Program on Climate Change Adaptation (RECCA) from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, Japan. The research group also extends its appreciation to city employees in the Tajimi municipal government.


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Copyright information

© ISB 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Makoto Nakayoshi
    • 1
  • Manabu Kanda
    • 2
  • Rui Shi
    • 2
  • Richard de Dear
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Civil EngineeringTokyo University of ScienceNoda cityJapan
  2. 2.Department of International Development EngineeringTokyo Institute of TechnologyTokyoJapan
  3. 3.Faculty of Architecture, Design and PlanningThe University of SydneyNew South WalesAustralia

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