Human cold stress of strong local-wind “Hijikawa-arashi” in Japan, based on the UTCI index and thermo-physiological responses
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We investigated the cold stress caused by a strong local wind called “Hijikawa-arashi,” through in situ vital measurements and the Universal Thermal Climate Index (UTCI). This wind is a very interesting winter phenomenon, localized in an area within 1 km of the seashore in Ozu City, Ehime Prefecture in Japan. When a strong Hijikawa-arashi (HA) occurred at 14–15 m s−1, the UTCI decreased to − 30 °C along the bridge where commuting residents are the most exposed to strong and cold winds. On the bridge, most participants in our experiment felt “very cold” or “extremely cold.” The UTCI of HA can be predicted from a multiple regression equation using wind speed and air temperature. The cold HA wind is also harmful to human thermo-physiological responses. It leads to higher blood pressure and increased heart rate, both of which act as cardiovascular stress triggers. Increases of 6–10 mmHg and 3–6 bpm for every 10 °C reduction in UTCI were seen on all observational days, including HA and non-HA days. In fact, the participants’ body skin temperatures decreased by approximately 1.2 to 1.7 °C for every 10 °C reduction in UTCI. Thus, the UTCI variation due to the HA outbreak corresponded well with the cold sensation and thermo-physiological responses in humans. This result suggests that daily UTCI monitoring enables the prediction of thermo-physiological responses to the HA cold stress.
KeywordsLocal wind Hijikawa-arashi Cold stress UTCI Thermo-physiological responses
We highly appreciate the help and opportunity to conduct this study, provided by Yoshinori Shigeta of Tottori University of Environmental Studies, Shigeru Hiranuma, and Hiroyuki Iwamoto of IDEA Consultants Inc., Japan. We are grateful to all participants for their observations. This study was supported by the Wesco Scientific Promotion Foundation.
Compliance with ethical standards
All procedures performed in the studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of Okayama University of Science and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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