International Journal of Biometeorology

, Volume 56, Issue 1, pp 21–32 | Cite as

Thermal comfort modelling of body temperature and psychological variations of a human exercising in an outdoor environment

  • Jennifer K. VanosEmail author
  • Jon S. Warland
  • Terry J. Gillespie
  • Natasha A. Kenny
Original Paper


Human thermal comfort assessments pertaining to exercise while in outdoor environments can improve urban and recreational planning. The current study applied a simple four-segment skin temperature approach to the COMFA (COMfort FormulA) outdoor energy balance model. Comparative results of measured mean skin temperature (\( \mathop{{\bar{T}}}\nolimits_{{Msk}} \)) with predicted \( \mathop{{\bar{T}}}\nolimits_{{sk}} \) indicate that the model accurately predicted \( \mathop{{\bar{T}}}\nolimits_{{sk}} \), showing significantly strong agreement (r = 0.859, P < 0.01) during outdoor exercise (cycling and running). The combined 5-min mean variation of the \( \mathop{{\bar{T}}}\nolimits_{{sk}} \) RMSE was 1.5°C, with separate cycling and running giving RMSE of 1.4°C and 1.6°C, respectively, and no significant difference in residuals. Subjects’ actual thermal sensation (ATS) votes displayed significant strong rank correlation with budget scores calculated using both measured and predicted \( \mathop{{\bar{T}}}\nolimits_{{sk}} \) (r s  = 0.507 and 0.517, respectively, P < 0.01). These results show improved predictive strength of ATS of subjects as compared to the original and updated COMFA models. This psychological improvement, plus \( \mathop{{\bar{T}}}\nolimits_{{sk}} \) and T c validations, enables better application to a variety of outdoor spaces. This model can be used in future research studying linkages between thermal discomfort, subsequent decreases in physical activity, and negative health trends.


Human comfort Skin temperature Bioclimatic urban design Heat stress COMFA model Physical activity 


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Copyright information

© ISB 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jennifer K. Vanos
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jon S. Warland
    • 1
  • Terry J. Gillespie
    • 1
  • Natasha A. Kenny
    • 2
  1. 1.School of Environmental SciencesUniversity of GuelphGuelphCanada
  2. 2.Teaching Support ServicesUniversity of GuelphGuelphCanada

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