Development and application of artificial neural network models to estimate values of a complex human thermal comfort index associated with urban heat and cool island patterns using air temperature data from a standard meteorological station
The present study deals with the development and application of artificial neural network models (ANNs) to estimate the values of a complex human thermal comfort-discomfort index associated with urban heat and cool island conditions inside various urban clusters using as only inputs air temperature data from a standard meteorological station. The index used in the study is the Physiologically Equivalent Temperature (PET) index which requires as inputs, among others, air temperature, relative humidity, wind speed, and radiation (short- and long-wave components). For the estimation of PET hourly values, ANN models were developed, appropriately trained, and tested. Model results are compared to values calculated by the PET index based on field monitoring data for various urban clusters (street, square, park, courtyard, and gallery) in the city of Athens (Greece) during an extreme hot weather summer period. For the evaluation of the predictive ability of the developed ANN models, several statistical evaluation indices were applied: the mean bias error, the root mean square error, the index of agreement, the coefficient of determination, the true predictive rate, the false alarm rate, and the Success Index. According to the results, it seems that ANNs present a remarkable ability to estimate hourly PET values within various urban clusters using only hourly values of air temperature. This is very important in cases where the human thermal comfort-discomfort conditions have to be analyzed and the only available parameter is air temperature.
KeywordsUrban microclimate Thermal sensation Thermal climate indices Physiologically Equivalent Temperature (PET) index Neural network architecture Performance criteria
The authors thank the three anonymous reviewers for helpful comments and suggestions that led to a significant improvement of the original manuscript. The authors wish to dedicate this work to the memory of their late colleagues, mentors, and friends Athanasios Paliatsos and Ioannis Ziomas who passed away recently.
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