Modelling skin temperature of a human exercising in an outdoor environment

J. K. Vanos, J. S. Warland, N. A. Kenny, T. J. Gillespie

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

3 Scopus citations


Skin temperature monitoring is an important component when estimating thermoregulatory responses due to heat exchange at the skin surface. The aim of this study is to improve the accuracy of mean skin temperature ( T̄sk) predictions in human thermal comfort models, specifically the COMFA (COMfort FormulA) outdoor model, in order to reduce errors in energy budget estimates associated with T̄sk. Field tests were conducted on 12 subjects performing 30 minutes of steadystate physical activity (running or cycling) on two separate occasions. The predicted thermal sensations (PTS) from the COMFA budget model using both actual (measured) and predicted (with model) T̄sk were compared at 5-minute intervals. Results indicate that the model over-predicted T̄sk throughout the exercise period. The root mean square error (RMSE) of T̄sk of subjects running was larger than cycling, and increased throughout the 30 minute exercise session; hence, the model was less able to accurately predict T̄sk as metabolic activity increased. The Spearman's correlation coefficients (rs) for actual thermal sensation (ATS) with both actual and predicted T̄sk thermal sensation scores were low, (r s=0.315 and 0.285, respectively). However, ATS votes correlated more strongly with predicted thermal sensation (PTS) scores in running tests. Added psychological and physiological variables when exercising outdoors make it inherently difficult to apply current thermal comfort (TC) models to exercising subjects. There is need for further studies regarding prediction of overall TC while exercising outdoors for use in urban design and planning, as well as adapting models to specific types of exercise.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationSustainable City VI
Subtitle of host publicationUrban Regeneration and Sustainability
Number of pages11
ISBN (Print)9781845644321
StatePublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Bioclimatic design
  • COMFA model
  • Outdoor human comfort
  • Physical activity
  • Skin temperature

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Environmental Science


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