Outdoor thermal comfort during anomalous heat at the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto, Canada

Alexandria J. Herdt, Robert D. Brown, Ian Scott-Fleming, Guofeng Cao, Melissa MacDonald, Dave Henderson, Jennifer K. Vanos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Mass sporting events in the summertime are influenced by underlying weather patterns, with high temperatures posing a risk for spectators and athletes alike. To better understand weather variations in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) during the Pan American Games in 2015 (PA15 Games), Environment and Climate Change Canada deployed a mesoscale monitoring network system of 53 weather stations. Spatial maps across the GTA demonstrate large variations by heat metric (e.g., maximum temperature, humidex, and wet bulb globe temperature), identifying Hamilton, Ontario as an area of elevated heat and humidity, and hence risk for heat-related illness. A case study of the Hamilton Soccer Center examined on-site thermal comfort during a heat event and PA15 Soccer Games, demonstrating that athletes and spectators were faced with thermal discomfort and a heightened risk of heat-related illness. Results are corroborated by First Aid and emergency response data during the events, as well as insight from personal experiences and Twitter feed. Integrating these results provides new information on potential benefits to society from utilizing mesonet systems during large-scale sporting events. Results further improve our understanding of intra-urban heat variability and heat-health burden. The benefits of utilizing more comprehensive modeling approaches for human heat stress that coincide with fine-scale weather information are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number321
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 18 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Extreme heat
  • Heat stress
  • Pan American Games
  • Solar radiation
  • Thermal comfort

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Atmospheric Science


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