Clothing modulated heat stress in the context of climate change

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingPaper in conference proceeding


The increase in average global temperature and higher
frequency of heat waves predicted by the majority of
meteorological models will increase the effect of heat stress
on human beings. For specifically addressing the impact of
this environmental health risk on individuals, improved
methods including individual factors such as clothing and
metabolic rate are needed. This presentation gives an
overview of the importance of protective clothing in relation
to heat stress indices (WBGT, PHS, UTCI).
Human body heat production and heat dissipation must be
balanced. The latter becomes difficult if environmental heat
stress level is high. Clothing can protect against extreme
heat and other hazards, but it resists also heat dissipation
from the body to the environment. The efficacy of the above
heat stress indices is limited due to insufficient integration of
protective clothing and its interaction with climates. The
magnitude of evaporative heat loss hampered by clothing is
not constant in hot dry and hot humid environments. Thus,
the heat stress modulated by clothing and its interaction with
climate should be integrated into any comprehensive heat
stress assessment in the context of climate change.
Current WBGT index assumes ordinary one-layer work
clothing. Clothing adjustment factor is being introduced to
WBGT index. However, a constant clothing adjustment
factor may not work for both hot dry and hot humid climates.
PHS index does not apply to clothing insulation higher than
1.0 clo. UTCI is limited in its assessment to a fixed moderate
metabolic rate and typical clothing for urban populations. On
the warm side at air temperature about 32 to 40°C, the basic
leisure clothing insulation is only modelled to be constant at
about 0.3 clo. Therefore, the UTCI suffers similar limitations
as WBGT and PHS indices for the assessment of heat
stress when wearing protective clothing.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Other Engineering and Technologies


  • heat stress, Climate change
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInternational Society of Biometeorology
Place of PublicationDurham, UK
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Sep 3
Publication categoryResearch

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