Exploration of applicability of UTCI and thermally comfortable sun and wind conditions outdoors in a subtropical city of Hong Kong

Jianong Li, Jianlei Niu, Cheuk Ming Mak, Taiyang Huang, Yongxin Xie

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


This study conducted simultaneous physical measurements and questionnaire surveys to study the outdoor thermal comfort in the subtropical, high-density Hong Kong. With an innovative analysis method, the study reveals that mean radiant temperature (Tmrt), sun and wind desirability, and wind speed (v) were the top three factors influencing the surveyed thermal sensation vote (TSV), which was not well estimated by the Universal Thermal Climate Index (UTCI); and that UTCI underestimated the effects of v and Tmrt at higher air temperatures (Ta) but overestimated the impacts of Ta and relative humidity on TSV of subjects in Hong Kong. Accordingly, a combined sun and wind condition index (SWI) was defined to explore the combined effects of Tmrt and v on thermal comfort. Within the meteorological parameter ranges of 12.0 ≤ Tmrt ≤ 64.0 ℃, 0 < v ≤ 4.0 m/s, and 12.0 ≤ Ta ≤ 36.0 ℃, over 50% of the subjects voted comfortable within the SWI range of −0.1 to 0.2; and the SWI range of −0.3 to (−0.1) and that of 0.1 0.2 were more comfortable at Ta > 26.0 ℃ and Ta ≤ 26.0 ℃, respectively. A v-Tmrt diagram was thus constructed to indicate the comfort zones of sun and wind combinations, which can be used to estimate the comfort levels of outdoor space in the design stage.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101793
JournalSustainable Cities and Society
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2020


  • Combined sun and wind conditions index (SWI)
  • Mean radiant temperature
  • Outdoor thermal comfort
  • Thermal sensation votes
  • Universal thermal climate index (UTCI)
  • Wind speed

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Transportation

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