Impact of wind turbulence on thermal perception in the urban microclimate

Yichen Yu, Richard de Dear, Kapil Chauhan, Jianlei Niu

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Ongoing urbanization has led to complexities in the urban terrain, increasing roughness length within the atmospheric surface layer, and introduced highly turbulent wind flow at pedestrian height. This research aims to explicitly examine the effect of wind flow turbulence on thermal perception under outdoor conditions. A wind tunnel with passive grid was used to introduce turbulence into simulated wind conditions. Thermal physiological (skin temperature) and perceptual (questionnaire) responses were collected from 20 college-age subjects during the exposures to various simulated urban wind conditions. Results confirm that increased turbulence intensity enhances perceived coolness by reducing the skin temperature. We updated the convective heat transfer coefficient in a numerical skin thermoreceptor model and also Gagge's two-node thermophysiological model so that they both reflect more accurately the effects of turbulence intensity on skin temperature. Skin temperatures simulated with the modified models were in good agreement with experimental observations, and corrected the un-modified model's 30% and 50% underestimation of mean skin temperature decrement for standing and cycling conditions respectively. These findings contribute to the broader goal of a thermal comfort model for application to urban microclimate.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104714
JournalJournal of Wind Engineering and Industrial Aerodynamics
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2021


  • Human subject experiment
  • Outdoor thermal comfort
  • Turbulence intensity
  • Urban microclimate
  • Wind

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Mechanical Engineering


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