Estimating the radiation absorbed by a human. Academic Article uri icon


  • The complexities of the interactions between long- and short-wave radiation fluxes and the human body make it inherently difficult to estimate precisely the total radiation absorbed (R) by a human in an outdoor environment. The purpose of this project was to assess and compare three methods to estimate the radiation absorbed by a human in an outdoor environment, and to compare the impact of applying various skin and clothing albedos (alpha ( h )) on R. Field tests were conducted under both clear and overcast skies to evaluate the performance of applying a cylindrical radiation thermometer (CRT), net radiometer, and a theoretical estimation model to predict R. Three albedos were evaluated: light (alpha ( h ) = 0.57), medium (alpha ( h ) = 0.37), and dark (alpha ( h ) = 0.21). During the sampling periods, the range of error between the methods used to estimate the radiation absorbed by a cylindrical body under clear and overcast skies ranged from 3 to 8%. Clothing and skin albedo had a substantial impact on R, with the mean change in R between the darkest and lightest albedos ranging from 115 to 157 W m( - 2) over the sampling period. Radiation is one of the most important variables to consider in outdoor thermal comfort research, as R is often the largest contributor to the human energy balance equation. The methods outlined and assessed in this study can be conveniently applied to provide reliable estimates of the radiation absorbed by a human in an outdoor environment.

published proceedings

  • Int J Biometeorol

author list (cited authors)

  • Kenny, N. A., Warland, J. S., Brown, R. D., & Gillespie, T. G.

citation count

  • 38

complete list of authors

  • Kenny, Natasha A||Warland, Jon S||Brown, Robert D||Gillespie, Terry G

publication date

  • July 2008