Correcting the Error in Measuring Radiation Received by a Person: Introducing Cylindrical Radiometers Academic Article uri icon


  • Most human energy budget models consider a person to be approximately cylindrical in shape when estimating or measuring the amount of radiation that they receive in a given environment. Yet, the most commonly used instrument for measuring the amount of radiation received by a person is the globe thermometer. The spherical shape of this instrument was designed to be used indoors where radiation is received approximately equally from all directions. But in outdoor environments, radiation can be strongly directional, making the sphere an inappropriate shape. The international standard for measuring radiation received by a person, the Integral Radiation Measurement (IRM) method, yields a measure of the Mean Radiant Temperature (Tmrt). This method uses radiometers oriented in the four cardinal directions, plus up and down. However, this setup essentially estimates the amount of energy received by a square peg, not a cylinder. This paper identifies the errors introduced by both the sphere and the peg, and introduces a set of two new instrument that can be used to directly measure the amount of radiation received by a vertical cylinder in outdoor environments. The Cylindrical Pyranometer measures the amount of solar radiation received by a vertical cylinder, and the Cylindrical Pyrgeometer measures the amount of terrestrial radiation received. While the globe thermometer is still valid for use in indoor environments, these two new instruments should become the standard for measuring radiation received by people in outdoor environments.

author list (cited authors)

  • Brown, R. D.

citation count

  • 3

publication date

  • November 2019