An introduction to the Universal thermal climate index (UTCI)

Krzysztof Błazejczyk, Gerd Jendritzky, Peter Bröde, Dusan Fiala, George Havenith, Yoram Epstein, Agnieszka Psikuta, Bernhard Kampmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The assessment of the thermal environment is one of the main issues in bioclimatic research, and more than 100 simple bioclimatic indices have thus far been developed to facilitate it. However, most of these indices have proved to be of limited applicability, and do not portray the actual impacts of thermal conditions on human beings. Indices derived from human heatbalance models (one- or two-node) have been found to offer a better representation of the environmental impact in question than do simple ones. Indeed, the new generation of multi-node models for human heat balance do allow full account to be taken of heat transfer and exchange, both within the human body and between the body surface and the surrounding air layer. In this paper, it is essential background information regarding the newly-developed Universal Thermal Climate Index UTCI that is presented, this in fact deriving from the Fiala multi-node model of human heatbalance. The UTCI is defined as the air temperature (Ta) of the reference condition causing the same model response as actual conditions. UTCI was developed in 2009 by virtue of international co-operation between leading experts in the areas of human thermophysiology, physiological modelling, meteorology and climatology. The necessary research for this had been conducted within the framework of a special commission of the International Society of Biometeorology (ISB) and European COST Action 730.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5-10
Number of pages6
JournalGeographia Polonica
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2013


  • Bioclimatic index
  • COST action 730
  • Human heat balance
  • International society of biometeorology
  • Multi-node model
  • UTCI


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