Meaningful wind chill indicators derived from heat transfer principles

Neima Brauner*, M. Shacham

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The wind chill index (WCI) and the more widely used wind chill equivalent temperature represent an attempt to combine several weather-related variables (temperature, wind velocity and solar radiation) into a single index which can indicate human comfort. Since its introduction in 1945, the WCI has been criticized mainly on the ground that the underlying model does not comply with modern heat transfer theory. In spite of that, the WCI, “calibrated” to human comfort, has proven to be successful in predicting discomfort and tolerance of man to the cold. Nevertheless, neither the WCI nor the wind chill equivalent temperature can be actually measured and, therefore, without the additional ‘calibration’ they are meaningless. In this study we have shown that the WCI represents the instantaneous rate of heat loss from bare skin at the moment of exposure to the cold, and as such, it correlates reasonably well with measurable variables that represent a feeling of cold. Two new wind chill indicators have been introduced: exposed skin temperature and maximum exposure time. These indicators yield more information than the WCI provides, are measurable, have physical meaning and are based on established heat transfer principles.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)46-52
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Biometeorology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1995


  • Exposed skin temperature
  • Maximum exposure time for bare skin
  • Tolerance of cold
  • Wind chill equivalent temperature
  • Wind chill index


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