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《Tourism Tribune》 2015-12
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Empirical Indices Evaluating Climate Comfortableness: Review and Prospect

SUN Meishu;LI Shan;School of Geographic Sciences, East China Normal University;Key Laboratory of Geographic Information Science, Ministry of education;  
Climate comfortableness is a bioclimatic indicator evaluating people s level of physical comfortableness/dis- comfortableness within different meteorological environments. Studies on climate comfortableness degree analysis are of substantial significance to architectural design, public health,travel behavior et al., especially to the development of vacation destinations. Over the past century,more than 100 indexes have been proposed and developed to assess climate comfortableness of human beings, and they can be further classified into two types of models, namely,"empirical index/model"or"rational index/model". The former one refers to those indexes based on subjective feelings or physiological reaction considerations. Since the 1960s, empirical indexes have evolved to be a mature system and been widely used in practice. The rigorous application of the indexes requires the appropriate selection of evaluation models for calculation as well as the reasonable classification and interpretation of calculated results. However, though empirical models generated a large variety of important indexes in practice, systematic and comprehensive illustration of empirical models are still insufficient in most existing studies in China. Both applicability of model and specifically adjustment of grading standards are under- researched, which weakens rigour and practicability of climate comfortableness evaluation. Therefore, this paper presents a comprehensive review of empirical indexes for climate comfort evaluation, including its history of index development, areas of application,and more importantly, limitations and prospects. The main findings of this study include: 1) the focus of developing empirical indexes moved from multi-factors modelling to multi-models combination, which leads to the expansion of application conditions for empirical indexes. Now, empirical indexes are widely used in regional climate evaluation, environmental meteorology forecasting and urban planning and design. 2) By adding meteorological variables or extending evaluation criterion, the evolution of application conditions for empirical indexes is from"cold or warm "to"cold and warm ". However,some inherent limitations for a single empirical index(such as WEI) cannot be overcame by incorporating more meteorological variables, especially when they are applied far away from the initial environment. Therefore, the combination of"warm- environment index(such as THI)"and"coldenvironment index(such as WEI)"has become a typical method for the evaluation of climate comfortableness since the 1960 s, and at the same time, the model takes the most important four conventional meteorological parameters(air temperature, relative humidity, wind speed and solar radiation) into account. 3) In the future, there are three notable directions for the development of empirical indexes. First, the theoretical basis of empirical indexes should be strengthened by integrating heat transfer mechanisms of human body, and therefore, empirical indexes can be able to rise from"practical"up to"theoretical". Second, specific evaluation models should be developed according to various human activities to enrich the application fields for empirical indexes. Third, through empirical studies based on the classic empirical indexes, special evaluation criterions should be established contingent on different regions or human groups, strengthening the application value of empirical indexes.
【Fund】: 国家重大科学研究计划课题“气候变化下中国区域增长与公平控制”(2012CB955803);; 国家社科基金重点项目“我国反季旅游市场潜力的区域差异与开发策略研究”(12AJY008)资助~~
【CateGory Index】: P46;F590
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