The thermal environment outdoors affects human comfort and health. Mental and physical performance is reduced at high levels of air temperature being a problem especially in tropical climates. This paper deals with human comfort in the warm-humid city of Guayaquil, Ecuador. The main aim was to examine the influence of urban micrometeorological conditions on people’s subjective thermal perception and to compare it with two thermal comfort indices: the physiologically equivalent temperature (PET) and the standard effective temperature (SET*). The outdoor thermal comfort was assessed through micrometeorological measurements of air temperature, humidity, mean radiant temperature and wind speed together with a questionnaire survey consisting of 544 interviews conducted in five public places of the city during both the dry and rainy seasons. The neutral and preferred values as well as the upper comfort limits of PET and SET* were determined. For both indices, the neutral values and upper thermal comfort limits were lower during the rainy season, whereas the preferred values were higher during the rainy season. Regardless of season, the neutral values of PET and SET* are above the theoretical neutral value of each index. The results show that local people accept thermal conditions which are above acceptable comfort limits in temperate climates and that the subjective thermal perception varies within a wide range. It is clear, however, that the majority of the people in Guayaquil experience the outdoor thermal environment during daytime as too warm, and therefore, it is important to promote an urban design which creates shade and ventilation.
- Outdoor thermal comfort
- Subjective thermal comfort assessment
- Warm-humid climate