A simple three-cylinder radiometer and low-speed anemometer to characterize human extreme heat exposure

Konrad Rykaczewski, Ankit Joshi, Shri H. Viswanathan, Sai S. Guddanti, Kambiz Sadeghi, Mahima Gupta, Ankush K. Jaiswal, Krishna Kompally, Gokul Pathikonda, Riley Barlett, Jennifer K. Vanos, Ariane Middel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


As populations and temperatures of urban areas swell, more people face extreme heat and are at increasing risk of adverse health outcomes. Radiation accounts for much of human heat exposure but is rarely used as heat metric due to a lack of cost-effective and accurate sensors. To this end, we fuse the concepts of a three-globe radiometer-anemometer with a cylindrical human body shape representation, which is more realistic than a spherical representation. Using cost-effective and readily available materials, we fabricated two combinations of three cylinders with varying surface properties. These simple devices measure the convection coefficient and the shortwave and longwave radiative fluxes. We tested the devices in a wind tunnel and at fourteen outdoor sites during July 2023’s record-setting heat wave in Tempe, Arizona. The average difference between pedestrian-level mean radiant temperature (MRT) measured using research-grade 3-way net radiometers and the three-cylinder setup was 0.4 ± 3.0 °C (± 1 SD). At most, we observed a 10 °C MRT difference on a white roof site with extreme MRT values (70 °C to 80 °C), which will be addressed through discussed design changes to the system. The measured heat transfer coefficient can be used to calculate wind speed below 2 m·s−1; thus, the three cylinders combined also serve as a low-speed anemometer. The novel setup could be used in affordable biometeorological stations and deployed across urban landscapes to build human-relevant heat sensing networks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalInternational journal of biometeorology
StateAccepted/In press - 2024


  • Absorbed radiation
  • Cylindrical radiation thermometer
  • Extreme heat
  • Globe thermometer
  • Mean radiant temperature
  • Radiation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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