A dynamic model of facial cooling was developed in conjunction with the release of the new wind chill temperature (WCT) index, whereby the WCT provides wind chill estimates based on steady-state considerations and the dynamic model can be used to predict the rate of facial cooling and particularly the onset of freezing. In the present study, the dynamic model is applied to various combinations of air temperature and wind speed, and predictions of the resultant steady-state cheek skin temperatures are tabulated. Superimposed on these tables are times to a cheek skin temperature of 10°C, which has been reported as painful, and times to freezing. For combinations of air temperature and wind speed that result in the same final steady-state cheek temperature or the same WCT, the initial rate of change of skin temperature is higher for those combinations having higher wind speeds. This suggests that during short exposures, high winds combined with low temperatures might be perceived as more stressful than light winds with lower temperatures that result in the same “wind chill.” This paper also discloses the paradox that individuals having a low cheek thermal resistance are predicted to experience a more severe WCT, but be at less risk of cooling injury than individuals with higher thermal resistances. The advantages of cooling- time predictions using the dynamic model are discussed with the recommendation/conclusion that safe exposure limits are more meaningful and less ambiguous than the reporting of the WCT.

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Footnotes

Human Protection and Performance, Defense Research and Development Canada, Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada