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Outdoor Thermal Comfort during Anomalous Heat at the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto, Canada

Department of Geosciences, Atmospheric Science Group, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX 79409, USA
Department of Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843, USA
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX 79409, USA
Department of Geosciences, Geography, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX 79409, USA
Environment and Climate Change Canada, Toronto, ON M3H 5T4, Canada
Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Atmosphere 2018, 9(8), 321;
Received: 20 June 2018 / Revised: 24 July 2018 / Accepted: 31 July 2018 / Published: 18 August 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Design and City Microclimates)
PDF [1793 KB, uploaded 19 August 2018]


Mass sporting events in the summertime are influenced by underlying weather patterns, with high temperatures posing a risk for spectators and athletes alike. To better understand weather variations in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) during the Pan American Games in 2015 (PA15 Games), Environment and Climate Change Canada deployed a mesoscale monitoring network system of 53 weather stations. Spatial maps across the GTA demonstrate large variations by heat metric (e.g., maximum temperature, humidex, and wet bulb globe temperature), identifying Hamilton, Ontario as an area of elevated heat and humidity, and hence risk for heat-related illness. A case study of the Hamilton Soccer Center examined on-site thermal comfort during a heat event and PA15 Soccer Games, demonstrating that athletes and spectators were faced with thermal discomfort and a heightened risk of heat-related illness. Results are corroborated by First Aid and emergency response data during the events, as well as insight from personal experiences and Twitter feed. Integrating these results provides new information on potential benefits to society from utilizing mesonet systems during large-scale sporting events. Results further improve our understanding of intra-urban heat variability and heat-health burden. The benefits of utilizing more comprehensive modeling approaches for human heat stress that coincide with fine-scale weather information are discussed. View Full-Text
Keywords: thermal comfort; extreme heat; Pan American Games; heat stress; solar radiation thermal comfort; extreme heat; Pan American Games; heat stress; solar radiation

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Herdt, A.J.; Brown, R.D.; Scott-Fleming, I.; Cao, G.; MacDonald, M.; Henderson, D.; Vanos, J.K. Outdoor Thermal Comfort during Anomalous Heat at the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto, Canada. Atmosphere 2018, 9, 321.

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