What is Wet Bulb Globe Temperature (WBGT)?

Wet Bulb Globe Temperature (WBGT) is a comprehensive index designed to evaluate the impact of temperature, humidity, wind speed, and solar radiation on human health. As the primary measure used to assess potential heat hazards, WBGT is essential for a wide array of fields — including meteorology, occupational health, and athletics.

Understanding the risks associated with extreme heat is crucial for safety in many environments—from workplaces to outdoor sports. The Wet Bulb Globe Temperature (WBGT) index serves as a comprehensive measure, accounting for multiple factors like temperature, humidity, wind speed, and solar exposure, to assess “how hot it feels.” This makes WBGT a vital tool across various fields such as biometeorology, occupational health, and athletics.

The Importance of WBGT

Heat stress poses a significant health risk when our bodies accumulate more heat than they can dissipate. This can lead to severe health problems, including heat stroke and potentially fatal conditions. The WBGT index plays an essential role in mitigating these risks by informing necessary safety measures such as scheduling adequate hydration breaks and appropriately planning work-rest cycles, especially in hot and humid environments.

Development and Evolution

Initially developed in the late 1950s by the United States Marine Corps to protect trainees at Parris Island, WBGT has since become a global standard for heat safety, adopted by organizations like the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). Its evolution reflects increased understanding and application in safeguarding health against extreme heat.

The accurate measurement of WBGT involves assessing air temperature, natural wet-bulb temperature, and black globe temperature. These measurements are sensitive to various environmental factors, leading to variability across different conditions and locations. Modern advancements now include remote sensing technologies, which have enhanced the ability to estimate WBGT accurately without always needing onsite measurements, broadening its application and reliability.

For individuals responsible for managing health and safety in heat-prone environments, the WBGT index is indispensable. It offers a reliable metric to assess heat stress and aids in making informed decisions that protect against heat-related health issues. At Klimo Insights, we continue to focus on enhancing the understanding, accuracy, and practical application of WBGT, ensuring it meets the needs of a diverse range of users, from emergency planners to sports officials.

More on WBGT

  • Wet Bulb Globe Temperature (WBGT) is a comprehensive index designed to evaluate the impact of temperature, humidity, wind speed, and solar radiation on human health.

  • Forecasting Wet Bulb Globe Temperature (WBGT) is crucial yet complex. It’s all about predicting how hot it will feel, taking into account multiple factors such as humidity, wind, and sunlight.

  • This guide highlights appropriate WBGT thresholds and discusses suitable activity modifications to minimize heat stress.

More on Heat Stress

  • Heat stress occurs when the body’s internal temperature control mechanisms are overwhelmed by external environmental conditions. It is a significant safety concern, especially in hot weather or high-heat work settings.

More on Klimo

  • At Klimo Insights, we are dedicated to providing state-of-the-art heat stress forecasting and near real-time monitoring services.