University of Oulu

Ryti, N.R.I., Korpelainen, A., Seppänen, O. et al. Paradoxical home temperatures during cold weather: a proof-of-concept study. Int J Biometeorol 64, 2065–2076 (2020).

Paradoxical home temperatures during cold weather : a proof-of-concept study

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Author: Ryti, Niilo R. I.1,2; Korpelainen, Anton1,2; Seppänen, Olli3;
Organizations: 1Center for Environmental and Respiratory Health Research (CERH), Faculty of Medicine, University of Oulu, PO Box 5000, FI-90014, Oulu, Finland
2Medical Research Center Oulu, Oulu University Hospital and University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
3FINVAC, Helsinki, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.6 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Springer Nature, 2020
Publish Date: 2021-01-19


There is substantial epidemiological evidence on the associations between cold weather and adverse health effects. Meteorological alarm systems are being developed globally, and generalized protective advice is given to the public based on outdoor exposure parameters. It is not clear how these shared outdoor exposure parameters relate to the individual-level thermal exposure indoors, where the majority of time is spent. We hypothesized a priori that there are opposite correlations between indoor and outdoor temperatures in residential apartments. Apartments were classified into 3 categories according to their response to declining outdoor temperature: under-controlled apartments cool down, controlled apartments maintain constant indoor temperature level, and over-controlled apartments warm up. Outdoor and indoor temperatures were measured in 30-min intervals in 417 residential apartments in 14 buildings in Kotka, Finland, between February and April 2018 with outdoor temperatures ranging from − 20.4 °C to + 14.0 °C. Different apartment types were present in all buildings. Floor and orientation did not explain the divergence. Indoor temperatures below the limit value + 20 °C by building code occurred in 26.2%, 7.9%, and 23.6% of the under-controlled, controlled, and over-controlled apartments, some in conjunction with increasing outdoor temperatures. Indoor temperatures above the limit + 25 °C occurred but were more rare. This proof-of-concept study demonstrates that while the home environment may be a source of thermal stress during cold weather, generalized advice for adjusting the heating may lead to paradoxical exposures in some cases. More elaborate conceptualizations of everyday thermal exposures are needed to safely reduce weather-related health risks using shared meteorological alarm systems.

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Series: International journal of biometeorology
ISSN: 0020-7128
ISSN-E: 1432-1254
ISSN-L: 0020-7128
Volume: 64
Issue: 12
Pages: 2065 - 2076
DOI: 10.1007/s00484-020-01998-7
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 3142 Public health care science, environmental and occupational health
Funding: The study was funded by European Commission DG ECHO Grant Number 783180. The funders had no role in study design, hypothesis setting, analyses, or interpretation of the results. Open access funding provided by University of Oulu including Oulu University Hospital.
Copyright information: © The Author(s) 2020. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit