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The relationship between indoor and outdoor temperature, apparent temperature, relative humidity, and absolute humidity

Authors

  • J. L. Nguyen,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Environmental Health, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA, USA
    • J. L. Nguyen

      Department of Environmental Health

      Harvard School of Public Health

      401 Park Drive

      Boston, MA 02215 USA

      Tel.: 617-384-8753

      Fax: 617-432-6913

      e-mail: jln886@mail.harvard.edu

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  • J. Schwartz,

    1. Department of Environmental Health, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA, USA
    2. Department of Epidemiology, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA, USA
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  • D. W. Dockery

    1. Department of Environmental Health, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA, USA
    2. Department of Epidemiology, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA, USA
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Abstract

Many studies report an association between outdoor ambient weather and health. Outdoor conditions may be a poor indicator of personal exposure because people spend most of their time indoors. Few studies have examined how indoor conditions relate to outdoor ambient weather. The average indoor temperature, apparent temperature, relative humidity (RH), and absolute humidity (AH) measured in 16 homes in Greater Boston, Massachusetts, from May 2011 to April 2012 was compared to measurements taken at Boston Logan airport. The relationship between indoor and outdoor temperatures is nonlinear. At warmer outdoor temperatures, there is a strong correlation between indoor and outdoor temperature (Pearson correlation coefficient, = 0.91, slope, β = 0.41), but at cooler temperatures, the association is weak (= 0.40, β = 0.04). Results were similar for outdoor apparent temperature. The relationships were linear for RH and AH. The correlation for RH was modest (= 0.55, β = 0.39). Absolute humidity exhibited the strongest indoor-to-outdoor correlation (= 0.96, β = 0.69). Indoor and outdoor temperatures correlate well only at warmer outdoor temperatures. Outdoor RH is a poor indicator of indoor RH, while indoor AH has a strong correlation with outdoor AH year-round.

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