Maintenance of stability in the human body in relation to the atmospheric environment by physiological or technological adjustments is essential for human survival in many parts of the Earth. The capability to adapt by acclimatization is limited. Various indices have been developed to assess the effects of heat and cold on human beings. Some are quite complex and include ail elements of the energy balance. They require measurements not generally ma de by meteorological services. But at the cold end the simple factors of wind chill (a combination of temperature and wind speed) or cooling power (which also includes radiative factors) and at the warm end effective temperature (a combination of temperature, humidity and sometimes wind) have proved adequate for many biometeorological purposes. These indices can be readily obtained from regular meteorological measurements or easily available equipment. Bioclimatic classifications to characterize comfort conditions at various localities or for mapping of these conditions for an area have been attempted. These are variously based on classes of atmospheric enthalpy, cooling power, or wind chill. Much work remains yet to be done to quantify health hazards caused by the atmospheric environment either as etiological parameters or as aggravators of existing pathological states.
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