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Cars at 80 degrees and playgrounds at 65: discover the extreme temperatures that surround you

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Everything ready to go outside and a look at the phone tells us that it was 38 degrees outside. Thinking that this is the temperature we will be exposed to when we leave the house at 5 p.m. is an easy mistake to make. The sidewalk or asphalt that is walked on at this time radiates heat of more than 65 degrees. The dashboard or body of a dark vehicle parked in the sun will certainly exceed 80 degrees (see methodology). Knowing how heat behaves can be vital, especially for workers who spend hours outdoors. Or for children and the elderly, people who are more vulnerable to a body temperature that is too high, known as hyperthermia.


The sun’s rays penetrate the air, but do not heat it up.

It is the surfaces that absorb and store solar energy.

The ground radiates this stored heat and warms the air.

Heat emitted from the ground is greater near the surface, making children and pets more exposed.

at 50cm high the temperature can reach 50 degrees

Dogs can burn themselves on the pads

The ground radiates the heat accumulated during the day and warms the air.

It is the surfaces that absorb and store solar energy.

The sun’s rays penetrate the air, but do not heat it up.

Heat emitted from the ground is greater near the surface, making children and pets more exposed.

at 50cm high the temperature can reach 50 degrees

Dogs can burn themselves on the pads

The ground radiates the heat accumulated during the day and warms the air.

It is the surfaces that absorb and store solar energy.

The sun’s rays penetrate the air, but do not heat it up.

Heat emitted from the ground is greater near the surface, making children and pets more exposed.

at 50cm high the temperature can reach 50 degrees

Dogs can burn themselves on the pads

The heat doesn’t come from above, it comes from below. “The sun doesn’t warm the air, it warms the ground,” says Benito Fuentes, meteorologist at the State Meteorological Agency (Aemet). Atmospheric air is traversed by the sun’s rays, a property known as diathermy. It’s the surfaces that warm it up. The air is warmer near the ground or over surfaces that absorb a lot of heat, like plastic or asphalt. And colder at higher altitudes or over the sea or the grass.

A temperature reading taken at a children’s park in the capital during Spain’s last heat wave shows very high readings on the metal, plastic and wooden surfaces of attractions designed for children under 10 years old. The data was collected when the thermometers read 38 degrees at five in the afternoon at the hottest time of the day.


plastic slide

59°

Temperatures measured during the second wave

from Heat July 17, 2022 at 5:00 p.m

Temperatures measured during the second heat wave. July 17, 2022 at 5:00 p.m

Temperatures measured during the second heat wave. July 17, 2022 at 5:00 p.m

The danger of cars in the sun

The real danger is in the cars. A study led by University of California GP Jennifer K. Vanos estimated that the body temperature of a two-year-old trapped in a car in a 41-degree temperature for an hour warms to 39.7 degrees Celsius. It is a critical temperature for a child that would result in death if continued exposure to heat. Carelessness by parents who leave their children in cars causes 37 deaths in the United States each year.


A child’s body temperature

would rise 3 degrees in an hour

A child locked in a car in the sun would experience a rise in body temperature of up to three degrees in an hour. Any greater restriction would result in death.

Temperatures measured from 13.10 to 14.10

on June 25, 2017

A child’s body temperature would rise 3 degrees in an hour

A child locked in a car in the sun would experience a rise in body temperature of up to three degrees in an hour. Any greater restriction would result in death.

Temperatures were measured on June 25, 2017 from 1:10 p.m. to 2:10 p.m

A child’s body temperature would rise 3 degrees in an hour

A child locked in a car in the sun would experience a rise in body temperature of up to three degrees in an hour. Any greater restriction would result in death.

Temperatures were measured on June 25, 2017 from 1:10 p.m. to 2:10 p.m

Direct sunlight was decisive for the study. The authors also took measurements with the vehicle in the shade and temperatures were much lower. The air in the car increased by only one degree. Compared to the values ​​​​measured in the sun, a difference of more than 30 degrees was measured on the dashboard and 15 degrees on the seats.

The color of the vehicles also affects the temperature that the body and interior of the car can reach. Aemet researcher and physicist Juan Jesús González Alemán explains: “Light colors reflect heat, and that’s like a barrier against the sun. These colors limit the heat absorbed by the materials.” These are the temperatures recorded by differently colored vehicles on one of the hottest days of the second heat wave that hit Spain this July.


Under the same conditions, the black car backed up 25 degrees more as a white one.

Temperatures measured at 17:00 in three vehicles exposed to the sun all day.

Temperatures measured at 17:00 in three vehicles exposed to the sun all day.

Under the same conditions, the black car backed up 25 degrees more as a white one.

Temperatures measured at 17:00 in three vehicles exposed to the sun all day.

Under the same conditions, the black car backed up 25 degrees more as a white one.

heat-related deaths

Not only extreme situations like children in closed cars have to be avoided. Heat is directly or indirectly responsible for hundreds of deaths during the summer months. Between July 10 and 18, the heat wave left a tally of 863 temperature-related deaths, according to estimates by the Carlos III Institute’s Daily All-Cause Mortality Monitoring Board (Momo), a calculation based on the historical series of mortality and temperature.


Fatalities from overheating

second heat wave

July 2022

Fatalities from overheating

second heat wave

July 2022

While not all of these high temperature deaths are due to heat stroke, they do give some idea of ​​the magnitude of the problem and underscore the importance of understanding how heat behaves and how it affects the human body.

Why are maximum temperatures recorded in the afternoon?

Thinking that maximum temperatures occur around midday, when the sun is at its highest and the rays are more intense, is another misconception that can lead to the wrong timing of a particular outdoor activity becomes. “The ground needs time to absorb the solar radiation, it is not an immediate effect,” indicates meteorologist González Alemán and continues: “The maximum heat emitted by the ground, which in turn warms the air, occurs around four o’clock in the evening. when the heat given off is greater than the heat absorbed.


solar power

absorbed

on the ground

delivered energy

on the ground

Source: Meteorologist Juan Jesús González Alemán, via Twitter

solar power

absorbed

on the ground

delivered energy

on the ground

Source: Meteorologist Juan Jesús González Alemán, via Twitter

credits

development Jacob Vicente Lopez

edition Javier Galan

methodology

Temperatures collected in this report were taken in Madrid on July 17, 2022 at 17:00. A was used Infrared digital thermometer industrially suitable for measuring temperatures on surfaces.

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Source elpais.com

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