Weather Wise Kids: Why does the sand get so hot?

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When it’s finally summertime…and finally time to head to the beach, some of us get so excited that we literally flip out!  Just like Meteorologist Ariella Scalese in the video!

But in just a short period of time, it gets so hot that it hurts to even put your feet on the sand.

Well, that’s all about the Albedo Effect.

When you look in the mirror, it’s just a reflection of you… or is it?  Well, actually it’s a reflection of light.
 
How much light is reflected depends on the object that the light hits.  Some objects absorb light and don’t bounce it back.  Most things, however, both reflect and absorb different amounts of light.
 
Albedo is the term scientists use to measure how much light is reflected back.
 
Take snow for example.  The bright sun is reflected off the snow.  This happens because snow has a high albedo.  It reflects the sunshine, and the snow stays cold instead of melting right away.
 
The opposite happens to dark asphalt.  It can get super hot in the summer… so hot that it can burn the bottom of your feet.  This is because asphalt has a low albedo.
 
Usually the darker an object is the lower the albedo it has.  That’s why we are told to wear light colored clothing in the summer.
 
While the albedo of sand is actually relatively high, it heats up as our days heat up.  
 
So before you take a step on that hot sand, it might be best to leave the sandals on.
 
 
 
 
 

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