Summer Safety: T-Shirts vs Heat

WSAV.com NOW Weather

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — Oh boy…summer is officially here! Get ready for the heat, the humidity, and every day thunderstorms. Welcome to summer in the south!

We all know how hot it gets here, but did you know that the colors you wear can make it feel so much hotter? Today, I tested 5 different colored t-shirts to see how hot they can get in direct sunlight. There are no trees aground to offer shade to these shirts.

The colors of the t-shirts are white, blue, red, light gray, and dark gray. I also kept track of the temperature and heat index outside. I took the first temperature check at 12 pm and continued every hour through 5 pm.

TESTING T-SHIRT TEMPERATURES

12 PM TEST
WHITEBLUEREDLIGHT
GRAY
DARK
GRAY
103°122°124°125°133°
Outside Temperature: 92° Heat Index: 104°
1 PM TEST
WHITEBLUEREDLIGHT
GRAY
DARK
GRAY
100°118°125°127°153°
Outside Temperature: 94° Heat Index: 103°
2 PM TEST
WHITEBLUEREDLIGHT
GRAY
DARK
GRAY
105°123°127°127°145°
Outside Temperature: 95° Heat Index: 105°
3 PM TEST
WHITEBLUEREDLIGHT
GRAY
DARK
GRAY
115°128°138°135°152°
Outside Temperature: 96° Heat Index: 105°

While each shirt heated up to over 100 degrees in the direct sunlight in just a matter of minutes, you can see a clear difference though between the temperatures of each shirt. The dark gray shirt heated up to 150 degrees within one hour. That is a 40-50 degree between the white and blue shirt and a 70 degree difference between when the shirt first came out onto the porch. 

 This goes to show that the more light a color absorbs, the more heat it produces. But why do darker colored shirts absorb more heat? 

Science of Colors!

Each color has a different wave length and each wavelength is going to absorb or reflect the sun’s light differently than the others.  

The wavelengths of darker colors like gray will absorb the light and convert it to heat. This results in your t-shirt feeling hot in just a matter of minutes. The dark gray shirt was over 130° after just being outside for maybe 5 minutes.

The wavelengths of lighter colors like white or blue will reflect the light and won’t extremely heat up. This is why the lighter colored shirts has such a temperature difference compared to the darker shirts.

And because of this, you hear this common saying “wear light colored clothing” to help your body not overheat.  

Part Two: Shade vs Direct Sunlight ~ I’ll be testing temperatures of t-shirts in the shade and comparing the temperatures to those in direct sunlight. Can you guess which t-shirts will have higher temperatures? Check back for the upcoming story.

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