First Alert Weather Academy: Hot sand at the beach

First Alert Weather Academy: Hot sand at the beach

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Summer is here and many of us will be heading to the beach!

It's a great place to have fun and relax and cool off by swimming in the ocean. But watch out! Before you get to the water, you'll have to walk through the sand. The sand may be very hot, and it could burn your feet!

Let's talk about why that happens. Now that summer is here our sun angle is high in the sky. This allows us to receive more direct incoming solar radiation or sunlight.

Not all the sunlight gets absorbed into the ground.

All materials will absorb some amount of sunlight and reflect the rest giving them various ranges of Albedo. Albedo is defined as the amount of sunlight that is reflected from the Earth's surface. Albedo values range from 0 to 1. The lower numbers absorb more sunlight while higher numbers reflect more sunlight. Darker colors have a lower albedo than light colors.

This is why we say to wear light colored clothes when it's hot outside.

As you can see, sand has an albedo from 0.20 to 0.45 depending on exact sand color and how wet the sand is. So, the temperature of the sand will be coolest in the morning and evening and at its hottest during the afternoon with temps possibly over 120º!

The best thing to do if you encounter very hot sand is to put on shoes or sandals to protect your feet. You could also dig your feet deeper into the sand which will expose the cooler sand underneath. And lastly you could just make a run for the harder/wetter sand closer to the water. So, the next time you’re at the beach remember to protect your feet while you look for the perfect spot.

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