MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - It’s summer and the heat is on across the Mid-South, but did you realize that just a simple change in clothing color could make you feel cooler when outside in the summer sun?
In the Earth’s Energy Budget, the sun will send down solar energy every day. As that sun hits objects, the energy is either absorbed by the object or reflected. This processed is called albedo.
According to the National Weather Service, albedo is reflectivity, or the fraction of radiation striking a surface that is reflected by that surface.
Light colored objects have a high albedo; that means that the object will reflect most of the sun’s rays away.
Darker colored objects have a lower albedo; that means that the object will absorb most of the sun’s rays.
Therefore, asphalt on a hot summer day is hotter than, say, the white lines of a parking space. Or why you feel cooler wearing a white shirt during the summer than a black or dark blue shirt. Or even why a white car in the summer is cooler than a black car. All this has to do with albedo.
So next time you are in your closet, think about the color of the garment, and understand that lighter colors can cool you down more than dark colors while in the summer sun.