TRUTH OR MYTH: Wearing light colored clothing in the heat is safer

Weather Education

MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — You may have heard the First Alert Storm Team remind you to wear light colored clothing in the summer to help keep you cool. But does that really make that much of a difference? We put that to the test! There were several different colored t-shirts laying out in direct sunlight. There were white, light grey, red, dark grey, navy and black t-shirts. We took the temperature of each shirt to see if shirt color matters while in the sun.

At 12 pm and the shirts had been out in the sun for just a few minutes. When they were first brought out, the temperature of each shirt was around 80 degrees. At noon, the temperature of the white shirt was 101º, the light grey was 136º, the red was 125º, the navy was 133º, the dark grey was 136º, and the black was 143º.

At 1 pm the shirts had been in the sun for about an hour. At 1 pm, the temperature of the white shirt was 108º, the light grey was 147º, the red was 138º, the navy was 150º, the dark grey was 149º, and the black was 153º.

At 2 pm the shirts had been in the sun for 2 hours. At 2 pm, the temperature of the white shirt was 111º, the light grey was 150º, the red was 139º, the navy was 154º, the dark grey was 152º, and the black was 159º.

Jason Beaman with the National Weather Service in Mobile explains that this happens because light colors reflect the heat and dark colors absorb the heat. So remember, always wear light colors to beat the heat! It makes a difference. Check out the video to watch the experiment!

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