Dog Day

Jackie Dicola, left, of North Cape May, with dog Martha, and Connie Funk with dog Maggie, take a walk at the Cape May County Animal Shelter. The ASPCA says almost one quarter of dogs are adopted through animal shelters and humane societies.

There's nothing worse than stepping on your blacktop driveway on a hot summer day, right? Well, if it's too hot for bare feet, it's too hot for bare paws, too. 

Using just a temperature gun and the grounds at The Press building in Pleasantville, the surface temperature of the blacktop, sidewalk and grass was measured on Wednesday.

The blacktop recorded a temperature of over 145 degrees during the afternoon. That is enough to burn both your feet, as well as your pooch's paws. The black base of our staute in front was a couple of degrees below that. Meanwhile, the white sidewalk saw a drop of nearly 30 degrees! 

The reason for the swing in temperature has to do with something called albedo. Albedo is the reflective of a surface with respect to incoming radiation. Darker objects, like a driveway or many parking lots, absorb more radiation. Therefore, that heat stays within the surface, turning hotter.

Meanwhile, lightly-colored surfaces, such as a sidewalk, do a better job of reflecting radiation from the hot sun. This is not due to albedo but due to another factor called heat capacity The grass, which was the coolest of the three, holds water in the soil. This water makes its ability to heat or cool down much slower than the other objects. 

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