Texas football field could exceed 140 degrees Saturday afternoon
While the kickoff temperature will be a sultry 100 degrees for the Tigers versus Longhorns tilt on Saturday evening, the temperature of the playing surface will be much warmer. Darrell K. Royal – Texas Memorial Stadium boasts an infilled artificial turf, which notoriously heats well beyond what is seen on thermometers.
According to research from Penn State University, artificial fields end up 35 – 55 degrees hotter than natural grass in ideal heating conditions of sunshine and low humidity. Fortunately, the 6:30pm start time will allow some time to pass from the high angle, mid-afternoon sunlight. Once shaded, the artificial field will be able to steadily cool. However, with an afternoon high temperature of 103 degrees, a conservative estimate places the field temperature over 130 degrees at kickoff.
Most artificial turf has a crumb rubber infill. Studies have shown that changes to the color of the infill or the actual material or the field fibers only result in nominal changes in field temperature. Watering the field can drop the temperature, but only but a few degrees and only temporarily. Natural grass fields, such as Tiger Stadium, do not have this problem because grass transpires, releasing water and cooling itself.
Both LSU and Texas are familiar with playing in hot weather. Living and practicing in the south through the end of summer, neither team should have a distinct edge due to weather. That is not to say, neither team will be affected by weather. Some of the heat could transfer from the field surface to the sole of the shoe. Additionally, the field heat will warm the adjacent air and could increase the risk for heat related ailments.
Hot artificial turf is not a new issue. Since the product was created, research back to the 1970s has highlighted the thermal properties of a variety of athletic surfaces.
The hot weather discussion should also serve as a reminder for those travelling to Austin to support LSU football. It is still summer and very hot temperatures are in the forecast. From sightseeing prior to on Thursday and Friday, to tailgating before the game, sunburn can occur in less than 20 minutes with the very high U.V. Index this time of year. In addition to that, heat exhaustion and heat stroke can set in just as quickly. Seek medical attention if you or somebody you know is affected. While we all enjoy a list of cool beverages, be sure water is at least a part of that list!
The WBRZ Weather Team is here for you, on every platform. Your weather updates can be found on News 2, wbrz.com, and the WBRZ WX App. on Apple and Android devices. Follow WBRZ Weather on Facebook and Twitter for even more weather updates while you are on the go.
*Field temperature estimates (~) are based off of current weather forecast and research from Penn State's Center for Sports Surface Research
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