CALHOUN, Georgia - With the effects of the Polar Vortex barely in our rearview mirror, it can be difficult to call to mind what the heat will be like on the road ahead for the summer of 2014.
The heat can take its toll, particularly on athletes. With the growth of synthetic turf fields, the heat conditions are a growing concern among athletic programs around the country.
Last fall, Shaw Sports Turf introduced HydroChill, an evaporative cooling technology designed to reduce temperatures on synthetic playing surfaces to provide more comfort, and safer conditions, to athletes. The technology is a result of three years of development and testing, not only in the lab, but in real-world field applications throughout the United States.
Sweating is a natural means of thermoregulation called evaporative cooling. Evaporation of moisture from the skin’s surface has a cooling effect. Similarly, HydroChill has been shown to cool synthetic turf surfaces by working on the same principle. As the turf surface is heated by solar radiation, moisture stored in the HydroChill turf is released. Evaporating moisture removes heat, leaving a cooler, more comfortable surface for the players.
Ambient temperature outside doesn’t necessarily dictate surface temperature. The solar radiation time period, sun’s angle, cloud cover, wind and other elements all contribute to the temperature of the surface. Areas one wouldn’t normally consider as being hot can be greatly affected when it comes to temperatures on playing surfaces.
HydroChill provides maximum benefit when the sun is nearest the Earth. During the summer months in the U.S., the sun is positioned overhead causing surfaces to absorb more energy, resulting in hotter temperatures. The rotation of the Earth is also responsible for hourly variations in sunlight, thus making HydroChill most effective during the hotter part of a clear day when most needed.
HydroChill utilizes moisture to provide a cooling effect. Rainfall, dew or irrigation can help keep the field cool for days, depending on local conditions.
And local conditions are getting hotter around the world. Let’s take a look at some facts about heat over the past few years.
- 9 of the 10 hottest years on record in the United States have occurred since 2002.
- 2013 was the fourth hottest year (tied with 2003) since we began keeping records in 1880.
- 2013 marked the 37th consecutive year that yearly global temperatures were above average.
- In the entire 20th century (1900-1999), 1998 was the only year that was warmer than 2013 in the United States.
- 2010 is the hottest year on record globally.
- 2012 is the hottest year on record for the United States.
- 2012 was the third hottest summer (June, July, August) on record in the United States. 2011 was the second hottest summer on record.
- The national average temperature for the months of June, July and August (2012) was 74.4 degrees…2.3 degrees above the 20th century average.
- For 2012, the average temperature was 3.2 degrees above the 20th century average and one degree above 1998.
- Only the summers of 1936(74.6) and 2011 (74.5) were warmer than 2012 in the United States.
- 23 states had average summer temperatures among their 10 warmest in 2012.
- Colorado and Wyoming logged their hottest summers on record in 2012, with temperatures more than four degrees above average.
- July 2012 was the hottest month in the history of the United States.
- The summer of 2012 was the 18th driest since 1895.
- Over 60% of the United States experienced moderate-to-exceptional drought conditions in 2012.
- Average rainfall in 2012 was 26.57 inches, which was 2.57 inches below average.
- During the first eight months of 2012, 33 states were record warm and 12 states were in their top ten ever warmest.
- 16 states in the West, Plains and Upper Midwest had summer temperatures among their 10 highest in 2012.
- Seven states in the Northeast had their record hottest summer in 2012.
- More than 80 million people experienced 100 degree temperatures where they live in 2012. That was 10 million more people than 2011.
- Warm temperature records outnumbered cool temperature records by a ratio of 3.5-1 in 2012.
- 34,008 daily high records were set in 2012 at weather stations across the country, compared with only 6,664 record lows.
- Nobody born since February 1985 has lived through a month of global temperatures that fell below the 20th-century average.
- In history, the coldest year (1917) and warmest year (1998) globally, were only separated by 4.2 degrees. 2012 was a full degree warmer than 1998.
- Trenton, New Jersey had its record warmest year for three straight years. Mt. Pocono, PA; Childress, TX; and Brownsville, TX each had its record warmest year for two straight years. - The top 10 hottest metropolitan areas in the U.S. averaged summer temperatures of 85.2 degrees in 2012.
- The top 10 hottest metropolitan areas in the U.S. averaged highs of 95.1 degrees in 2012.
- The top 10 hottest metropolitan areas in the U.S. averaged 21 days with temperatures over 99 degrees in 2012. Phoenix and Las Vegas experienced 80 and 60 days, respectively, with temperatures over 99 degrees.
As you can see, things are heating up around the world, which means things are heating up on the ball fields, as well. HydroChill has been shown to cool fields by 50 degrees.
For more information on how HydroChill can help, reach out to your Shaw Sports Turf territory manager. The manager for your area can be found by going to www.shawsportsturf.com/rep-locator/