Most of the energy from the sun’s rays passes right through the air onto the ground. There, depending on the radiative qualities of the particular surface, it can get really hot.

A metal car hood or an asphalt parking lot might be too hot to touch even with an air temperature in the 80s or low 90s. The temperature of some surfaces, especially those colored black, can get as hot as 150-200 degrees. The air adjacent to these surfaces can be very warm, too.

When we report the current temperature, we are reporting the temperature at a precise location at a certain height above the ground in the shade. This is required in order to have some uniformity when comparing temperatures. The actual temperature of the air can vary greatly from spot to spot — and the temperature of objects can vary even more.

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