Sunday, March 29, 2009

Artificial Turf: Heat Islands

Hot enough for you? Well, get ready for summer, because as our natural grass playing fields are replaced with artificial turf, the temperatures will be rising. Why?
Because artificial turf fields are well known for their great ability to trap heat, unlike natural sod, which actually cools our planet, and our neighborhoods. Artificial turf creates ‘heat islands’ with temperatures of up to 120 degrees Fahrenheit to 160 degrees Fahrenheit. But don’t take my word for it; here’s what Dr. Stuart Gaffin, a professor at Columbia University has found out in his studies. Gaffin, an Associate Research Scientist at that university’s Center for Climate Systems Research, initially began his studies researching how trees and parks cool the city. In his research he noticed an odd phenomenon; heat islands, which he initially assumed were caused by large buildings. He looked further, and lo and behold, the ‘heat islands’ were caused by artificial turf.

NASA Satellite Photo, August 14, 2002, New York City, shows heat islands, the red squares at left. What caused them? The photo on the right shows the lower left to be a building and rooftop. And to the right? You guessed it,an artificial turf playing field. Thanks to our Parks Master Plan, if your County Council members vote to put artificial turf at Highlands Park, soon nearly ALL the natural sod playing fields in our public parks will be replaced with artificial turf.

So crank up the A/C folks, it’s going to be a long, hot summer.