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How You Can See Heat in the Summer

As we near the end of July, summer’s peak season of heat and humidity continues in the South. Not only can you feel the “Dog Days of Summer” at certain temperatures, but there are a few ways heat is actually visible! Here’s how you can see heat in the summer.

Heat waves.

Perhaps one of the most common ways you can see heat in the summer is through heat waves. This is also known as heat haze or heat shimmer. This visible heat is the result of hot air rising and mixing with the cooler air above it.

As the air density increases, light traveling through it will bend, thus creating visible mirage-like wavy lines. A good example of this in our area would be the heat waves rising off the road on a hot, sunny day.


Dew on the grass on a cool summer morning. Water droplets on a glass of cold sweet tea in the afternoon. Glasses fog when you go from a cool environment to a warmer one. These are all examples of condensation, which is another way you can see heat when cold air mixes with hot air.

Steam after rain.

Once again, science is at work in this example of visible heat in the summer! For example, the sun heats up the pavement throughout the day. A typical pop-up summer shower cools things off a bit.

The result? Steam rises from the warm pavement or road after a rain.


Data collected by the National Weather Service and the National Centers for Environmental Information shows this summer blazing a trail to rank among the top 10 warmest years on record. So, keep an eye out for how you can see heat in the summer and take measures to stay safe in hotter temperatures when needed.

Remember to drink plenty of water, which is good for your eyes and your body. For more interesting news, including vision health, continue to read our blogs.