Many athletic governing bodies are adopting on-site measurement of the wet-bulb globe temperature (WBGT) as part of their heat safety policies. It is well known, however, that microclimatic conditions can vary over different surface types and a question is whether more than one WBGT sensor is needed to accurately capture local environmental conditions. Our study collected matched WBGT data over three commonly used athletic surfaces (grass, artificial turf, and hardcourt tennis) across an athletic complex on the campus of the University of Georgia in Athens, GA. Data were collected every 10 min from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. over a four-day period during July 2019. Results indicate that there is no difference in WBGT among the three surfaces, even when considered over morning, midday, and afternoon practice periods. We did observe microclimatic differences in dry-bulb temperature and dewpoint temperature among the sites. Greater dry-bulb and lower dewpoint temperatures occurred over the tennis and artificial turf surfaces compared with the grass field because of reduced evapotranspiration and increase convective transfers of sensible heat over these surfaces. The lack of difference in WBGT among the surfaces is attributed to the counterbalancing influences of the different components that comprise the index. We conclude that, in a humid, subtropical climate over well-watered grass, there is no difference in WBGT among the three athletic surfaces and that, under these circumstances, a single monitoring site can provide representative WBGTs for nearby athletic surfaces.
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