midday heat? This is really the hottest time of the day

Updated 7/13/2022 at 09:10

  • When is the daytime temperature actually the highest?
  • Surprisingly, the hottest time of the day is not often cited as the midday heat.

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“Let’s not go to the outdoor pool until afternoon, it’s way too hot in the midday heat!” We have often heard such sentences throughout our lives, and therefore we are sure: noon is the most dangerous time of the day when it comes to heat. However, this is a misconception as the midday heat is just one of many myths about heat.

The noon is hot, but not the hottest!

In summer, the hottest time of the day is not noon but afternoon. This applies to all of Central Europe, because here the sun is at its highest point in the early afternoon.

“Due to daylight saving time, the highest point in the sun shifts to around 1.30 pm, not 12 as often assumed,” explains Gudrun Mühlbacher, head of the Munich regional climate office of the German Weather Service (DWD). ) in an interview with our editorial office.

It’s really hot between 5pm and 6pm

However, the temperature does not peak at the same time as the sun is at its highest point, but slightly lagged. That is why we experience the greatest heat only in the evening, usually between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. “After 6 p.m., the solar radiation drops again due to the angle of incidence, that is, the position of the sun,” says Mühlbacher.

Besides, it is not only the sun that is responsible for the great heat. It is only when it heats both the air and the earth that the heat increases significantly.

This applies to all hot days, but this weather pattern is especially noticeable in July: Because although the sun is at its highest in June, July is statistically the hottest month of the year.

When a hot day really is a hot day

By the way, did you know that what we usually call a “hot day” isn’t a hot day at all? In fact, there is a clear definition of a “hot day” in meteorology: a day is only considered “hot” when the daily maximum temperature of 30 degrees Celsius is reached or even exceeded.

However, this does not happen so often: in Frankfurt, for example, such hot days are on average nine times a year, in Berlin only six times.

It is better to play sports not only in the evening

“The sun continues to heat the earth even after it reaches its peak. The air continues to warm up from the ground as the earth converts shortwave solar radiation into long-wave heat radiation and radiates it back, ”says Mühlbacher.

The accumulation of heat in the air and the earth’s surface ultimately ensures that the maximum values ​​of the day are not achieved until long after the so-called midday heat. Therefore, weather experts advise that activities and exercise should be scheduled either in the morning or at noon.

With or without sports, it’s important to always drink enough in summer. Instead of the recommended daily dose of 1.5 to two liters, you should drink three liters of water – unless there are health reasons.

When is the coldest time of day?

As with the myth of the midday heat, it is rumored that the coldest time of day is around midnight. However, this is not true.

“The lowest temperature of the day is always reached shortly after sunrise,” says Mühlbacher. The temperature gradually drops during the night, but many sub-surfaces, such as roads and cement, still give off the heat they have stored during the day.

The longer it is from sunset, the colder it gets. “When the sun slowly rises again, the angle of the sun is still too acute to send enough sunlight to the earth to convert it into heat,” explains Mühlbacher.

The sun is too dim to warm the earth

The sun’s rays are just too dim at the moment to cause warming. Temperatures do not start rising again until about half an hour to an hour after sunrise.

“Of course, there are exceptions to this rule, for example when it is cloudy,” adds the DWD expert. Or if it’s always particularly hot in one place in the world anyway.

Sources used:

  • Interview with Gudrun Mühlbacher, head of the Regional Climate Office of the German Weather Service (DWD) in Munich
  • Uptopia.de: What to do in the heat?
  • Wetter.net: Weather Dictionary

Note: This is an article from our archive.


Summer, sunshine, and therefore warm temperatures above all: People enjoy good weather during the day, but their health suffers at night. Due to the warmth in the bedroom, many people experience a decline in sleep quality. In this video, you can see five tips for cooling down at night and getting a good night’s sleep.

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