I have a football on my 7-day forecast denoting the start of high school football season this coming Friday and I am just not ready. For that reason, I’m grasping at summer straws here and pulling out a weather trivia question devoted to the summer sport of baseball.
Take a look at the question then click into the post for the answer.
The correct answer to the trivia question is B) Cold Temps.
The reason all comes back to the density of the air. The less dense the air, the better the ball will fly. This happens because air is comprised of little molecules. When the air is more dense, that means there are more of these little molecules to hold the ball back. Air that is less dense has less air molecules and the ball encounters less resistence.
Hot, humid days at higher elevations will send the ball on it’s way pretty easily. Let’s look at why…
Let’s start with the temperature. As the air warms, it expands. This expansion of air provides more room for the air molecules to spread out, making the air less dense. Colder air contracts and the same number of molecules have to fit in a compacted area. Higher density = more resistence.
Next, there’s the humidity. This will probably go against what you would think, but increased humidity or moisture in the air makes the air less dense. It stems from the fact that water vapor is actually lighter in comparison to the oxygen and nitrogen in our atmosphere. This means that higher humidities lead to farther flying baseballs.
Finally, there’s elevation. The higher you go in the sky, the less dense it gets. That means balls hit at Coors Field in Denver, Colorado will fly farther than balls hit at AT&T Park in San Francisco, California. To make up for that, the designers of Coors Field actually made a really big outfield so that the playing field between that ballpark and others would be level. (By the way, the elevation difference is just about a mile between the two parks!)
Those three factors are major league when it comes to baseball and how far the ball flies. There are others, including the wind speed and direction and the conditions the balls are stored. (Click on the link to see why drier baseballs are better for home runs!)
Hopefully this information has helped you to grab on to those final straws of summer before it comes to an end!