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October 11th, 2011 admin

Why is Kansas City downtown airport so warm on winter nights?

I have noticed that Kansas City downtown airport rarely goes below zero, maybe once every two years, and the coldest it has been has been just -14 below zero, when you take out 1989. Meanwhile, Kansas City international is much colder and seems to have temperatures during the night and day of 4 or so degrees warmer. This is huge as the Urban heat Island effect in kansas city - is not nearly as large as DC or east coast cities that have 5 times the population.

You will be the judge of it since you know the location of those two airports but ... could it be that Kansas City Downtown is on a hill and Kansas City International, at the bottom of a valley?

During the winter, much of the heat of the ground radiates back into the sky. But, at the same time, the colder air from surrounding hills falls back into the valleys since colder air is denser and, therefore, heavier. Sometimes it even causes a wind called, a katabatic wind.

Anyway, it is not unusual that, during a clear sky, no wind condition such as that of a high pressure, that it is much colder, early in the morning, in the valleys where, sometimes, fog forms.

Here is an example: the famous London smog was the result of the intensive coal heating of the past century, together with the fact that the city is, actually, near sea level, on the banks of the river Thames, at the bottom of a shallow valley. During high pressure windless nights, the city became very cold, under dew point temperature and the "industial" fog, we call: smog, appeared since, in order to condense, water vapor needs to touch something with a mass, such as a smoke particle.

Now, how is the topography of Kansas City and its airport? Do I have a point?

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