Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Why it is colder at night

It would be wrong if this blog just contained the randomness and highly biased views of the world from my good friend Jamie. So in order to address the balance now and again it only seems fair that some stories are told about me spewing forth my general thoughts and opinions about things in this world.

So it was one Saturday afternoon with the television finely tuned to that wonder of repetitive TV channels that is ‘Dave’ and the Top Gear Polar Special. To set the scene for those of you who do not watch the endless repeats of Top Gear, this episode was a race to the Magnetic North Pole with Jeremy and James in a Toyota Hilux (with serious modifications) and Richard Hammond using a pack of husky dogs and a sled.

Hammond and his pack of four legged friends did not have the speed of the Hilux so used tactics to gain an advantage. Over to Richard Hammond for the explanation;

“We are going to run at night as its cooler for the dogs, they prefer it, they love the cooler temperatures cause they can run harder and faster. And so, in the early hours of the morning at -35°C we roused the dogs and ran!”

“How does that work?” enquired Jamie.

“What mate?”

“Well, if the sun never sets at that high a longitude then how does it get colder at night without dark?”

My response, I believe was totally foolproof.

“Night winds.”


“You know that makes perfect sense! At night there is always a bit of wind creeping round a corner making it colder. Night winds! Doesn’t matter where you are, sun or no sun, at night a lick of wind always drops the temperature.”

“So where the hell do night winds come from?”

“Where the rest of the wind comes from. Its just that after 10pm its a bit cooler.”

My statement of night winds was obviously bollocks but for some reason, it just seemed like fun to continue at full tilt with my theory.  Youth picked up on this also but being the simple people that we are it was more fun to try and outsmart each other. With that the locomotive of bollocks picked up speed. Over the next half hour we attempted several other explanations of a non-stupid basis, such as the angle of the sun, the earth's orbit and the tilt of the earth. Several items were used to showcase the earth and the sun in model form with Youth and I moving round the kitchen trying to simulate Earth orbit round the sun, pretty sure that the scale was way off. 

All this, I must admit, led to a tedious agreement where proper science won. 

However, the concept of night winds will forever be my attempt to bullshit my way through basic science. Considering we were watching Top Gear - a show built on bull shit - it seemed perfectly apt at the time.