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What causes the 10 degree temperature change between Miramar Way and Mira Mesa Boulevard?

Matt:

A while ago I was coming home from a job downtown, heading north on the 15. When I got to about Miramar Way, I noticed the temperature dropped what felt like ten degrees Then it seemed to warm up at about Mira Mesa Boulevard again. Other motorcycle riders have commented on this too. What might cause this?

-- Biker B, on the road

If you can find your thinking cap -- if it's not in the laundry or the junk drawer or balled up under your bed or something -- dig it out and put it on. Let's see if we could have figured this out without bothering Matt and the elves. So what's between Miramar and Mira Mesa? That's roughly the south-north boundaries of the Marine Corps Air Station. Lots of development south and north of there, but in between we have the Southern California version of wide open spaces. Smells like a clue to me. Let's call the U.S. Weather Service for their take on this microclimate zone.

"Weather Service..."

"Yeah, hi. We have a question here. Traveling north on I-15 at night, you get to Miramar Way and -- "

"...and the temperature drops."

"Well, yeah." Figure they get this question a lot?

"We get this question a lot."

"The answer better have something to do with the Marine base, or I'm out of a job." As luck would have it, it does. During the day, buildings absorb heat; at night they release it. All that dreary Mira Mesa and Kearny Mesa construction radiates more warmth than do the wilds of the air base. The coolness you feel might be enhanced by several canyons west of the base that funnel breezes toward the freeway. And cold air sinking down off Miramar Hill might settle in that stretch of freeway as well.

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Matt:

A while ago I was coming home from a job downtown, heading north on the 15. When I got to about Miramar Way, I noticed the temperature dropped what felt like ten degrees Then it seemed to warm up at about Mira Mesa Boulevard again. Other motorcycle riders have commented on this too. What might cause this?

-- Biker B, on the road

If you can find your thinking cap -- if it's not in the laundry or the junk drawer or balled up under your bed or something -- dig it out and put it on. Let's see if we could have figured this out without bothering Matt and the elves. So what's between Miramar and Mira Mesa? That's roughly the south-north boundaries of the Marine Corps Air Station. Lots of development south and north of there, but in between we have the Southern California version of wide open spaces. Smells like a clue to me. Let's call the U.S. Weather Service for their take on this microclimate zone.

"Weather Service..."

"Yeah, hi. We have a question here. Traveling north on I-15 at night, you get to Miramar Way and -- "

"...and the temperature drops."

"Well, yeah." Figure they get this question a lot?

"We get this question a lot."

"The answer better have something to do with the Marine base, or I'm out of a job." As luck would have it, it does. During the day, buildings absorb heat; at night they release it. All that dreary Mira Mesa and Kearny Mesa construction radiates more warmth than do the wilds of the air base. The coolness you feel might be enhanced by several canyons west of the base that funnel breezes toward the freeway. And cold air sinking down off Miramar Hill might settle in that stretch of freeway as well.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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