ASK TOM: Difference in north-south temperature—100 feet apart

Dear Tom,

I am trying to convince my neighbor, whose house is 100 feet directly north of mine, that my house will be warmer in the winter because it’s farther south. In the Chicago area, what would the average temperature difference be between the two locations in winter?

— Mike Heaton, Chatham, Ill.

 

 

Dear Mike,

 

The temperatures at two locations separated by a distance of 100 feet would not differ by a measurable amount.

Let’s do the math. Chicago’s average January temperature is 23.8 degrees, and at New Orleans, 834 miles to the south, it’s 52.5 degrees — a difference of 28.8 degrees.

Assuming the rate of warming occurs uniformly from Chicago south to New Orleans, the average January temperature at your house would be 0.000654 degrees higher than at your neighbor’s house.

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