Meteorologist Dave Freeman explains science behind why cars get hot

WICHITA, Kansas – Chief Meteorologist Dave Freeman joins us today to help explain the science as to why cars get hot so quickly in the heat of summer.

Short wave radiation

The sun sends its energy down to us in short wave radiation that goes right through the glass of the front windshield.


Then it is absorbed into by the surfaces inside, the upholstry, the dashboard, any surface absorbs that short-wave radiation and re-radiates it in long-wave (infrared) radiation.


That heats up the air inside the car. And because the windows are closed, and the air does not recirculate or bring in fresh air, it turns it into a Greenhouse Effect runaway.


That is why a car can go from a comfortably cool to a death trap in a just a few of minutes. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language, racial slurs or consistent name calling will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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