"Shortly after 12 a.m. this past Thursday, night owls in Wichita, Kansas, felt a midday swelter suddenly intrude on the darkness. The temperature had been an already sultry 85 degrees Fahrenheit, but then the winds unexpectedly lashed up to gale-force gusts and for the next 20 minutes the mercury soared almost one degree a minute, peaking at 102 degrees F. As subsequent news stories described, Wichita had experienced the rare meteorological event called a heat burst—a downward blast of unusually warm air produced by the collapse of an air pocket at high altitude. Most of the reported explanations of what caused the incident (and the temperature surge) struck me as a bit sketchy, however. After all, isn’t air from the upper atmosphere much colder than that at ground level? Where would all that extra heat come from? For those who are curious, here is a bit more detail."