Originally Posted by GalsofEscape
I find items on the top shelf get really cold. They are right next to those fins. So I do put veggies or things you don't want to get real cold on the middle shelf. There is a mod people do to added those small fans in the fridge to help circulate the air and maximize cooling. It should also help with evening out the cold distribution.
The fridge cools via convection air currents. The fins cool the air very close to them, the cold air sinks, cooling by conduction any objects in the path of the air sinking. As the cold air warms, it starts to rise again, eventually returning to the fins. The first object in the path of the sinking cold air (directly below the cooling fins) will get the most cooling.
Promoting a stronger convection air flow increases cooling. Objects in the fridge that are warmer than the cooling fins will increase convection - which is why a mostly full fridge will cool faster than an empty fridge. As Gals of Escape said, a fan to circulate the air in the fridge can promote convection flow even more.
Also, as stated, the cold food has a "hold over" effect similar to chunks of ice that helps hold the fridge at a cooler temp.
Present: 2014 Rockwood A122 A-frame
Past: 2000 Coleman Westlake PUP