Land and Sea Breezes

Many parts of the coast experience regular day and night cycles of breezes out to sea and from from the sea. The breezes are caused by the different amounts of heating ad cooling experienced by land and sea during the day and night.

During the day the land is heated to a higher temperature than the sea because water has a higher specific heat capacity than earth, and because the water is more more transparent than earth, so solar radiation penetrates some depth into the sea, heating more water to a lesser degree. This causes the air above the land to be at a higher temperature than the air above the sea. Convection currents are set up as shown below.

During the night, the land cools down faster than the sea, which has a higher specific heat capacity and is heated to a greater depth. The sea becomes warmer than the land and the breeze reverses direction.

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