Weather Basics - Land To Sea Interactions

Have you ever been to the beach and enjoyed the sea breeze? Have you observed it blowing out to sea at times and at other times blowing on to the land? These sea breezes are a result of the different rates of warming and cooling between the land and the sea.

It takes a lot of energy to warm water compared to land. Consequently it also takes a longer amount of time for that energy to be released from the water. During the day both the land and the sea are absorbing energy from the sun but in the evening they are re-radiating that energy back into outer space at infrared wavelengths.

When the sun begins to heat the earth in the morning, the land will rise in temperature faster than the oceans. Therefore, since hot air rises, the air above the land will rise and air from above the water will move in onto the land to fill the void created from that air rising.

As the sun sets, the wind blowing from the sea will slow down, then stop, and reverse direction. This is due to the fact that the land will also cool faster than the sea. So when the sun sets, it is no longer absorbing energy from the sun. The sea however remains warmer than the land since it doesn't cool as fast. Therefore, the air above the water will begin to rise and air from the land will move out to sea to fill in the void over the water.