The Science Behind a Sea Breeze


Mobile, Alabama is a unique location for weather patterns along the Gulf Coast because of how close we are to different bodies of water. On a typical summer day, the land heats up faster than the water. This is the amount of heat an object can hold, called the specific heat. If you were to walk around barefoot on the pavement outside and after quickly dipped in the pool, which would feel hotter? If you tried this experiment, you would notice the difference in how hot the pavement was compared to the pool.

The difference you felt, will try to correct itself.

The atmosphere will fix this difference, where the cooler air moves toward the hotter air. A circulation of air will generate a breeze where the air from the sea goes towards the land. This air at the land will start to rise and expand, which leads to the formation of cumulus clouds. The air taken from the sea has to be replaced resulting in a circulation called a sea breeze.

FUN FACT: Did you know that wind’s name comes from where the wind originates, not where it blows to?

When a sea breeze exists, it carries moist air in the direction that the wind is travelling. As the air moves inland, it can possibly interact with another breeze known as a bay breeze. When these two breezes interact a pop-up thunderstorm can happen.

FUN FACT: A sea breeze is common during the summer months.

Sometimes when we see an isolated thunderstorm in the summer, it is because of the sea-bay breeze interaction. Not all summertime thunderstorms are a result

of this, but it gives an explanation as to why we see that brief shower almost every single day along the Gulf Coast.

Meteorologist Intern- Jaylin Schley

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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