Thermal Physics


How do convection currents create sea breezes?

During a day at the shore, the sun warms the ground and the water. The ground has a lower specific heat and so its temperature increases more than the temperature of the water. The ground heats the air above it, which rises in convection currents and cooler air from over the ocean flows toward the shore to “fill in the gap” left by the rising warm air. This flow of cooler air from the ocean toward the shore creates what is known as a sea breeze.

In the evening, when the sun dips below the horizon, the ground cools faster than the water. Therefore the air over the ocean is warmer than the air over the shore, and the reverse takes place. The warmer ocean air rises while a breeze flows from the shore to the water.


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