How do sea and lake breezes form?

Science & Technology

How Does a Sea/Lake Breeze Form?

UTICA, N.Y. (WUTR/WFXV/WPNY-TV) — With temperatures soaring into the 90s this week and the humidity really cranking up in Central New York, it’s a great time to head to the beach to cool down. Whether it be by the lake or ocean, you can still feel relief from that cool, refreshing lake/ocean breeze. Though what causes it?

It has to do with temperatures over the land and water. The land heats up faster than the water which in turn heats the air above the land faster. As that warmer air rises, the cooler air over the water rushes in to replace the air that is rising over land, giving us a nice cool breeze. When the sun sets, the water actually becomes warmer than the land and reverse happens where you have a land breeze (air moving from land to lake/ocean)!

Lake/ocean breezes are typically weak around 10 mph and can extend several miles out over land. Though they can make the difference between temperatures soaring into the 90s inland and low 80s by the shore.

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