Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services

Sea Breezes

Illustration of sea/land air movement

The sea/land breezes are local winds that are driven by the difference in temperature between a body of water and a land surface. During the day, the land will heat up faster than the water. This warm air tends to rise and is replaced by cooler air over the ocean moving inland, this is a sea breeze. At night, the land tends to cool more rapidly than the water and the land temperature may become lower than the water temperature. This leads to the development of a land breeze (the opposite of a sea breeze).

In Florida the sea breeze is of particular importance to wildland fire fighters as it is usually linked to changes in relative humidity and winds as well as the development of thunderstorms. The changes in weather conditions associated with the passage of the sea breeze front can cause dramatic changes in fire activity.

Radar image showing seabreeze line

See animated image

NEXRAD doppler radar provides meteorologists with a tool for tracking the inland penetration of the sea breeze front. The following image shows the sea breeze interacting with the outflow from a thunderstorm (image courtesy of the National Weather Service, Melbourne, FL).

seabreeze interaction image

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