A sea breeze is a local wind that occurs in a region near the ocean or a large lake. During the day, temperatures in the inland areas are warmer than the temperatures along the coast. The warm air rises and the cooler coastal air moves in to replace it. Since the air is moving from the sea toward the land, this type of breeze is called a sea breeze. At night, the air inland cools down, and sometimes it cools down so much that it is cooler than the coastal air. If that is the case, the warm air above the water rises and the cooler air from the inland area moves in to replace it. Since the air is moving from the land toward the water, this type of breeze is called a land breeze.
For the most part, the data used in this activity is the real data for a particular day. The data for the given day was selected as a "classic illustration" of the weather topic at hand. Even so, "subtle and not so subtle variations in this dataset highlight the natural complexity of weather." Let us know if you would like more information about how to bridge gaps between the idealized vs. "messy" real world. We plan to add access to current data in the next phase, but current data will bring surprises "like a box of chocolates."
OVERVIEW OF ACTIVITY (50 minutes)
Students collect air temperature data at different times of the day from an inland location and from an ocean buoy. They observe how the temperature differences affect wind patterns throughout the day.
When air is warmed, it becomes less dense than the surrounding air and it rises, causing an updraft. When air is cooled, it becomes denser than the surrounding air and it sinks, causing a downdraft. When the warm air rises, the cooler surrounding air moves in to replace the air that has risen.
TEACHING & LEARNING TOOLS
Online game to help students learn their general compass directions, with link to static diagrams that can be printed as overheads.
Online game to help students learn how wind directions are designated, with link to static diagrams that can be printed as overheads.
- Make sure that students know that wind direction is expressed as the direction FROM which the wind is blowing.
- Remind students that they can move the compass onto the map to help them determine the wind direction.
- Remind students to print their data table and the conclusion questions because they will turn them in at the end of the lesson.
- After they have gone through the Learn More page and the class discussion, remind students to make any necessary changes to their answers for the conclusion questions before turning them in.