S90 Quantifying the Relationship Between Land-Sea Temperature Gradient and Sea Breezes on the United States Gulf Coast

Sunday, 7 January 2018
Exhibit Hall 5 (ACC) (Austin, Texas)
Rebekah Cheatham, University of South Alabama, Mobile, AL; and S. Kimball

Sea and bay breezes are primary weather-makers during the warm season along the north-central Gulf Coast, including Mobile and Baldwin counties in Alabama. In some cases, resultant severe thunderstorms with dangerous lightning and flash flooding can occur. Such storms cause significant damage to life and property each year in the area. Therefore, being able to predict when sea breezes occur would be very helpful to local forecasters and the general public. Sea and bay breezes form in response to the difference between the land and sea temperatures during the warmest part of the day; this is known as a land-sea temperature gradient. The stronger the land-sea temperature gradient, the more likely the formation of a sea or bay breeze. The South Alabama Mesonet stations are used for land temperature data. National Data Buoy Center (NDBC) buoy 42012 in the Gulf of Mexico 23 km south of Baldwin County is used for sea surface temperature data. This buoy can be used to calculate land-sea temperature gradients for Gulf breezes. Middle Bay Lighthouse located in Mobile Bay 29 km south of Mobile is used to calculate land-sea temperature gradients for Bay breezes. Python code was written to calculate the land-sea temperature gradients as well as averages and other statistics for the years 2008 through 2014, which can be used to improve forecasting of the phenomenon.
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