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Christoffer Hallgren
Heiner Körnich
Stefan Ivanell
, and
Erik Sahlée


One of the most prominent mesoscale phenomena in the coastal zone is the sea-breeze/land-breeze circulation. The pattern and its implications for the weather in coastal areas are well described, and with mesoscale-resolving operational NWP models the circulation can be captured. In this study, a straightforward method to identify sea and land breezes based on the change in wind direction in the column above a grid point on the coastline is presented. The method was tested for southern Sweden using archived output from the HARMONIE-AROME model with promising results, describing both the seasonal and diurnal cycles well. In areas with a complex coastline, such as narrow straits, the concept of the land–sea breeze becomes less clear, and several ways to address this problem for the suggested method are discussed. With an operational index of the sea and land breezes, the forecaster can better understand and express the weather situation and add value for people in the coastal zone. Further, the indices can be used to study systematic biases in the model and to create climatologies of the sea and land breezes.

Significance Statement

A wind pattern that is frequently occurring in the coastal zone is the sea-breeze/land-breeze circulation, and the purpose of this study is to test a new method to automatically identify sea breezes and land breezes in weather forecasts. Knowing if a sea breeze or a land breeze is occurring is helpful for the operational weather forecaster in understanding the weather situation. It can also be used to study systematic model behavior, for example, errors in the forecast temperature during sea-breeze conditions. The method has been tested for seven coastal sites in Sweden and shows promising results both in case studies and multiyear statistics.

Open access