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Jonathan L. Case, Mark M. Wheeler, John Manobianco, Johnny W. Weems, and William P. Roeder

Abstract

Seven years of wind and temperature data from a high-resolution network of 44 towers at the Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station were used to develop an objective method for identifying land breezes, which are defined as seaward-moving wind shift lines in this study. The favored meteorological conditions for land breezes consisted of surface high pressure in the vicinity of the Florida peninsula, mainly clear skies, and light synoptic onshore flow and/or the occurrence of a sea breeze during the afternoon preceding a land breeze. The land breeze characteristics are examined for two events occurring under different weather regimes—one with light synoptic onshore flow and no daytime sea breeze, and another following a daytime sea breeze under a prevailing offshore flow. Land breezes were found to occur over east-central Florida in all months of the year and had varied onset times and circulation depths. Land breezes were most common in the spring and summer months and least common in the winter. The average onset times were ∼4–5 h after sunset from May to July and ∼6.5–8 h after sunset from October to January. Land breezes typically moved from the west or southwest during the spring and summer, from the northwest in the autumn, and nearly equally from all directions in the winter. Shallow land breezes (<150-m depth) were typically not associated with the afternoon sea breeze and behaved like density currents, exhibiting the largest temperature decreases and latest onset times. Deep land breezes (>150-m depth) were most often preceded by an afternoon sea breeze, had the smallest horizontal temperature gradients, and experienced a mean onset time that is 4 h earlier than that of shallow land breezes.

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