Continentality in the Texas Coastal Zone

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  • 1 Atmospheric Science Group, The University of Texas, Austin 78712
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Abstract

An analysis is presented of continentality in the Texas coastal zone, based on standard climatological data from the existing National Weather Service network. In spite of prevailing onshore winds throughout the year, Texas coastal zone stations (Gulf of Mexico to 150 mi inland) exhibit a substantial degree of continentality by any of the usual definitions. Continentality by the Conrad definition ranged from approximately 25% in the Brownsville area to about 38% inland, with a mean value of approximately 33% for the 1941–70 period in the entire coastal zone.

Additionally, some measurements are presented of horizontal gradients of air temperature in summer and winter along a line perpendicular to the Gulf coast from near Port Aransas to near Sinton, Tex., approximately 30 mi inland. Mean daily temperature range and other statistical parameters for these stations underscored the continentality findings, and demonstrated substantial horizontal gradients of continentality in the immediate coastal zone, with a value of continentality of about 20% at the Port Aransas beach. Overwater values of continentality from summarized ship reports off the Texas coast were of the order of 18–20%.

Abstract

An analysis is presented of continentality in the Texas coastal zone, based on standard climatological data from the existing National Weather Service network. In spite of prevailing onshore winds throughout the year, Texas coastal zone stations (Gulf of Mexico to 150 mi inland) exhibit a substantial degree of continentality by any of the usual definitions. Continentality by the Conrad definition ranged from approximately 25% in the Brownsville area to about 38% inland, with a mean value of approximately 33% for the 1941–70 period in the entire coastal zone.

Additionally, some measurements are presented of horizontal gradients of air temperature in summer and winter along a line perpendicular to the Gulf coast from near Port Aransas to near Sinton, Tex., approximately 30 mi inland. Mean daily temperature range and other statistical parameters for these stations underscored the continentality findings, and demonstrated substantial horizontal gradients of continentality in the immediate coastal zone, with a value of continentality of about 20% at the Port Aransas beach. Overwater values of continentality from summarized ship reports off the Texas coast were of the order of 18–20%.

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