Eos, Transactions American Geophysical Union

Sea breeze and coastal processes



A diurnal coastal air circulation characterized by alternate sea and land breezes constitutes an important yet poorly understood form of energy supply for nearshore and coastal processes in a number of tropical and subtropical coasts. Although a considerable amount of literature has been accumulated on the characteristics of this mesoscale meteorological phenomenon, little attention has been given to the mechanism of coupling with waves, currents, and beach topography.

Owing to the generally modest strength of winds in a sea breeze system, there is a tendency to discount its effects on the dynamic response of the coastal processes. The wind speed in a sea breeze is generally on the order of 5 m/sec, but speeds as high as 10 m/sec or those approaching storm intensity are not uncommon [Defant, 1951]. In areas where the sea breeze prevails for many months of the year, the cumulative effect of its winds, albeit modest, on coastal processes should reach a significant extent.