Homework Help

What is the "continental effect?" How does it affect temperature?

user profile pic

jaseleeynn | (Level 1) Honors

Posted August 10, 2012 at 10:33 AM via web

dislike 1 like

What is the "continental effect?" How does it affect temperature?

1 Answer | Add Yours

user profile pic

ophelious | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted August 10, 2012 at 3:02 PM (Answer #1)

dislike 1 like

The "continental effect" could also be called "the big land mass effect" because it focuses on the differences between water and land.  Basically, water holds temperature better than dirt does.  This means that the temperature over big hunks of land (aka continents) is going to change more dramatically than the temperature over water (which is more stable because of the water.)  There are other bits involved in this, too.  Obviously, the air above water is more likely to be humid and stay that way because of all that ocean, while the air above big land masses won't consistently contain the same water levels. 

The gist of it is that areas being affected by the "continental effect" will have a greater range of temperatures (MDR, mean daily range) and more variety in air moisture.  It may have high summer temperatures, colder nights, and even colder winters.  Just think about going to the beach on a hot day in spring.  The sand might burn your feet but the water stays chilly because it takes so long to warm up because of the way it holds temperature.

Sources:

Join to answer this question

Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.

Join eNotes