The Solent Sea Breeze; Occurrence, Classification and Forecasting Aspects.

Richard Lewis


The Solent sea breeze was studied from May-August 2006, wind speed, direction, air and sea temperature and humidity data recorded at Bramble Bank and Dockhead was provided by the hydrographer's office in Southampton. A Weather diary was also kept to identify and classify sea breeze events in conjunction with synoptic charts. The aim of the study is to record and classify sea breezes in the Solent from May to August 2006 and evaluate weather or not a previous forecast model originally for Thorney Island can be applied with any degree of accuracy at Calshot.
The Solent sea breeze was found to have a 29% occurrence over the study with the component sea breeze most frequent (36.1%), pure (27.8%), frontal (25%) and pure (11.1%) accounting for the remainder of the 36 sea breezes recorded. No one type of sea breeze was dominant in the Solent but observations backed up the idea of a double effect in the area with 61.2% of sea breezes approaching from the west and 38.8% the east with the high ground of the Isle of Wight blocking any approach from the south. The magnitude of the air-sea temperature difference had no bearing on the time of onset but did seem to effect which type of sea breeze formed with frontal, pure, component and pseudo sea breezes needing average air-sea temperature difference of 4.9, 3.8, 2.9 and 2.9°C respectively. Once re-orientated to Calshot, the forecast model was found to be 57% accurate at predicting time of onset to within an hour and 75% to within 1½ hours of actual occurrence.

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