A case study of sea breeze blocking regulated by sea surface temperature along the English south coast
Abstract. The sensitivity of sea breeze structure to sea surface temperature (SST) and coastal orography is investigated in convection-permitting Met Office Unified Model simulations of a case study along the south coast of England. Changes in SST of 1 K are shown to significantly modify the structure of the sea breeze immediately offshore. On the day of the case study, the sea breeze was partially blocked by coastal orography, particularly within Lyme Bay. The extent to which the flow is blocked depends strongly on the static stability of the marine boundary layer. In experiments with colder SST, the marine boundary layer is more stable, and the degree of blocking is more pronounced. Although a colder SST would also imply a larger land–sea temperature contrast and hence a stronger onshore wind – an effect which alone would discourage blocking – the increased static stability exerts a dominant control over whether blocking takes place. The implications of prescribing fixed SST from climatology in numerical weather prediction model forecasts of the sea breeze are discussed.