The Physical Environment
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Air Temperature

Air Temperature, Water Bodies and Continentality

Air temperature is greatly affected by the location of a place relative to a large body of water. The impact of continental location on weather and climate characteristics of a place is called "continentality".  Air temperature near or over bodies of water is much different from that over land due to differences in the way water and land heat and cool. Properties that affect water temperature are:

  • Transparency
  • Allocation of Q* 
  • Ability to circulate
  • Specific heat

Explore how each of these properties affect the temperature of air by clicking on the buttons below.

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For Citation: Ritter, Michael E. The Physical Environment: an Introduction to Physical Geography.
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Michael Ritter (
Last revised 10/9/12

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