The diurnal, or daily, heating and cooling of land near a lake or ocean of fairly constant temperature causes air to blow toward the relatively warmer land during the day (sea breeze) and toward the relatively warmer water at night (land breeze). These breezes are shallow and seldom penetrate far inland or attain high velocity. Similar diurnal changes occur on mountain slopes, the air in the valley becoming heated and expanding so that it moves up the slope in the daytime, the cold air settling into the valley at night. Friction with the earth's surface, eddies caused by surface irregularities, and inequalities of heating with consequent convection currents tend to reduce wind velocity near the earth's surface and cause winds to blow in gusts.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.