It’s common knowledge (and I’m expecting correct) that coastal regions experience moderate climate. But how far is the coastal region affected?

Does this affect people sitting on the beach? The buildings facing the water on the first street? A whole city? 50km inland? An island is completely included?

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    $\begingroup$ The question is a little like 'how long is a piece of string?' Oceans act as a heat sink/store that moderates the climate. The effect varies with distance from the ocean, but also prevailing winds, currents etc. You might look at the scale of a small 10 km square island, and see a difference between coast and interior over a few hundred metres, or at continental scale and see differences over a few thousand kilometres. $\endgroup$
    – Andy M
    Feb 24, 2023 at 11:25
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    $\begingroup$ In terms of continents, it also depends on topography. Mountain ranges tend to limit the extent of coastal climate. $\endgroup$
    – Fred
    Feb 24, 2023 at 12:44
  • $\begingroup$ This is helpful! So maybe this is another question. But does it make sense to go to the beach on the summer, because near the sea the temperature would be lower? $\endgroup$ Mar 6, 2023 at 17:47
  • $\begingroup$ That can't be clarified so easily either, because it depends on which direction the winds are coming from. If they come from the land, very warm and dry conditions can prevail even on the beach. But fun fact: you can cool down in the water :) $\endgroup$
    – Weiss
    Mar 7, 2023 at 14:19

1 Answer 1


Short disclamer at the beginning: This question cannot receive an absolute answer, because the answer is as heterogeneous as coastal areas are worldwide. To answer concretely, you need to focus on a concrete example. But here is a very simplified solution:

First of all, the moderate climates that exist near the coast are determined by the heat capacity of the water. Simplified, this means that water absorbs a lot of heat in the warm periods and thus cools the air temperature and releases this stored heat again in the cold months!

How great the influence is depends on many factors. For example, the topography. For example, if we have a mountain range near the sea, this moderate weather is hardly noticeable in the Innlad. But also winds etc. determine how much this heat absorption and heat emission of the water influences the ambient air.

However: An impressive area where a very dry area borders the ocean and thus disproves your gerneralised statement is the Namib Desert. enter image description here

Source: https://www.pinterest.de/pin/479140847855922452/


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