Is it true that the further away from the ocean it is, the wider the temperature range?
The theory of continentality is true. The further away from the Gulf of Mexico, the higher the temperature range will be.
The theory of continentality is that the further away from a major ocean, the greater the temperature range is. For this project three major cities in South Texas were chosen; Galveston, Houston and San Antonio. I chose each of these cities, because I am planning to move to San Antonio or Houston after I graduate. The weather in that area of the country is very different than it is here and I thought it would interesting to find out just a little more about the climate in that area.
Each are a further distance from the ocean, respectively. Galveston is a coastal city. Houston is approximately 30 miles from the ocean and San Antonio is about 200 miles from the ocean. I took a road trip there for spring break of this year and just by observation, noticed a steady difference as I got closer to Galveston. First, San Antonio was very hot and dry. It wasn’t extreme weather when I was there, but a typical spring day. As I got closer to Houston, it became a little cooler and much more humid. I’m not going into humidity at this time, however the closer I got to Houston, the more humid it was. When I arrived in Galveston, it was a lot cooler and even more humid than Houston. So I determined at that time that continentality, although I didn’t know that is what it was called at the time, was the reason for the steady difference as I got closer to the ocean.
My hypothesis was based solely on the week I spent in south Texas and then on the theory of continentality. I collected my data from the United States Weather Pages online. I graphed monthly high’s and low’s in degrees Farenheit for each month from May 1999 to April 2000, in attempts to get the most recent data. (see Graphs 1-3) Then I subtracted the January low from the July high for each city. This gave me the range of temperature difference. (see Graph 4) It was at this point that my results didn’t come out exactly how I had expected.
As I expected, the range from Galveston to Houston went up, however the range from Houston to San Antonio went down. This would disprove the theory, however, I did notice that if I would have used the August high for San Antonio, the results would prove the theory true. There are a few reason this could have happened. First, my data could be wrong. I could have made a mistake when entering the data. Or two, the data I collected could have been wrong. Another reason could have been cloud cover, or general weather differences because of long weather trends, such as La Nina.
If this study were to be done further, I would collect data from more cities. To eliminate the La Nina/El Nino weather curves, I would be sure to include several years of data.