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3.2.5 Proximity to Water Bodies
This section describes the effects of oceans, both coastal and inland, and of the Great Lakes particularly in Ontario
Oceans – Coastal vs. Inland
Large bodies of water such as oceans, seas, and large lakes affect the climate of an area. Water heats and cools more slowly than land. Therefore, in the summer, the coastal regions will stay cooler and in winter warmer. A more moderate climate with a smaller temperature range is created.
If there are no bodies of water to moderate the climate the same conditions follow as with vast, flat plains. The climate condition is continental with more extreme temperatures, a larger range, and less precipitation.
Storms occur over water and over continents. Hurricanes are massive storms that produce heavy winds and rain over a large area. The warmer air masses traveling from the south up the eastern coast of the United States in the spring and summer sometimes bring the remnants of a hurricane that formed in the Gulf of Mexico. Onlyon a very few occasions has Ontario experienced the full force of a hurricane.
More common are tornadoes. They form in the spring and summer, especially after a period of intense heat. They are violent, localized storms with powerful funnel clouds that cause much damage.
Ocean currents are a factor in determining the climate of a place. Much as in the air and rock cycles, convection circulates water in currents. This is caused by the movement of cold water to hot. Warm water flows from the equator and cold from the poles. This movement is interrupted or altered by large landmasses.
Global Ocean Currents. Note the Gulf Stream and the current meeting near Newfoundland.
In Ontario, the ocean currents have little direct effect on the climate but the climate of southern Ontario is influenced by the Great Lakes. The summers and winters are moderate. Temperatures are warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer than places at the same latitude in the rest of Canada.
Ontario – Great Lakes – Nearness to Water
Large bodies of water, such as oceans, seas and large lakes, can affect the climate of an area. Water heats and cools more slowly than landmasses. Therefore, the coastal regions will stay cooler in summer and warmer in winter, thus creating a more moderate climate with a narrower temperature range.
The Great Lakes – See the Great Lakes Basin map in Ontario section 5.2