• anonymous
Don't really understand this question and why there is specific heat... A student claims that since water has a high specific heat, areas near the ocean are always colder than areas away from the ocean. Do you agree with his reasoning? Explain your position.
  • Stacey Warren - Expert
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  • katieb
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  • anonymous
help please
  • anonymous
Specific heat is a property of a material to hold thermal energy. It is measured in calories/Kg*deg C Water has a high specific heat compared to say rocks, sand or air. Thus it can hold heat longer than most substances but it also takes longer to raise its own temperature compared to most substance. So depending on the season the ocean will have different affects on the surround area or air. Can you think of two times when the effects are just the opposite of one another?
  • IrishBoy123
water molecules are polarised. this is why microwave ovens work. it also explains why water not only stores energy as kinetic/vibrational/rotational energy of particles [the usual idea behind thermal energy] but also as electric potential energy as the water molecules drift apart as water heats. the energy stored in non-kinetic form does not translate into a temperature as it would in a solid or gas. thus, water can take in a lot more energy than other common materials with a disproportionately smaller increase in measurable temperature. so the sea heats up more slowly during the day than nearby land, even though they are storing the same amount of energy from the sun [as the internal energy stored in the water is also in the form of electric potential energy]. and so gravity pulls the denser sea air in to displace the less dense land air. sea breezes. then, the land cools down more quickly at night, even though sea and land have absorbed, all things being equal, the same amount of energy. so gravity pulls the land air out towards the sea.

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