Microclimates in the Bay Area

How spatial variability occurs in the Bay Area

Did you know that things like wind speed, temperature, and precipitation can change between locations only a few miles away? This can cause microclimates in the Bay Area!”

It is important to understand the meaning of spatial variability, as it most often explains natural occurrence in our environment. By taking measurements of specific locations, we can predict what is happening in places that we know little of. This can be useful for wind-related activities, such as windsurfing or sailing.

Question: What affects the direction and speed of wind?

Answer: The landscape and temperature of our environment! Wind direction is affected by the way our terrain is shaped. Temperature difference in two locations can make a difference too! To find the exact answers, scientists have to analyze historical data and landscape.

Wind Map of the Bay
Wind Map of the San Francisco Bay

Winds in the Bay

There is a lot of wind coming from the Pacific Ocean! This is because San Francisco Bay is one of the few spots along California’s coast where there is a sea level opening.

To look at current winds, click here. How does landscape and temperature affect winds where you live?

Windsurfers in the San Francisco Bay
Windsurfers in the San Francisco Bay

What makes San Francisco Bay an ideal place to windsurf?

On any given day, you can see lots of sailboats and windsurfers having fun in the bay. This is because of the winds generated in the Pacific Ocean. A lot of that wind is channel through the Golden Gate and eventually continues throughout the Bay Area.

Professional windsurfers and sailors often rely on modeling tools such as wind forecasts. Check it out here! While you're at it, be sure to explore some of the different forecast maps.

The Lawrence Hall of Science in Berkeley has a great way of letting everyone look at what’s happening around the Golden Gate. The people at LHS dedicate their time to educating the public about science! Check out The View.

34th America’s Cup

Sailing teams across the world will be competing in San Francisco Bay for the 34th America's Cup. A team's success will be based on how well they can predict wind patterns on the day of the race and their knowledge of sailing. The possible race course will involve varying wind speeds and temperature, conditions that will come as a challenge to the teams.

With your new knowledge about Bay Area winds, do you have what it takes?

The America's Cup placed before the Golden Gate Bridge
The America's Cup
The Route of the America's Cup from sfgate.com

This website is part of a design project from CEE 105, Applied Fluid Mechanics by Dana-Nicole Samuel, Don Frederick, Kingsley Kuang. For more information visit this page.