University of Delaware
delware environmental institute

News Journal: Microclimates in Delaware — 25 degree difference at beach

Delaware is a small state, but it’s big enough for the climates in Selbyville and Talleyville (108 miles apart) to differ. Ditto the climates in Minquadale and Ellendale (75 miles apart). And even the climates on the Rehoboth Beach Boardwalk and the Rehoboth Avenue traffic circle (less than a mile inland). Welcome to the world of microclimates. Delaware’s climates are most importantly about geography, said Kevin Brinson, associate state climatologist.

“Proximity to water is our driving factor,” he said, noting how the Atlantic Ocean and the Delaware and Chesapeake bays keep nearby land cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter.

“The most striking microclimate is along beaches,” he said, with temperature differences as much as 25 degrees in a few hundred yards. The reason is the sea breeze effect, which occurs year-round but is biggest in the late spring and fall, with the biggest temperature difference between ocean and land.