Jovith Clemence &
Vestina Vedasto

BI 341




Exploration of temperature between Lake Michigan and the land adjacent to it at different times using thermometers.




The purpose of our research was to find out whether land gains and loses heat easier than lake (water). This research was conducted at lake Michigan and the land adjacent to this lake.  The data were obtained and analyzed.  The results showed that the land heats and cools faster than water.





The aim of this experiment was to investigate what heats faster between land and lake.  This is because water being transparent allows light to penetrate to the depth than land does.  This difference also is caused by specific heat found in these two media (land and water).  The specific heat is the amount of heat per unit mass required
to raise the temperature by one degree Celsius
. Due to its high specific heat, water absorbs heat slowly and keeps it for a long time while soil absorbs it quickly and loses it faster because it has low specific heat (Ritter 2003).  According to these background information we made a hypothesis that land temperature would be higher during the day and lower in the evenings and vice versa for the lake temperature.




The experiment was done on Sunday, October 12th 2003 from 10:00am to 5:00pm at lake Michigan, which is located on the eastern side of Milwaukee city.  At the shore of the chosen site two thermometers (Weksler and Taylor soil thermometers) were used for taking measurements. The Weksler soil thermometer was stuck in the soil for about five minutes and then the data were recorded from the scale before the thermometer was removed from the soil.  The same way the Taylor soil thermometer was placed into the water for about five minutes and the data were read off the scale while the thermometer was still in the water. All the data were collected hourly using the same procedures and instruments.  An Excel program was used to analyze the data afterward.

Graph #1

fig 1

The results showing that the land temperature is higher than that of the land.

fig 2



Graph-2 The comparison of averages between land and lake temperatures.




The results on graph #1 shows that from 4:00am to 1:00pm lake temperature was 5oC while land temperature was rising 160C to about 170C. At 2:00pm land temperature raised to 25oC while the lake temperature raised slightly to 5.50C.  Then from 3:00pm to 5:00pm the land temperature started to fall from 220C to 200C while lake temperature changed from 5.50C to 50C.  Graph #2, shows the average of 50C and 190C for lake and land respectively.





According to our findings the land temperature is higher throughout while that of the water (lake) is lower during the day. This supports our hypothesis that lands gains heat faster that water. Looking at the trend, the temperature of the land changes rapidly while the one for the lake changes slowly. The ability of land to receive temperatures faster than water is because the land (soil) is made up of various minerals, which absorb and emit heat rapidly (Moor 1998). This observation is shown by graph # 1. The land temperature seems to be rising slowly from 11am until 1pm. Thereafter at 2pm the land temperature goes down. On the other side, lake temperature remains unchanged from 10am to 1pm with 50C. At 2pm the lake temperature rises slightly to 5.50C and stays the same up to 3pm. From 4pm to 5pm the lake temperature falls slowly for 0.10C. This is due to the fact that water is transparent therefore the sun rays penetrates deep down during the day and releases slowly in the course of the day (Carolina Biological Supply Company 2003) that is why in the evening you may still feel a little warmness of water. Basically, our hypothesis was supported that the land will be warmer during the day while cooler during the evening and the lake will be cooler in the day and warmer in the evening. However, we didnít have many evidences to support that water would be warmer in the late evening.  So if we had to do this experiment again we would rather use standing water than the lake one to avoid wave movements that may cool down the water at the lake bank. We would also stay longer at the site in order to see how temperature could change in the late evening. Alternatively, we would keep water and soil in separate containers in the sun and keep truck of their temperatures change throughout the day.




Ritter, Michael. (2003). Air Temperature, water bodies and Continentality. Retrieved 10/28/03 from


Moor, Fred. (1998). The answer lies in the soil. Retrieved 10/28/03 from


Carolina Biological Supply Company (2003). Land and Sea Breeze Activity. Retrieved 10/27/03 from