Land-lake breezes at low latitudes: The case of Tonle Sap Lake in Cambodia

Kumiko Tsujimoto, Toshio Koike

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


Tonle Sap Lake is the largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia. During the postmonsoon season, a small linear cloud system has been observed over this lake in early morning, while the sky above the surrounding land is clear. Although this cloud system is apparently generated by land breezes, previous studies on land-lake (sea) circulation have suggested that environmental factors at low latitudes inhibit development of nocturnal land breezes. In this study, we investigate the mechanism of these early morning clouds through numerical simulation. The simulations show a linear updraft system over the lake, forming along the southwest lakeshore around 22:00 and moving northeast to the middle of the lake. The heavier air mass from the land meets the extraordinarily warm and humid air mass over the lake, triggering updrafts under the conditionally convective instability. The characteristic high surface water temperature was favorable for generation of the land breeze and updraft systems. That high surface water temperature of the lake is produced by the tropical climate along with efficient energy absorption because of the shallowness of the water body. This unique feature can generate a clear nocturnal land breeze circulation accompanying a migrating updraft system over the lake despite its low latitude. Key Points Land-breeze develops even though this lake is located in the low-latitudes. A lined-up cloud is formed at night over the lake by the very hot lake water. The convection migrates over the lake by the katabatic wind.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6970-6980
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research Atmospheres
Issue number13
Publication statusPublished - Jul 16 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • land-atmosphere interaction
  • land-breeze

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science
  • Geophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science


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