Lake Michigan Coastal Dunes
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Lake Michigan Coastal Dune Home
Introduction to Lake Michigan Coastal Dunes
Features and Types of Dunes
Wind, Sand and Coastal Dunes
Climate, Dune, Lake and Seasonal Factors
Methods, Results and Research Students
References and Links to More Information


Environment - Temperature

Lake Michigan coastal dunes experience warm summers and cold winters, as seen on the graph of mean monthly temperatures recorded at Muskegon, MI.

Temperature has little direct effect* on sand movement by wind, but indirectly it has great influence on dune processes. Temperature is part of local climate controls on the types of vegetation present and the length of the growing season. Below-freezing temperatures in the winter cause water to freeze in the ground (ground-freezing), at the surface (ice), on the lake (coastal ice), and in the atmosphere (snow). Rising temperatures in the spring produce melting and thawing with noticeable effects on the coastal dunes.

Muskegon climate normals:  temperature.
Data source: 1971-2000 monthly normals as published in the
Climatography of the United States No. 20 available from the National Climatic Data Center at
*Technically, wind can move more sand at colder temperatures because cold air is more dense.

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Last updated 03/23/10.