does land or water heat up faster

Have you asked yourself, Does land or water heat up faster? This is one question you should be interested in finding out the answer to.

When it comes to heating, you may have picked your side already. Is it the land or the water that heats up faster? 

You might have already made your mind up about which one is the better choice for your furnace.

This is true especially if you have a lot of space to heat or a hot water tank. But if you’re looking to make a new one, here’s what you need to know.

The land will heat up faster than water. However, it is not nearly as much as you would think. But if we want to get specific, the land heats up faster than water because of its large mass and higher surface area.

Which Is The Better Conductor Of Heat? Water Or Land?

what is the better conductor

This question is being asked a lot. And it’s a good one.

Because we’ve got a pretty clear answer that’s not likely to be controversial—but it’s also not an easy one to explain. 

Does land or water heat up faster? Before answering this, you’ll need to know a few things about how heat moves through the earth.

Heat Energy Explained

So let’s start with some background. Heat is energy, and heat transfer is the movement of this energy from one object to another.

In nature, there are three big ways that heat can move: conduction, convection, and radiation (or “radiative” transfer).

The first two are physical processes that happen all the time. They’re how food moves from your stomach to your body so you can eat it (convection).

Or it could be how water moves through your skin to keep you warm (radiation).

Convection is more complicated than the other two because it involves changing the temperature in the air of an object.

heat energy transfer

It as well involves changing temperature within an object itself—which can lead to friction which slows down how fast heat travels across objects.

You might be surprised to hear that a good conductor of heat actually has little to do with temperature.

When we talk about heat conductivity, we’re talking about how much heat energy is transferred through a material in a given amount of time.

Note: A gram-calorie per second (g/s) is the standard unit of measure for heat transfer for most materials.

Does Land Or Water Heat Up Faster? 

Water has a relatively high heat conductivity, but the reason why is quite different from what you might expect.

In fact, water is fairly good at conducting heat from one location to another. But it’s not so great at transferring energy from one place to another.

Water can only transfer energy from one location to another if there’s an equal amount of liquid water in both locations.

If there isn’t enough water to do that, then the liquid water won’t move as fast.

sun shining on water

It wouldn’t move as fast as it would if there were enough liquid water present on both sides of an imaginary line that was drawn between them.

The land has very low heat conductivity because it doesn’t contain any liquid water—only gas molecules.

If you put your hand on land and then run away quickly, though, you’ll notice that your hand gets hot very quickly.

Why Does Land Heat Faster Than with Water?

There are two factors that make the land get heated up faster than water, these factors will help you know exactly why it happens to be so.

The important factors are listed below.

Factor #1: Land Is Covered In Vegetation

The land is covered in vegetation, which has a high density and area-to-mass ratio.

The roots and leaves of plants have an extensive network of channels that can get air to the surface to evaporate water from the soil.


This leads to a higher rate of evaporation, which means that there is more moisture in the air for plants to absorb.

Tip: When there is more moisture in the air, it means that it will take less energy for plants to grow.

Factor #2: These Substances Takes Longer To Reach Boiling Point

Land heats faster than water because when you heat something from below, it takes longer for some materials to reach their boiling point than others.

For example, if you put a cup of water on an electric stove top burner and set it at 100°C (212°F), then what happens?

The water will boil at 100°C; however, if you put a cup of sand on that same burner at 100°C then what happens?

burn sand

The sand will take longer than the water to boil – because sand’s molecules are larger than those of water molecules.

How Does The Land Get Heated By The Sun?

The sun is a huge source of energy.

It shines on us every day, so it’s no surprise that solar panels use their energy to turn renewable resources into usable energy.

To understand how land gets heated by the sun, we need to start at the beginning: daytime. The sun’s rays hit the earth’s atmosphere and bounce off of it. 

The atmosphere has lots of water vapor in it, so when it is hit with light, some of this water vapor turns into tiny droplets or even snowflakes.

When these droplets come together with other droplets or snowflakes, they form clouds. 

The clouds then fall back to earth as precipitation—rain or snow.

This precipitation makes its way down through the atmosphere until it hits something solid like a mountain range or coastline.

How exactly does the land get heated by the sun? The sun heats the land because it is made of energy.

sun shine on land

Heat is energy, and the sun generates a lot of heat. The earth gets warm from this heat, and it comes from the sun.

Tip: When clouds get big enough they can become raindrops or snowflakes again.

How Does Water Get Heated By The Sun?

You know, the heat of the sun. The sun is a source of light and heat, right? Well, guess what? It’s also a source of energy.

And when it’s given an energy source, it can do some pretty amazing things. One of those things is to heat water!

“But how?” you ask. Well, let’s look at the science behind how this happens:

Sunlight is made up of waves and photons (or light particles).

The waves move through space at different speeds—the faster ones are called “photons.” Each photon has a very exact wavelength and frequency.

This means it has a certain amount of energy associated with it (called its “photon energy”).

sunlight ray

So what does this mean for our water heater?

In order to heat your water, you need to absorb some photons from the sun and convert their kinetic energy into thermal energy (heat).

This happens via two basic processes: absorption of photons by atoms in the atmosphere around you.

The second is through heating due to collisions between those atoms and your tank walls.

Tip: Some photons have more energy than others; those with less energy are called "cooler" or "harsher" photons.

Does Land Or Water Heat Up Faster?

This is a question that has stumped many people, while some people assume it must be water. But the answer is actually much more complicated than that. 

Land heats up faster than water because of its large mass and higher surface area.

Water molecules are smaller than the molecules in air molecules and have fewer molecules per unit volume.

A gram of water has more than 1,000 times as much mass as a gram of air.

It’s a question that has been puzzling people for centuries. The actual answer is: it depends. It also depends on how moist or dry your soil is.

If you have a lot of waterlogged soil, then it will absorb more energy from sunlight than dry soil does.

soil moisture

But there’s one more factor: wind speed! Wind can blow all over your yard and pick up any excess moisture.

Or it can blow all over the yard quickly enough so that no moisture is present at all for very long.

Note: If your soil is lacking in moisture or has been dried out for centuries, then it will absorb less energy from sunlight than wet soil does.


Does land or water heat up faster? Land heats up faster. The reason why land heats up faster than water is that water takes a while to heat up. 

The energy has to travel much farther in the water.

And there is a greater surface area for the heat to transfer from the Sun into the land. Although sometimes water layers like the ocean heat up faster. 

The reason water layers heat up faster than land is that the deeper waters have had more time for the warmth to spread evenly throughout because it’s so friggin’ massive!