The temperature of the surface primarily determines the temperature of the air above it.
Objects in the air, such as clouds or smoke and dust particles—either natural or produced—affect the air temperature. The air can receive heat reflected off clouds or particles just as it absorbs it from Earth’s surface.
Water absorbs more heat than land, but gives off less of what it absorbs than land does. On a sunny day, then, air above a shoreline warms more quickly over the land than over the water.
When the Sun sets, however, the water has retained more heat and so the air over the water can be warmer than the air over the land.
Atmospheric heat is caused by the speeding up of molecular movement in the air. The air is made of many molecules moving around independent of each other.
When heat from the surface reaches them, they begin to move more quickly. Cold makes them slow down.
Earth’s surface heats the air above it; if the ground or water is well-heated, the air will be warm.