SoCal seeing record warm ocean temps this summer

Wednesday, August 22, 2018
SoCal seeing record warm ocean temps this summer
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Surfers and swimmers have been enjoying unusually warm ocean water this summer, but scientists are concerned.

HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. (KABC) -- The ocean water off the Southern California coast has been pretty warm this summer - breaking records in some areas.

Surfers are welcoming the warm water, but scientists say it's not a good sign for marine life and the environment.

In Huntington Beach, surfers and swimmers are soaking up the the last few weeks of summer-- many of them enjoying warmer than usual ocean temperatures.

"Pretty warm - it's probably like mid-70s," said surfer Tom Gomez of San Diego. "Pretty nice - you don't even need a top at least when the sun's out."

In San Diego, at Scripps Pier the sea surface temperature hit 78.6 degrees in the beginning of the month, the highest reading in its 102 year history.

That record was broken in the days that followed.

Beachgoers may love it, but scientists say it's causing harm to sea life and the food chain.

"Those kinds of prolonged temperatures are not necessarily great for this ecosystem that is used to seeing temperatures at that end of the range for so long," said Dr. Clarissa Anderson at the Scripps Institute of Oceanography.

Anderson says they can't definitively say what's causing the warm streak.

But they are starting to see patterns they expected in response to greenhouse gas emissions.

"We just know that more and more these predictions that we have for regional responses to global warming are starting to pan out," she said.

As scientists continue to study the correlation between sea and land temperatures, surfers say they are just enjoying the warm water while it lasts.

"Can't get much better, especially when the sun's shining," said Ben Bernard of Huntington Beach. "Get a little burn, but it's really nice."