Summers are usually hot in San Diego, but for the last few years our coastal water temperatures have been breaking records.
Scripps Pier at Torrey Pines has been recording the ocean temperature each day since 1916, and on Sunday, August 23rd the water temperature reached 79.5 degrees Fahrenheit - the hottest it's every been and a tie for the same temperature recorded on August 9, 2018.
Scripps Institution of Oceanography, who tracks the temperature of the Pacific Ocean, says that the area's ocean waters started heating up in 2014 due to a "marine heatwave" that was followed by an El Nino weather pattern. El Ninos are known for causing a temporary change to the ocean temperature around the equator and the flow of warmer water on the coast.
However, the warm waters haven't abated, and the plant and sea life that inhabit the Pacific's coastal waters are paying the price. Kelp beds have diminished, harmful algae blooms have taken root, animal life is compromised and fishing operations have been disrupted.
Studies done by Scripps scientist (who have over 100 years of data to consider) have identified climate change as the major contributor of the marine heatwaves. “Marine heatwaves have always occurred at Scripps Pier, however, the frequency and duration of these events have become more pronounced in recent years,” said Jimmy Fumo, Staff Research Associate at Scripps Institution of Oceanography.
Photo Credit: Big Stock