Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
KPBS Midday Edition

Ocean Water Has Record Temperature Off San Diego Coast

Scripps Pier, where the ocean temperature has been taken daily for more than 100 years, on Aug. 25, 2020
Erik Anderson
Scripps Pier, where the ocean temperature has been taken daily for more than 100 years, on Aug. 25, 2020
A stretch of high temperatures in the 80s and 90s for San Diego is not that unusual in August - but with humidities also near 80-percent? That is not typical San Diego weather. However, it might be something we’re going to have to get used to. The heat and humidity we’ve been experiencing for the past two weeks can be traced back to changes in the earth’s climate - and those uncomfortable conditions could become more frequent in the coming years.

San Diego ocean temperatures hit record territory this past weekend, as a heatwave also baked the San Diego Region.

The record comes just weeks after the unseasonably cool ocean temperatures were recorded. Someone has taken the temperature at the end of Scripps Pier every day for more than 100 years.

Sunday’s reading tied for the hottest on record 79.5 degrees Fahrenheit. It tied the record that was set just two years ago.

RELATED: Researchers Warn A Warming Ocean Threatens Giant Kelp Forests

Two years before that, a warm water "blob" kept nearshore temperatures above average for 24 months, and researchers find the trend concerning.

“You occasionally get hot spells,” said Art Miller, a Scripps Institution of Oceanography researcher. “You occasionally get cold spells. But the hot spells are getting hotter and hotter as the decades pass.”

Miller worries longer spells of ocean warming will hurt the nearshore habitat that sustains fisheries and other marine life.

Ocean Water Has Record Temperature Off San Diego Coast

“We are seeing all along our coast typically warmer temperatures as the decades pass,” Miller said. “And we have to be concerned about that because the stratification of the ocean controls the upwelling of nutrients that feeds the base of our food web along our coast.”

Scientists are trying to gauge the impact of the warming trend as they study the long-term impacts of the changes.

Ocean Water Has Record Temperature Off San Diego Coast
Listen to this story by Erik Anderson.