Why the Ocean is So Chilly This Summer - NBC 10 Philadelphia

Why the Ocean is So Chilly This Summer

You can blame the wind for the unseasonably cold ocean temperatures



    Cold Oceans Impacting Local Businesses?

    For weeks, wind patterns have pushed warm water farther into the sea while cold water moves up from the bottom to replace it. At Long Beach Township, cold water temperatures have kept some people out of the water and has hurt some local businesses. NBC10's Ted Greenberg reports. (Published Wednesday, July 10, 2013)

    People visiting the Jersey Shore this summer may be in for a shock, when they dip their toes in the water.

    Right now, ocean temperatures are in the mid-50s. "That's quite a change from what people have been used to," says NBC10 Chief meteorologist Glenn "Hurricane" Schwartz.

    Schwartz says for the past few weeks, water temperatures have reached maybe as high as 62, but everytime it goes up, it goes right back down.

    For example, in Atlantic City, N.J., the average water temperature is typically 69 degrees, but right now it's 56 degrees.

    Colder Than Normal Ocean Temperatures

    [PHI] Colder Than Normal Ocean Temperatures
    NBC10 meteorologist Brittney Shipp explains why ocean temperatures are below average this summer.
    (Published Wednesday, July 10, 2013)

    The reason why has to do with the wind.

    "It doesn't seem logical, but when you get a wind from the Southwest-- day after day--instead of bringing in warmer water, what it does is that it takes the warmer water at the surface and pushes it out to sea," says Schwartz.

    NBC10 meteorologist Brittney Shipp shows us in this online video, that as the southwestly wind runs parallel to the shore, the warmer water is transported away from the shore. The colder water from underneath the surface then comes towards the shore, in what's known as upwelling.

    "Until you can change the wind direction, this process just continues so just as the ocean is trying to warm up, it gets pushed out to sea and the colder water comes right back up," says Schwartz.

    We put up a poll on the NBC10 Facebook page to find out if the chilly temperatures are preventing people from swimming at the shore, but the results were split evenly, although some people commented they felt "numb" after testing the waters.

    A change in wind direction is expected by Friday and this may make for ocean temperatures to be a little more tolerable by the weekend, according to Schwartz, but he says not to expect anything close to 70 degrees.