SAN DIEGO –Water temperatures have plunged to record lows in Del Mar, California with Scripps Institution of Oceanography recording 52.25 degrees Wednesday.
The frigid water surprised beach goers and piqued the interest of scientists across the county.
“When people think about climate change, they think about gradual warming temperatures,” said Dr. Lyall Bellquist from the Nature Conservancy. “But what else comes with climate change is increased variability. And when you have more variable temperatures, you have more extremes happening more often.”
The cold water is in stark contrast to the record high temperatures recorded in the water in Del Mar in the last few years with lifeguards recording an extreme high temperature of 84 degrees just two years ago.
According to Bellquist, this cold snap can assist in the environmental recovery of sensitive areas.
“The cold water really helps our local kelp forests, for example, relay on cold nutrient rich high flow water that really benefits the kelp forest ecosystem and all the species that depend on it,” said Dr. Bellquist.
Experts believe it took a combination of factors to bring up the cold upwelling of water.
“Freezing storms in San Diego, cooler temperatures than normal La Nina giving us cooler then usual water temperatures,” said Dr. Pat Abbott, a professor from SDSU. “Water temperatures are currently on the rise, but the cold bite is still in the water. If you plan on going surfing, full suit booties and a hood would be advised.”