Anyone Else Notice How Cold The Water Is Lately At NJ’s Beaches?
While I have to admit that I haven't been to the beach as much as I'd normally have liked to by this point during the season, I am a South Jersey native. I've been going to the beaches in Atlantic and Cape May Counties my entire life, so my opinion is a pretty solid one when it comes to something being off along the Jersey beaches.
I went to spend the day on the beach in Brigantine last week where, of course, I tried to take a dip in the water with my nephew since we had both been sitting on the hot sand for quite a while. He commented when we first got there that the water was cold, but I just brushed off the comment since he went right in to swim. How much could it have bothered him if he came back to the blanket to tell us that, but then turned around to go right back in?
I had just figured that since we were in the middle of a heat wave, maybe the water really was just that cool and refreshing compared to the heat radiating off the beach. Well, turns out I was wrong. I HAD to get up and go in with my nephew at one point because it was so blasted hot. When I walked in, however, I could barely keep my toes in for too long. By this time of year, the water is usually quite pleasant here along the Jersey shore. Honestly, I usually have no problem walking right into the surf in late July. By August, I'm usually diving right in.
Not this year. Apparently, I'm not the only one to notice, either.
So, I thought I'd do some Googling, and what I found out was that the colder ocean temperatures we've been experiencing are due to something known as upwelling. It's not an uncommon occurrence along Jersey's coastline, but it never usually happens for as long of a stretch as it has been lately.
A quick Google search will tell you that upwelling is what happens when wind pushes the water that's closer to the ocean's surface away from land, so colder ocean water from the depths fill in the gaps. That's why we've been seeing ocean temperatures as low as the 50s along some of Jersey's beaches lately.
So, how can you predict an upwelling event so you're not greeted by chilly water during your beach day? Well, you basically can't. Since it quite literally depends on the wind, the only thing you can bank on is if the wind is blowing, the ocean is moving. The thing experts can't predict, though, is the temperatures of the water below the ocean's surface. If the wind blows a lot of surface water away from land, then it's more likely you'll experience colder water when you dive into the waves.