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Record ocean temperatures bring humans, sea-life to coast

Posted at 5:37 PM, Aug 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-25 11:00:33-04

Record high ocean temperatures are bringing large crowds to San Diego beaches. The warm water also has the potential to attract more stingrays and jellyfish to the area.

The Scripps Institute of Oceanography reports that surface ocean temperatures reached a record 79.5 degrees Sunday, which is more than ten degrees above normal. That, combined with unseasonably hot and humid weather, brought 333,680 people to City of San Diego beaches over the weekend, city lifeguards estimate.

Clarissa Anderson, executive director of the Southern California Coastal Ocean Observing System at Scripps Institute of Oceanography, said it's unclear what has led to the higher temperatures.

"The last several years we really have seen these anomalous temperatures every summer," she said, adding that the hot and humid water could be playing a role.

The warm waters could also attract more stingrays to plant themselves along the shallow sand and jelly fish in the water just off shore. People who don't shuffle their feet risk a sting from the ray, while jelly fish sting on contact.

"More people are going to the beach, warmer temperatures, nice water and so you've just got more people and more animals, higher probability of encounter," Anderson said.

Anderson said it was unclear how long these high temperatures would last. She noted the county had record low ocean temperatures - based on date of year - just a few weeks ago.