Distinct Disparities: Unraveling the Unappealing Aspects of California’s Ocean Waters Compared to Other Regions

Did you think all ocean waters are the same? Think again ! California’s waters hold some unpleasant surprises compared to those of other regions. Let’s discover together these differences which could well make you reconsider your next swims.

The state of California is well known for its superb climate and magnificent beaches. But swimming enthusiasts risk being surprised by a less enchanted reality: the water of theocean Pacific which borders these coasts. At first glance, the water may seem inviting, but don’t be fooled. No matter the season,ocean California is incredibly cold, with temperatures rarely above 21 degrees Celsius.

Why is California water so cold?

California waters are influenced by several natural factors. First of all, the California Current plays a major role. This current carries frigid waters from Alaska to the coast of California, creating a feeling of coolness even in summer.

Another phenomenon called upwelling also helps cool coastal waters. When the wind combines with the Earth’s rotation, it causes cold water to emerge from the depths of the ocean toward the surface. This phenomenon is also responsible for the famous “June Gloom”, a period when the sky is covered with clouds and fog, making the water even less attractive.

California water temperatures compared to other regions

If you find California water cool, you may be surprised to know that some popular destinations like Florida and the Hawaii offer much more pleasant temperatures. In Florida, the water can reach temperatures even exceeding 37 degrees Celsius in summer, a stark contrast to the 50 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit typically encountered in California.

California destinations with exceptionally low water temperatures

In California, some beaches are famous for their freezing temperatures. For example, Del Mar, an upscale coastal town in San Diego County, recorded an April 2023 water temperature of 52.25 degrees Fahrenheit (about 11 degrees Celsius), well below seasonal averages. Bodega Bay, near San Francisco, is not to be outdone, with temperatures reaching just 8 degrees Celsius in June 2022.

The impact of climate variations on Californian waters

According to scientists like Lyall Bellquist of the Nature Conservancy, extreme temperature differences are a consequence of climate change. It’s not just about warming, but also about more frequent and more extreme temperature variations. A study led by Cal Poly indicates that the upwelling phenomenon could help combat the negative effects of climate change, helping to keep marine ecosystems protected from heat waves.

Californian beaches, another concern: pollution

Besides freezing temperatures, California beaches also suffer from a reputation for harsh pollution. In 2023, the pier of Santa Monica was named one of the most polluted beaches in Heal the Bay’s annual report, due to water contaminated by stormwater runoff. Other beaches like Mother’s Beach in Marina Del Rey and Linda Mar Beach in Pacifica are also on this unenviable list.

For swimmers, it is therefore recommended to take some precautions: bring a sweater and a change of clothes, or even invest in a neoprene wetsuit to withstand the freezing temperatures. For those who prefer to avoid the water, enjoy an evening campfire on one of California’s beautiful beaches instead.