In the past week my neck of the World Ocean has had the two highest recorded temperatures for this location (Scripps Oceanography Pier). Although my kids love the warm seawater (I do as well) the warm temperatures are alarming.
The water around from San Diego travels southward from Alaska on the California Current. It is a cool water current, that some would say cold. I will usually wear a 3mm wet suit, even in the summer if I will be spending more than 10 minutes in the water. But right now, it is bathwater. I have swum for over an hour with my kids without any wetsuits. It is a great feeling to swim in warm water, but knowing why the water was warm, makes my stomach turn.
Is warm the new normal? The folks at Scripps Oceanography say that this year's warm temperatures are a hold over from last years El Nino and, yes- global warming. So what does this mean for the ocean. Well from the top down, warm weather fish are migrating further north (good if you like tuna fishing). But traveling down the trophic pyramid, the distribution of macroalgae could be effected.
The giant kelp (Macrocystis) are a cold water organism. This new warm weather regime could put pressure on the further south kelp forests, reducing their ability to reproduce and persist. In warm years past, the kelp died off from areas in Mexico. I wonder if we will see this into Southern California in the years to come.
I am hopeful that we have the brain power to mitigate climate change. We need to train our kids to understand aquatic systems if they are going to be able to manipulate them. That is why we at Algae Research and Supply are here, to bring aquatic science to the front of everyone's attention.
Link to UC San Diego's Article: https://scripps.ucsd.edu/news/highest-ever-seawater-temperature-recorded-scripps-pier