Ocean temperatures along and near the New Jersey coast have averaged between five and 10 degrees above normal since late last year, a phenomenon that has intrigued some scientists and has excited area residents and fishermen.
The mild winter meant that water retained much more heat than usual. When the weather warmed quickly this spring, it took significantly less time for the ocean's temperature to rise.
Additionally, the tranquil winter brought few storms to churn up the water. Combined with significantly fewer days this summer of strong westerly winds that create upwelling, the water warmed quickly and has stayed warm, reports Josh Kohut, an oceanographer with Rutgers University.
Winter's lowest recorded ocean surface water temperature was about 40 degrees, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The surface water temperature reached the mid-70s in June and the low 80s by July. A typical water temperature in June is in the mid-60s and in the mid-70s by July.
by SARAH WATSON