Upwelling brings cooler waters to the Carolinas - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Nutrient-Rich and Cooler Waters Have Arrived

Upwelling brings cooler waters to the Carolinas

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Upwelling is a natural phenomenon that happens all over the world, but what exactly is it? Upwelling, in layman's terms, is cooler, deep water being brought up to the surface due to winds blowing offshore or just parallel to the coastline. This not only cools off our waters, but it also brings in nutrients from deep below the surface. The nutrients increase the amount of fish in the area, and also can bring dolphins and other marine life closer to the coast. 

Using some of the pictures as an aid, imagine winds blowing offshore. The warm surface waters are pushed out away from the coast, and in turn, the cooler waters underneath are forced up, and voila! Upwelling! Try to think of a hot cup of tea. When you blow on it to cool it off, you're pushing the liquid towards the opposite end of the cup. The more you try to cool off your tea, the more you mix in the cooler air, and  the cooler your tea gets. The same concept can be applied to upwelling. 

Locally, this has impacted water temperatures in a way that many are pleased about. At the end of June, water temperatures were running near 85 to 86 degrees along our beaches. Now, in the middle of July, our water temperatures are running anywhere from 79 to 82 degrees. This comes as a refreshing change, especially after the heat of this summer.

The NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) also states that the opposite can occur: downwelling. It is essentially the same, but instead of warm ocean waters being blown away from the coast, they're pushed against the coast and forced down to the bottom, creating warmer water temperatures. 

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