COLUMBIA, S.C. — According to NOAA, ocean temperatures off the coast of South Carolina are several degrees warmer than the average for this time of year. This increase in temperature can be due to several factors, including warm air temperatures and ocean currents.
The near record-breaking air temperatures this week is due to strong high pressure that has settled across the Eastern U.S. This has caused the ocean's surface to absorb more heat from the sun, leading to warmer water temperatures.
Ocean currents also play a significant role in regulating water temperature. South Carolina can experience warmer weather when the Gulf Stream is stronger than usual.
While warmer ocean temperatures may be enjoyable for beachgoers, they can have significant impacts on the environment. Warmer water temperatures can lead to changes in marine ecosystems – like migration changes in some fish species and growth of harmful algae blooms. It can also result in changes to weather patterns, with more moisture in the air, potentially leading to increased rainfall and even severe weather.