Weather with Cliff Mass
9:13 am
Fri September 14, 2012

Why the water at Washington's beaches is so cold

Nevermind the predictable weather for this weekend (cloudy mornings, sunshine breaking through, temps in the 70's) -- KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass wants to talk about a strange phenomenon along the Washington coast.

The water temperatures on any of our coastal beaches -- along the Olympic coast, at Ocean Shores, Westport or Long Beach -- is typically in the 40s or low 50s, says Mass, a professor of Atmospheric Science at the University of Washington.

That's cold.

But, if you could take a boat 20 miles off-shore, and jump in the water there, you'd find it much warmer.

"It's radically warmer. You would notice the difference if you jumped into the water," says Mass.

For a full explanation as to why that's the case -- and how it relates to summer fog in San Francisco -- click the "listen" button above.

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Do you have a weather question? Cliff Mass and Keith Seinfeld occasionally answer reader questions on the air. Share yours at the bottom of our Questions page (you can click on Discussion and see the "newest").

The weekly KPLU feature "Weather with Cliff Mass" airs every Friday at 9 a.m. immediately following BirdNote, and repeats twice on Friday afternoons during All Things Considered. The feature is hosted by KPLU’s Science and Health reporter Keith Seinfeld. Cliff Mass is a University of Washington Professor of Atmospheric Sciences, a renowned Seattle weather prognosticator, and a popular weather blogger. You can also subscribe to a podcast of “Weather with Cliff Mass” shows.