Warm Water Temps, Low Tides, Diminishing High Tides, and Venus
Warm water temperatures, into the 70s F over the past couple of months, won't last much longer. As fall approaches, shorter days and increasingly oblique solar radiation will mean that less and less energy will be supplied to the ocean waters offshore. These waters will soon be shedding more thermal energy than they receive, thereby keeping the coastal area comforably balmy for several weeks after the end of the summer-vacation season. Don't give up on the beach after Labor Day -- the water's only a bit cooler, and the beaches are relatively uncrowded.
A series of low tides late this month, associated with the new moon, are predicted for 2:26 a.m. on August 28 (-0.9 feet); 3:02 a.m. on August 29 (-0.9 feet); and 3:34 a.m. on August 30 (-0.8 feet). In mid-October of this year, minus tides will begin occurring during afternoon periods, a far more convenient time for exploring tidepools than the current wee-hour extreme low tides.
A series of diminishing high tides, starting Thursday evening, August 28, will set the stage for possible "grunion runs" early next week, particularly at or after midnight on Monday and Tuesday. The small, silvery grunion tend to spawn on wide, gently sloping beaches such as Silver Strand, Mission Beach, Pacific Beach, La Jolla Shores, and Del Mar. California law allows the taking of grunion in summer (except in those areas classified as ecological preserves) by those possessing a state fishing license. The grunion must be caught by the hands only, and should be eaten (not wasted).
The planet Venus, visible in the past month with some difficulty due to its low position in the west at dusk, finally attains a position of prominence as an "evening star" in September. By early October, Venus sets about 2 hours after the sun does. By the end of the year and into January, Venus will set some 3 hours after the sun goes down. Venus is so conspicuous during the peak of its evening-star phase that it has been "identified" many times as a hovering "UFO" by those not familiar with its striking brilliance in a clear sky.
More like this:
- June's Low Tide and Full Moon — June 13, 2011
- January's Extreme Tides, High Rainfall, and a Quiet Moon — Jan. 14, 2011
- Venus, Tides, and December Hikes — Dec. 1, 2010
- Low Tides and Grunion Rides — Aug. 8, 2010
- Low Tides, Grunion, Crescent Moon, Dawn Sky — July 30, 2008