Sea surface temperature and Oregon beaches

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Pacific City, Oregon (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – How much time do you get to spend feeling the Pacific Ocean water that rushes to the Oregon beaches?

If you’re a surfer, you are probably watching the conditions every day. If you like to hit the waves, likely you are focusing on wave height and period, wind direction and tide state. However, if you don’t often get to take a trip to the coast, you might only be interested in the sea surface temperature for relaxing on the beach and hitting the PNW water.

Station 46050 – STONEWALL BANK – 20NM West of Newport, OR  Courtesy NDBC

Now Oregon beaches aren’t exactly known for warm water, on the contrary, they offer relatively cold water for recreation. But you would be surprised with the delineation for warmer water versus cooler water on the Oregon coast. There are subtle changes from month to month and from beach to beach, but it could influence your trip. 

There is some reasoning behind water temperature differences from one beach to the next, and the main culprit is the Columbia River. In the summer, being closer to the mouth of the river will actually offer warmer water for the locations nearby.

There are a handful of beaches along the North Oregon Coast, but many popular spots are 20 to 30 miles south of Astoria and so on. Several other variables may influence sea surface water temperatures close to the shore, too. While we don’t see a lot of rain in the summer, a heavy rain can temporarily mess with temperature. Additionally, during a hefty stretch of time of offshore winds, that may cause temperature differences too. 

With that all in mind, we are now wrapping up the month of April, but below you can see a chart of a few sites and the temperature increase over the next 8 weeks or so.

This data is from NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI). Which “provides public access to one of the most significant archives for environmental data on Earth.”

Notice the difference between the site of Newport and Astoria.

Above a graph is attached of all the months and the increase or decrease in temperature from the summer to winter. Many of these locations like Seaside, may top off in the lower to mid 60s in August, depending on the situation at hand.  But as you can tell, it doesn’t get very warm at all. Water in Florida can top off in the 80s during the summer, which is much different than our beaches here in Oregon.

However, if you’re looking for a touch of warmth, you may want to find a beach closer to Astoria and the mouth of the Columbia River. Wetsuits are the way to go if you plan on getting in the water for an extended time.

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