Scientists Study Pacific Coast Fog for Climate Change Clues

"Every summer, hordes of beach-goers seeking California sunshine are attracted to the Central Coast. Clad in bikinis and swim shorts, they hit the beach only to be greeted with a sobering surprise: a dense layer of coastal fog rolling off the bay."

"No stranger to locals, coastal fog during the summer is a regular feature of Central California. And though it can make for cool temperatures that dampen beach parties, fog actually plays an integral role in sustaining the wild lands that make the Monterey Bay area such a beautiful and diverse place. Recent evidence that fog may be disappearing from the California coast has alarmed scientists, however, as they are just beginning to discover the value of this maritime resource.

"What's important about fog is timing -- It occurs in the summer months when there is no rainfall in California," said Emily Limm, director of science at Save the Redwoods League, who is currently studying fog as part of a climate change initiative that includes sites at Big Basin State Park in Santa Cruz County as well as UC Santa Cruz Landels-Hill Big Creek Reserve in Monterey County. She explained that not only does fog provide much-needed water to plants in a time of drought, but it also acts to keep moisture in the ecosystem, much like putting a lid on a jar."

Lily Dayton reports for the Santa Cruz Sentinel August 14, 2011.

Source: Santa Cruz Sentinel, 08/15/2011