Bright sunshine and a cool Pacific breeze this late Tuesday afternoon on California’s north coast — no rain forecast until at least the first part of next week.
The season does cometh, though, and right now there’s memory’s worth of pleasure in the vivid-clear, near-cloudless weather.
Beyond expected rain and snow, the approaching El Niño has also enabled dangerous sea creatures to shift their living spaces — last week, two yellow-bellied sea snakes with a “very, very potent” venom were found near LA.
Dr. Paul Barber, professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at UCLA, told HuffPost: ‘“Simply put, they are here because the warmer El Niño conditions have expanded the range of suitable environmental conditions for this snake. This has also happened with other marine species like hammerhead sharks.”‘
(Illustration: ‘Yellow Bellied Sea Snake,’ by John Megahan, found here).
In our own northern California waters, we’ve already seen the arrival of out-of-the-area sea creatures — earlier this year, reports of an unprecedented migration of the Hopkins’ Rose sea slug due to warming ocean waters, and later, the Hopkins’ rose nudibranch, soft-bodied marine invertebrates, were discovered up here outside of their home zone.
I posted about them here and here.
Neither not dangerous, though.
Sea snakes, are still snakes. A warning from the environmental group Heal the Bay: ‘This exotic, incredibly venomous sea snake has been spotted off Oxnard, likely due to a climate change and El Niño double-whammy.’
Coastal waters in California have already seen the changes.
Via the Smithsonian yesterday:
Fishermen are noticing the warmer waters in their catch.
Just off San Diego’s coastline, bluefin tuna, yellowtail, and dorado (all typically fished in Mexico) are giving California fisherman an unusual season, reports Susan Murphy for KPBS.org.
Other changes already underway include seabirds dying because fish swimming deeper than normal in search of cooler waters and crabs dying as they crawl ashore fleeing the warm waters, writes Samantha Cowan for Takepart.com (via Yahoo! News).
To top it off, sharks may be appearing closer to shore.
Pools of warmth…