Smoke on the water: Sea smoke returns

    If you’re looking for warmth, your best bet is the ocean, and don’t be alarmed by the steam. 


    In Atlantic City, the current ocean temperature is 45 degrees — a whopping 31 degrees warmer than the air at 8:45 a.m.  

    The sharp temperature difference is similar further north up the coast in Allenhurst, Monmouth County, where Timmy Torchia shot the above image and posted on Instagram (@timmytorchia). 

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    The result is “sea smoke,” a phenomenon that only occurs during extreme cold. 

    Delaware Sea Grant explains:

    These smoky-looking plumes rising from the ocean surface can be seen when still cold air overruns the warm moist air at the sea surface. Because the surface air is so much warmer than the cold air above it, the moisture in the rising warm air quickly condenses into small water droplets (like seeing your breath on a cold day). This phenomenon is often observed in colder climates – for example in the Arctic, Antarctic, and along the coast of Maine. Autumn is the season when sea smoke is most typically observed, as cold blasts of polar air masses blow over warm Atlantic waters.

    So if you’re looking for warmth, go surfing

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