Ask the Meteorologist: Coastal Climates

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Ask the Meteorologist

Why are the high and low temperatures around Brookings always about the same?

Matthew Grigsby, RCC

The main influence on coastal climates is the body of water that borders them. For the Oregon Coast, this is the Pacific Ocean. Although West Side Valleys are fairly close to the ocean, in terms of our temperatures, we don’t see much an influence.

The amount of moisture in the air has a large impact on the amount of warming & cooling that takes place. Inland, where air tends to stay fairly dry, we have large differences between our morning lows and afternoon highs. At the Coast on the other hand, a lot of moisture is present from the Pacific. This keeps temperatures warmer at night, and also in the afternoons ..leaving less of a temperature difference between morning & night.

In the winter the ocean is warmer than the air temperatures. Through this time of year, this keeps temperatures mild ..even when inland areas are super cold. A perfect example was yesterday — the highs at the Coast were in the mid 50’s, while inland locations struggled to warm into the 30’s.

Meteorologist Alyssa Caroprese