Beachgoers all along the southern California coastline, stretching from San Diego to Huntington Beach, have been in for quite a surprise over the past week. To some, the shoreline covered with washed up dead Tuna Crabs comes as a disgusting and perplexing nuisance, but to surfers and ocean enthusiasts alike, they are a positive sign of a good thing: El Niño.
Experts are reporting that the thousands of red crabs, measuring 1-3 inches in length, that have washed up are a strong sign that El Niño will occur this summer. They migrated north along the Pacific currents from the coast of Mexico to escape the warmer water, ultimately washing up dead along the shore for many to see.
El Niño is the fabled climate event that unfolds periodically every 2-7 years when weak trade winds combine with warm water from the Western Pacific to allow warmer weather and water temperatures to stay long after the months of summer have come and passed. With the increase in tides, there is also a chance El Niño could bring about more tumultuous storms throughout the Southern California region overall.
Why is El Niño relevant? To those who care, the phrase means warmer water and a possible, but not guaranteed, increase in swell size for Southern California surfers, and that’s always a welcomed, yet fabled delight.