Excerpts from Jim Conrad's
Naturalist Newsletter

from the May 17, 2009 Newsletter, issued from the Siskiyou Mountains west of Grants Pass, Oregon:

I've mentioned how chilly the wind off the ocean was, and you saw how I was so bundled up in the Redwood forest, which was just five or so miles inland from the coast. Those cold temperatures were typical, so why?

The California Current runs from north to south off the Oregon coast, bringing colder water down from the north. That's only part of the reason for Oregon's cold beaches, though. Water upwells from deep ocean right off the coast. That water not only is cold but also rich in nutrients that nourish a rainbow of microorganisms on which vast numbers of fish feed. The upwelling is caused by prevailing northwesterly winds driving surface water in such a way that cold water from deep below is drawn up to replace the wind- displaced top water.

Therefore, wind blowing ashore has been cooled by the cold water below it. Another reason it was cold was simply because we're so far north here. At about 42° north we're at a longitude similar to that of Boston, MA and Grand Rapids, MI.