Saturday, November 28, 2015

Warm water, Jersey sharks

The ocean is mighty warm, and that may explain the Jersey sharks.

Warm water, Jersey sharks


Anywhere from 25 million to 70 million sharks are killed by humans annually. Evidently, two got away.

Two sharks were sighted near the surf in the Seaside Park area, the Associated Press reports. And shark expert George H. Burgess isn't the least-bit surprised.

Burgess, the shark-research director at the Florida Museum of Natural History, figures the finned ones are summer visitors from down his way, perhaps sandbars or duskys.

The Atlantic waters all the way to Newfoundland are quite warm, on average over 3 degrees above normal, and that may explain why these southerners have strayed so far north.

"They are a lot like Yankee tourists in their patterns," said Burgess. It's not that they don't enjoy the Florida waters, it's just that they are perfectly happy to enjoy the pickings elsewhere if the waters are accommodating.

"If temperatures begin to get warmer, faster, then the sharks are likely to move up at a faster pace and in greater abundance," he said. "You may have an August-level abundance in July. So, basically, that's what you're seeing."

He noted that if temerpatures begin to get warmer, faster, then the sharks are likely to move up at a faster pace and in greater abundance.

"You may have an august-level of abundance in July. So basically, that’s what you’re seeing.” He noted a recent shark sighting near Martha's Vineyard.

A shark sighting, in his view, is not necessarily a crisis. In fact, he calls it "nothing to be concerned about."

He added that a decent scientific estimate of the numbers of sharks killed by humans is anywhere from 25 million to 70 million. The Human Society puts it at the high end. Whether it's 25 or 70, the story line is clear. Says Burgess:

"It's more a story of man attacks shark rather than shark attacks man."


Inquirer Weather Columnist
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Everyone talks about the weather, and here we write about it.

When we’re around and conditions warrant, we’ll keep you updated about what’s coming, but we will do our best always to discuss weather and climate developments in context and remind you that nothing in the atmosphere happens in a vacuum.

Tony Wood has been writing about the atmosphere for The Inquirer for 26 years.

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