The news reports are frightening. In the height of the summer tourist season, there has been a huge spike in shark attacks along the North Carolina coast. One shark researcher explains that in addition to the rise in attacks, there was a corresponding rise in temperature. A week-long heat wave that pushed temperatures into the triple digits from a more seasonable 85 degrees caused the ocean water to also get warmer. Rather than water temps gradually going up, as they normally do in the summer months, the heat wave caused a much more rapid rise in the ocean temperature.
When ocean temperatures rise, marine migration patterns increase. Rather than schools of fish migrating through the sea over a period of weeks or months, the warmer water caused migration to speed up. Hot weather causes more people to head to the beach, right around the time more fish, and in turn more predators like sharks are also around. Check out this video for an explanation of why these attacks are on the increase. And swim safe!