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June Gloom especially intense in 2017 along California coast

The Weather Network logo The Weather Network 6/10/2017 The Weather Network: News

It's that time of year when many head down to the southern California beaches looking for sunshine and warm temperatures.

If you are one of the many looking to bask in the sun and enjoy the summer like heat, be patient, because June Gloom is here to stay and will stick around at least for a few more weeks.

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This atmospheric phenomenon starts in late May, extends through the entire month of June and sometimes well into July. It is common along much of the California coastline during the first half of the day, although on occasions it can persist for days with no sunshine at all.

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Satellite Image of June Gloom along California coast. Credit: NASA

The essential ingredients for this atmospheric phenomenon to occur include:

• A deep marine layer

• Cool ocean temperatures

• A temperature inversion caused by subsidence

• A weak onshore flow

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June Gloom atmospheric conditions.

During the late Spring and early Summer skies are frequently overcast along the California coast. May and June are the cloudiest months in many areas, and during years when SSTs along the coast are cooler than usual, conditions become even more favorable for a June Gloom scenario.

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Photo of Santa Monica June Gloom courtesy of Mario Picazo.

The stratus clouds formed by the marine layer usually move into the coast during late evening or early nigh time hours with the onshore flow. When the cloud deck is very thick fog and drizzle can also appear along immediate coastal areas.

A temperature inversion is needed to prevent the surface air from mixing and thus dissipating the cloud deck. When an inversion is present, with subsiding air above, the stratus deck strengthens and becomes more persistent throughout the day.

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Image courtesy of the National Weather Service.

The inversion layer, together with the temperature contrast between the very cool air at the surface due to the cold ocean waters, and the warm air above the marine layer, makes the atmosphere very stable.

The deck of clouds will normally flow inland as far as the windward side of the coastal mountain ranges. However, as the day progresses and sunshine begins to heat the inland surfaces, the clouds will begin to dissipate from inland areas towards the coast.

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SST anomalies map for the week.

This year cold SSTs are the norm off much of the California and even Baja California coast. These oceanic conditions are actually favoring the formation of deeper marine layer with a thicker deck of clouds that is very persistent day after day, and that's is hard to burn off as the day progresses.

So if you are on a Southern California beach looking for that pre-summer tan these days, be patient, by the afternoon hours you will likely see the sun.

If you are not the patient kind, and what an early morning start on your sunshine dose, you will have to change the beach for a pool and look for it a few miles inland away from the deep coastal marine layer.

June Gloom especially intense in 2017 along California coast © The Weather Network: News June Gloom especially intense in 2017 along California coast
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