App lets swimmers check the ‘jellyfish forecast’

Michelle Basch,

WASHINGTON – There could be more jellyfish than usual this summer at area beaches … but don’t worry, there’s an app for that.

Sea nettles, a kind of jellyfish common in the D.C. area, typically start appearing around July or August. But Christopher Brown, an oceanographer for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, says they could appear earlier than usual and stick around longer this year.

Brown tells the Delaware Coast Press conditions are right for larger numbers of sea nettles too.

Thankfully, a helpful new tool is available ahead of this possible jellyfish invasion. Before the next visit to the Chesapeake Bay, swimmers can check the weather forecast and the jellyfish forecast.

For several years, a bunch of high-tech buoys placed all around the Bay have constantly monitored conditions like water temperature, wave height and salinity in real time.

Anyone, not just scientists, can check the reports online and through mobile apps.

Now, for the first time, visitors can look up the buoy nearest to them and check the “Sea Nettle Probability.

The predictions are based on how warm and salty the water is near a given buoy.

Sea nettles prefer a certain salinity and water temperatures between 79 and 86 degrees.

The smartphone app is available for both iPhone and Android devices. More information on the project is available on the Chesapeake Bay Interpretive Buoy System website.

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)

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