Scientists Pink Dye Ocean San Diego Torrey Pines
Photo credit: Alex Simpson
Scientists from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography recently dyed the ocean pink to study how small freshwater outflows interact with the surfzone. The project was conducted at Los Penasquitos Lagoon, located within Torrey Pines State Beach, where a river meets the ocean.

Rivers play a very important role in delivering freshwater and materials such as sediments as well as contaminants to the coastal ocean, but scientists wanted to find out how the plumes of more buoyant, fresher water interact with the denser, saltier and often colder nearshore ocean environment, especially when encountering breaking waves. The environmentally safe pink dye in the mouth of the estuary enables the research team to track the processes that take place when small-scale plumes of freshwater meet the surfzone.

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Scientists Pink Dye Ocean San Diego Torrey Pines

I’m excited because this research hasn’t been done before and it’s a really unique experiment. We’re bringing together a lot of different people with different expertise, such that I think it’s going to have some really great results and impacts. We will combine results from this experiment with an older field study and computer models that will allow us to make progress on understanding how these plumes spread,” said Sarah Giddings, Scripps coastal oceanographer.


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