If you spend more than a few days inside San Francisco Bay, you’ll experience the phenomenon of microclimates. If you travel within San Francisco, you can experience several microclimates just traveling from the bayside waters to the breakers on the coastal shore. These are not minor events. There have been days in San Francisco when dewfall has been heavy enough to need windshield wipers in the Sunset, yet sunscreen is required in the bleachers at AT&T Park. These are seven miles apart; the tallest geographic feature between them is less than one thousand feet high.

This effect becomes less pronounced but doesn’t disappear entirely as you move away from San Francisco. The combined effects of geography and water depth smooth the ranges of temperature. You have the option of a cool coastal drive from Pacifica to Santa Cruz, or a warm cruise from Millbrae to San Jose.  It can be downright toasty along the spine of the mountains from Highway 92 to Highway 9.
All this is a prelude to the three pictures below:


Coming out of the trees in Highway 35, you are presented with an awesome display of the “natural air conditioning” effect. As inland temperatures rise, the cool air over the deep ocean waters offshore condenses as fog and is pulled into the bay, and from here it flows like a river over the mountains and in to the upper bay.


Downtown San Francisco sits amid the mist like a cherry sitting in a bed of whipped cream.


Looking to the sunny warm south bay, where the water is shallower than the northern reaches and the high, deep Santa Cruz Mountains keep the marine layer from penetrating inland. On this day my ambient temperature gauge reached a high of 91 degrees at Alpine and Portola Road in Woodside.

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1 Response to Microclimates

  1. John Gomez says:

    nice shots. we live in the best state. one caption on Soup said the road into Laguna Seca is better than most racetracks in the US. most roads in CA are in need of repair – but, still more fun than most rectangular states.

    Date: Wed, 15 Aug 2012 06:24:53 +0000 To: johngomez6@hotmail.com

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