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New Website Provides Early Warning for Stinging Jellyfish

NettleFeel like going for a swim in the Chesapeake Bay, but don’t want to be stung by a jellyfish?

Well, if you went swimming near Annapolis yesterday (for example) you could feel confident that you’d only have an 8 percent chance of encountering a dreaded sea nettle.  That’s good information to have, especially if you’re taking kids to the beach.

But…how could I possible know this?  The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has launched a useful new web site that uses buoys with water temperature and salinity gauges and other sensors to calculate the relative chance of encountering stinging jellyfish.  It’s called  “CBIBS” for “Chesapeake Bay Interpretive Buoy Information System.”

Check it out here.  You can plug in one of several locations monitored around the Bay, and get a probability of a painful sting.

“Observations have shown that concentrations of sea nettles are found within a relatively narrow, well-defined range of temperature (79-86° F) and salinity (10-16 PSU),” according to the CBIBS site.

So swim with caution -- and knowledge.

By Tom Pelton

Chesapeake Bay Foundation

(Photo from NOAA)


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The related map at provides a good Bay-wide visual, too.

You can view a similar Baywide product we've had on DNR's Eyes on the Bay for a couple years. It uses NOAA's jellyfish prediction equation and our fixed station data at 80+ sites in Maryland's Chesapeake and Coastal Bays.

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