Sea breezes from the west and northwesterly direction are the most common and consistent winds in Southern California. They are the trade winds, which blow off the Pacific Ocean as result of high pressure circulating off shore. They usually begin to blow in the late morning hours and increase into the late afternoon. In the late evening and early morning hours, the winds can temporarily shift direction as air cools inland and flows off shore.

This pattern changes when low-pressure disturbances encounter the west coast or when high pressure builds up inland and blows off shore in a northeasterly direction. These conditions are most common during the fall, winter, and spring months and can vary greatly each year depending on global weather patterns.

Wind is also largely responsible for changes in water temperature. West and northwesterly winds usually cause cooler water temperatures. South and southwesterly winds usually help warm the water temperatures in Southern California.