Swell Classification Guidelines
Significant: Winter - Swell 8 ft @ 14 secs or greater (11+ ft faces) for 8+ hours (greater than double overhead).
Summer - Head high or better.
Advanced: Winter - Swell and period combination capable of generating faces 1.5 times overhead to double overhead (7-10 ft)
Summer - Chest to head high.
Intermediate/Utility Class: Winter - Swell and period combination generating faces at head high to 1.5 times overhead (4-7 ft).
Summer - Waist to chest high.
Impulse/Windswell: Winter - Swell and period combination generating faces up to head high (1-4 ft) or anything with a period less than 11 secs.
Summer - up to waist high swell. Also called 'Background' swell.
Surf Heights for Hawaii should be consider 'Hawaiian Scale' if period exceeds 14 secs.
Monday, June 6, 2016
- Buoy 146 (Lanai): Seas were 2.4 ft @ 12.5 secs with swell 1.8 ft @ 12.6 secs from 184 degrees.
- Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 2.3 ft @ 12.8 secs with swell 1.6 ft @ 12.8 secs from 219 degrees. Wind northwest 2-4 kts. Water temperature 62.8 degs. At Santa Barbara swell was 0.8 ft @ 12.3 secs from 247 degrees. At Santa Monica swell was 1.7 ft @ 13.2 secs from 206 degrees. Southward from Orange County to San Diego swell was 1.8 ft @ 13.0 secs from 194 degrees.
- Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 5.7 ft @ 10.5 secs with northwest windswell 3.9 ft @ 10.9 secs and southern hemi swell 2.0 ft @ 14.1 secs. Wind northwest 2-4 kts. Water temp 55.8 degs.
Buoy 46059, Hi-res Buoys
On Sunday (6/5) in North and Central CA surf was chest high at top spots and clean but with some wind bump intermixed. At Santa Cruz surf was chest high on the sets and clean and still rideable coming from the south. In Southern California up north waves were waist high and clean but soft and inconsistent. Down south southern hemi swell was all but gone with a few waist high sets still showing with clean conditions. Top spots had chest high sets. Hawaii's North Shore was flat and clean. The South Shore was near flat with thigh high sets and clean conditions. The East Shore was flat and textured with light northeast trades.
See QuikCASTs for the 5 day surf overview or read below for the detailed view.
A summer time pattern is in control of the North Pacific. For the southern hemi a gale developed under under New Zealand on Fri (6/3) with 32-34 ft seas aimed northeast and a second one developing right behind it on Sat-Sun (6/5) with seas 36 ft seas aimed northeast and follow on energy is expected into Monday at 30-32 ft aimed north. Yet a third one is forecast developing in the Southeast Pacific further on Wed-Thurs (6/9) with 35 ft seas briefly building to 50 ft aimed northeast. A possible long run of swell to result. And yet more activity looks possible under New Zealand a week out. Something to monitor.
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis.cgius forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
On Sunday AM (6/5) no swell producing fetch is occurring and none is forecast for the next 72 hours.
The local California coastal pressure gradient is to have no effect either.
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
No tropical systems of interest are being monitored.
California Nearshore Forecast
On Sunday (6/5) a generally weak pressure pattern was over the CA coast with a light winds flow in effect. Weak high pressure is to try and build along the coast on Monday but mostly focused on the Pacific Northwest creating a gradient there and producing north winds at 20-25 kts reaching south to maybe Cape Mendocino. But generally light winds (less than 15 kts) are forecast from just south of Cape Mendocino southward. Light winds continue Tuesday with the gradient fading up north. Light winds are expected early Wednesday but high pressure is to start building later in the day focused on Pt Conception with north winds to 20 kts late after noon there and 15 kts north of there up to North CA. Thursday high pressure is to start ridging into the coast from a point north of Hawaii with north winds 15 kts over North and more of Central CA early building to 20-25 kts by late afternoon. 20-25 kts northwest winds to continue Friday and Saturday fading to 20 kts on Sunday (6/12).
On Sunday AM (6/5) the southern branch of the jet was forming a trough well southeast of New Zealand with 120 kts winds pushing northeast offering good support for gale development before fading just east of the dateline. From there the jet fell south and dove into Antarctica over the Southeast Pacific forming a ridge offering no hope. The northern branch was running west to east up at 22S and .cgiitting half way across the South Pacific and offering no troughs to support gale development. Over the next 72 hours additional wind energy is to build under New Zealand with winds to 150 kts on Mon (6/6) rebuilding the trough there and strengthening more later Tuesday to 170 kts setting up great support for gale development into Wed (6/8). Beyond 72 hours that trough is to fade while moving east into Thurs (6/9) still offering some support for gale development before totally collapsing Friday (6/10) with a weak ridge setting up under New Zealand with winds to 120 kts reaching down to to 70S. But another trough is suggested starting to develop on Sun (6/12) under New Zealand. Something to monitor.
On Sunday AM (6/5) tiny residual south swell from a gale previously in the Southeast Pacific was fading out in California.
Over the next 72 hours more swell production is expected from a series of 4 gales (detailed below).
On Thurs AM (6/2) a primer gale pushed under New Zealand generating 35 kt southwest winds and 27 seas at 55S 178E. Fetch moved east-northeast in the evening with 35 kts winds continuing aimed northeast and 28 ft seas at 53S 173W. This gale rapidly faded from there. No swell relative to North Hemi locations is expected but it will serve to rough up the ocean surface in preparation for more gale behind.
Tahiti: Swell arrival on Sunday (6/5) at sunset building into Mon AM (6/6) to 5.6 ft @ 15-16 secs (8.5 ft) from 205 degrees then being overtaken by stronger swell near sunset.
Hawaii: Expect swell arrival on Thurs (6/9) at sunrise at 1.8 ft @ 17-18 secs (3 ft) and building through the day, peaking at sunset at 2.3 ft @ 16 secs (3.5 ft). Swell fading Fri AM (6/10) from 2.3 ft @ 15 secs (3.0-3.5 ft). Swell Direction: 195 degrees
South CA: Small background swell to arrive on Sun (6/12) with swell pushing 2.1 ft @ 17 secs later in the day (3.0-3.5 ft). Swell Direction: 210
North CA: Small background swell to arrive on Sun (6/12) with swell pushing 1.8 ft @ 16-17 secs later in the day (3.0 ft). Swell Direction: 210
New Zealand Gale #1
On Fri AM (6/3) a solid fetch of 45 kt west southwest winds developed covering a large area under New Zealand with seas building to 31 ft at 60S 165E aimed east-northeast (196 degs HI, 211 degs SCal and shadowed by Tahiti, 211 degs NCal and barely unshadowed by Tahiti). The fetch lifted northeast in the evening with 40-45 kt southwest winds holding and seas 34 ft at 56S 180W (192 degs HI, 210 degs SCal and barely shadowed, 209 degs NCal and barely shadowed). The gale tracked east-northeast on Sat AM (6/4) but was fading with winds barely 35 kts with seas fading from 31 ft at 52S 169W (187 degs HI, 209 degs SCal and barely unshadowed, 207 degs NCal and shadowed). A rapid fade followed. A decent pulse of swell is expected to result for Tahiti, Hawaii and the US West Coast.
Hawaii: Expect swell arrival on Fri (6/10) near noon with swell period 18 secs and size ramping up from 2.1 ft @ 18 secs (3.8 ft with sets to 4.8 ft). Swell to start peaking at sunset with pure swell 2.3 ft @ 17-18 secs 4.0 ft with sets to 5.0 ft). Swell still solid on Sat (6/11) at sunrise as period hits 16 secs at 2.3 ft @ 16 secs (3.7 ft with sets to 4.6 ft). Swell Direction: Focused on 196 degrees
SCal: Rough estimates suggest swell arrival expected on Mon (6/13) near 1 AM with period 18 secs and size building. Swell to peak starting near 3 PM as period hits 17 secs. Pure swell 2.9 ft @ 17 secs (4.7 ft with sets to 5.9 ft. Swell Direction: 209-212 degrees
NCal: Rough estimates suggest swell arrival expected on Mon (6/13) near 3 AM with period 18 secs and size building. Swell to peak starting near 5 PM as period hits 17 secs. Pure swell 2.9 ft @ 17 secs (4.7 ft with sets to 5.9 ft. Swell Direction: 209-212 degrees
New Zealand Gale #2
Yet another gale developed under New Zealand on Sat AM (6/4) with 40-45 kt west winds and seas building. In the evening 45 kt southwest winds were moving east under New Zealand with seas building from 33 ft at 55S 180E (197 degs HI, 210 degs NCal and unshadowed, 211 degs SCal and shadowed). The fetch fragmented some Sun AM (6/5) with patches of 45 kt southwest winds and 36 ft seas at 55S 172W (188 degs HI, 206 degs NCal and shadowed, 207 degs SCal and unshadowed) embedded in a broad area of 30+ ft seas aimed northeast. 40 kt southwest winds to hold in the evening with 33 ft seas over a large area aimed northeast at 53S 167W (187 degs HI, 205 degs NCal and shadowed, 208 degs SCal and unshadowed). Fetch is to be fading on Mon AM (6/6) from 35 kts with seas fading from 32 ft over a solid area aimed more north-northeast at 50S 167W (182 degs HI, 207 degs NCal and shadowed, 209 degs SCal and unshadowed). Solid swell is possible and overriding swell from Gale #1 (above).
South Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
Marine weather and forecast conditions 3-10 days into the future
Beyond 72 hours the models suggest no swell producing fetch is to be in.cgiay other than local windswell.
The local California pressure gradient is to start producing north winds over North and Central CA starting Fri (6/10) at 20 kts building to maybe 25 kts by later Sat (6/11) resulting in small short period local north windswell for North and Central CA.
Beyond 72 hours yet another gale is to develop well southeast of New Zealand on Wed AM (6/8) with 45 kt southeast winds starting to get traction generating 34 ft seas over a smallish area at 49S 155W. A broader area of 45-50 kt south winds are to develop in the evening with seas building to 35 ft over a broader area at 45S 142W aimed northeast. On Thurs AM (6/9) a tiny area of 55 kt south fetch is to hold embedded in a broader area of 45+ kt south winds generating a tiny area of 48 ft seas at 48S 135W aimed north. In the evening fetch is to be fading from 45-50 kts aimed more to the east with seas forecast at 50 ft over a tiny area at 48S 125W targeting mainly Chile and Peru. Fetch is to be fading from there and moving out of the CA swell window.
There's suggestions that another gale is to be pushing under New Zealand on Sun (6/12) with 45 kt west winds and seas 32 ft aimed east. This is a long ways away but suggests the storm track is to remain active in the Southwest Pacific.
More details to follow...
La Nina Slowly Building
The Madden Julian Oscillation is a periodic weather cycle that tracks east along the equator circumnavigating the globe. It is characterized in it's Inactive Phase by enhanced trade winds and dry weather over the part of the equatorial Pacific it is in control of, and in it's Active Phase by slack if not an outright reversal of trade winds and enhanced precipitation. The oscillation occurs in roughly 20-30 day cycles (Inactive for 20-30 days, then Active for 20-30 days) over any single location on the.cgianet, though most noticeable in the Pacific. During the Active Phase in the Pacific the MJO tends to support the formation of stronger and longer lasting gales resulting in enhanced potential for the formation of swell producing storms. Prolonged and consecutive Active MJO Phases help support the formation of El Nino. During the Inactive Phase the jet stream tends to .cgiit resulting in high pressure and less potential for swell producing storm development. The paragraphs below analyze the state of the MJO in the Pacific and provide forecasts for MJO activity (which directly relate to the potential for swell production).
Overview: The 2014-2016 El Nino is fading out. La Nina is emerging.
KWGA/Equatorial Surface Wind Analysis & Short-term Forecast:
Analysis (TAO Buoys): As of Sat (6/4) east winds were over the entire equatorial Pacific including the Kelvin Wave Generation Area (KWGA). Anomalies were generally neutral to very weak west over the entire region. There was no indication of El Nino.
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): Very weak west anomalies were over the KWGA and are forecast slowly fade to neutral status through 6/12. Solid westerly anomalies are well east of the KWGA (south of California) and forecast to hold for the next week offering nothing.
Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East
Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:
OLR Models: As of 6/4 a dead neutral MJO signal was in.cgiay. The Statistic model projects a continuation for the next 2 weeks. The dynamic model depicts an Inactive pattern developing 1 week out and building in modestly in week 2. In all no enhancement of the jetstream is expected from the MJO.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (6/5) The ECMF model indicates the Active Phase of the MJO is over the West Pacific and is very weak and is to collapse eventually redeveloping weakly in the Indian Ocean. The GEFS model depicts the same thing, only weaker in the West Pacific initially and then getting stronger in the Indian Ocean 2 weeks out.
40day Upper Level Model: (6/5) A weak Active Phase of the MJO was over the West Pacific and is expected to slowly track east into Central America into 6/20. On 6/15 new stronger Inactive Phase of the MJO is to start pushing into the West Pacific reaching Central America on 7/8. A weak Active Phase to follow. .
CFS Model beyond 1 week (850 mb wind): This model suggests the Active Phase of the MJO was developing over the dateline with weak west anomalies in.cgiay offering minimal to no support for enhancing the jetstream. The model depicts a weak Active Phase continuing to produce weak west anomalies through 6/12. After that the MJO is to be weak with no real anomalies or at best weak west anomalies into 6/22. After that neutral anomalies if not weak east anomalies are to hold through 9/3. The low pass filter suggests the remnants of El Nino are shifting east and are now south of Hawaii (rather than in the KWGA) and offering nothing to enhance the jetstream and are to be all but gone by 9/3 positioned south of California.
CFSv2 3 month forecast for 850 mb winds, MJO, Rossby etc
Subsurface Waters Temps
TAO Array: (6/5) Actual temperatures are retreating daily. A pocket of 29-30 deg temps were building in the far West Pacific with the 28 deg isotherm line retreating west to 159W (loosing 1 deg per day). No El Nino subsurface anomalies remain. Neutral anomalies rule from the West Pacific to the east to 150W with weak negative anomalies east of there. Cool subsurface waters are at depth erupting east of 150W with -3 degs anomalies reaching east at depth to 120W (steady). The Kelvin Wave pipeline has been r.cgiaced with a cold river rushing east. But it appears to be not reaching Ecuador, but rather is westward di.cgiaced. Per the hi-res GODAS animation posted 5/28 one last weak pocket of +0.5 deg anomalies is confined to a shrinking area 175E to 170W. Cool waters at 3-4 degs below normal were in.cgiay under the entire width of the equator, undercutting any residual warm water above it and upwelling over a broad area of the East equatorial Pacific. La Nina has begun.
Surface Water Temps: The more warm water in the equatorial East Pacific means more storm production in the North Pacific during winter months (roughly speaking). Cold water in that area has a dampening effect. Regardless of what the atmospheric models and surface winds suggest, actual water temperatures are a ground-truth indicator of what is occurring in the ocean. All data is from blended infrared and microwave sensors.
Hi-res Nino1.2 & 3.4: (6/4) The latest images (1.2 3.4) indicates cooler than normal water continues over the equator region with negative anomalies along the coast of Peru (building some compared to days previous) pushing north and then extending west from Ecuador over the Galapagos building west to 157W peaking at -1.5 degs over a good portion of that area now. La Nina is firmly in control of surface waters, though remnant El Nino warm water is 3 degs north and south of the equator. No warm water remains anywhere in the Nino regions on the equator.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (6/3): A neutral trend is along Chile and Peru with cooler than normal waters from the Galapagos west out to 160W. A previous mirror image (though weaker) of that trend has faded some in the Atlantic tracking west from Africa. Temps are holding along the California coast due to slackening of high pressure driven northwest winds. The PDO warm pool is holding solidly from Oregon out to Hawaii and west from there to the Philippines.
Hi-res Overview: (6/3) The El Nino signal is dissipating. A clear La Nina cool water pool is tracking firmly from Ecuador and building in width on the equator from west of the Galapagos out to near 165W. A generalized pattern of +1-2 deg above normal temps remains 3 degs north and south of the equator and west of 160W. Cooler water is over the dateline in the North Pacific with warm water off the Pacific Northwest streaming over Hawaii looking very much like the classic Active PDO pattern.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (6/5) Today's temps were rebounding after falling a week ago, now at +1.012.
Nino 3.4 Daily CDAS Index Temps: Today (6/5) temps continue falling and are now well in negative territory at -0.370 degs attributable to a developing La Nina cool pool.
Comparing Stongest El Ninos in the last 50 year - ERSSTv4 'centered' data
Pacific Counter Current: As of 5/22 the current was strong continuously from the east on the equator from 90W to 150E. Anomalies were strong from the east over the same area. There were no pockets of west anomalies indicated. La Nina is firmly entrenched based on this data, which is normal for this point in the El Nino lifecycle.
SST Anomaly Projections
CFSv2 Uncorrected Data (6/5) indicates temps on a steady downward trajectory falling to -0.75 degs early July then holding there into Nov, easing down to -1.1 degs in early Dec then slowly rising in Jan 2017. This is solid La Nina territory but it's up from the -1.5 and -1.25 degs indicated even a few weeks ago.
IRI Consensus Plume: The mid-May Plume depicts temps falling steadily from here forward, down to -0.7 by Sept then starting to drift higher to -0.6 in February, See chart here - link.
Atmospheric Co.cgiing (Indicating the presence of El Nino in the atmosphere driven by the ocean):
Southern Oscillation Index (5/31): The daily index was steady at 4.60. The 30 day average was rising from 3.22, transitioning from negative to positive for the first time in 2 years on 5/27. The 90 day average was rising from -6.63. El Nino was still evident in the 90 day average, but even that will soon be a distant memory.
ESPI (like SOI but based on satellite confirmed precipitation): (6/5) Today's value was falling at -0.55. It peaked on 3/12 at +1.57 then fell until 4/14, when it started rising again peaking 4/23 at +1.12. But it has been falling steadily ever since.
Pacific Decadal Oscillation: The PDO continues solid. Per NOAAs index recent values (Jan-May) have been +0.79, +1.23, +1.55, +1.60, and +1.45. The Washington EDU index for the Jan-April period indicates +1.54, +1.75, +2.40 and +2.62. April's value was the highest it's been since 1941. The PDO turned from a 6 year negative run (2008-2013) in early 2014 and has been mostly above +1.5 all of 2015. Looking at the long term record, it is premature to conclude that we have in-fact turned from the negative phase (La Nina 'like') to the positive phase (El Nino 'like'), but the data suggests that could be a real possibility. We've been in the negative phase since 1998 through at least 2013 (15 years). By the time it is confirmed (4-5 years out), we will be well into it.
See imagery in the ENSO Powertool
External Reference Material: El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO), Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO), Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO), Southern Oscillation Index (SOI), Kelvin Wave
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Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table