Sunday, June 11, 2017
- Buoy 146 (Lanai): This buoy is down and there is no backup site and no date if or when it will return to service.
- Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 4.1 ft @ 6.2 secs with swell 3.4 ft @ 6.3 secs from 265 degrees. Wind west 2-4 kts. Water temperature 63.0 degs. At Ventura (Buoy 111) swell was 2.1 ft @ 7.9 secs from 267 degrees. At Santa Monica (Buoy 028) swell was 3.2 ft @ 6.3 secs from 264 degrees. At Camp Pendleton (Buoy 043) swell was 0.8 ft @ 15.9 secs from 216 degrees. Southward at Pt Loma (Buoy 191) swell was 3.3 ft @ 7.8 secs from 271 degrees.
- Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 5.8 ft @ 10.0 secs with swell 3.2 ft @ 9.5 secs from 319 degrees. Wind northwest 19-23 kts at the buoy. Water temp 56.5 degs.
46006, 46059, Hi-Res Buoy Dashboards (bottom of the page)
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.
On Sunday (6/11) in North and Central CA local north windswell was producing surf at chest high or so and blown to bits by strong northwest winds. Full whitecaps early. Protected breaks were waist to chest high and blown out with whitecaps early. At Santa Cruz minimal background southern hemi residual swell was producing waves at maybe thigh high on the sets and clean early but white capped outside the kelp. In Southern California up north windswell was producing minimal waves at thigh high and clean early. In North Orange Co north windswell was producing waves to waist high and textured from south wind. In South Orange Co sets of indeterminate source were waist high and lightly chopped from south winds. In San Diego northwest windswell was producing surf at thigh high and weak and pretty warbled. Hawaii's North Shore was flat and clean. The South Shore was near flat with thigh high sets and clean. The East Shore was getting no real east windswell with waves knee high and chopped from modest east trades.
See QuikCASTs for the 5 day surf overview or read below for the detailed view.
On Sunday (6/11) no swell of interest was hitting any breaks in our forecast area. Tiny swell from a gale previously in the Gulf of Alaska was pushing towards the Pacific Northwest and California. And raw local windswell is expected for California for the next 7 days. Down south a small gale developed under New Zealand Sat-Sun (6/11) tracking east with up to 41 ft seas aimed east. An even smaller weather system is to develop just east of New Zealand Tues-Wed (6/14) with up to 43 ft seas tracking northeast. So there's some hope for small southern hemi swell about 8+ days out. In the meantime, windswell will be the best option.
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
On Sunday (6/11) modest high pressure was centered 900 nmiles north of Hawaii ridging into the US West Coast generating 20 kt northwest winds over all of North and Central CA resulting in raw local northwest windswell. East winds at 15 kts were being generated off the south side of the high also but mainly focused on points north of Hawaii not offering any windswell of interest. Otherwise small swell from a low pressure system previously in the Gulf of Alaska was pushing towards the US West Coast (see Gulf Low Pressure System below).
Over the next 72 hours high pressure is to hold position north of Hawaii on Monday (6/12) with north winds continuing at 20 kts along the North and Central CA coast making for short period junky windswell. By Tuesday (6/13) the high is to start moving east with the gradient getting better defined and north winds building in coverage from the Channel Islands northward to Cape Mendocino at 20-25 kts. Windswell getting better defined but still tucked close along the coast meaning conditions will be raw.
For Hawaii trades to continue at 15 kts from the east and moving south of their current position, aimed more directly at East Shores of the Islands by Tues (6/13) and continuing on Wednesday offering somewhat better odds for small very short period windswell to result, but nothing great.
Gulf Low Pressure System
A low pressure system developed in the Northwestern Gulf of Alaska on Fri AM (6/9) starting to produce 25-30 kt west winds over a small area and starting to get traction on the oceans surface. By evening 35-40 kt west fetch built over a small area aimed east with seas building to 19 ft at 50N 160W aimed east. Fetch faded Sat AM (6/10) to 30 kts from the west over a small area with seas building to 20 ft at 50N 155W. The low dissipated from there in the evening with winds dropping from 25 kts from the west and seas fading from 15 ft at 52N 151W. Small windswell possible.
North CA: Swell arrival on Tues (6/14) at 6 PM pushing 3.1 ft @ 12 secs (3.5 ft). Swell Direction: 300 degrees
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
No tropical systems of interest are being monitored.
California Nearshore Forecast
On Sunday (6/11) high pressure was ridging into the coast from a position 900 nmiles north of Hawaii generating a pressure gradient and north winds at 15-20 kts along the entire North and Central Coasts down over the Channel Islands building to 25 kts in pockets later. Monday north winds to hold steadily along the North and Central coast at mostly 20 kts and up to 25 kts over Pt Conception. Tuesday (6/13) the gradient is to build while lifting north some with north winds 20-25 kts over North and Central CA continuing on Wed (6/14) and Thurs (6/15). Friday the gradient to building some with nearly 30 kt north winds over North CA and 20-25 kts down to Pt Conception. The gradient to lift a little north on Saturday and then become focused over North CA on Sunday (6/18) with north winds to 30 kts and and eddy flow (south winds) possible for Central CA later.
On Sunday AM (6/11) a split zonal flow was in effect with the northern branch tracking east on the 26N latitude line and the southern branch running east on the 61S latitude line with a mild trough under new Zealand but with no real winds associated with it and then the jet ridged south down to 72S over the Central and East South Pacific. There was no indication of support for gale development in lower levels of the atmosphere. Over the next 72 hours starting Mon (6/12) 160 kt southwest winds to start building south of Tasmania feeding development of a trough there pushing more directly to the north on Tues (6/13) at 140 kts with the trough lifting north and tracking east into early Wed (6/14) before fading and becoming cutoff. Good support for gale development in lower levels of the atmosphere. By Thurs (6/15) a return to a split flow is to set up with the southern branch ridging southward down at 70S by Fri (7/16) then easing off some by Sun (6/18). No support for gale development is indicated
On Sunday (6/11) swell from a gale that developed under New Zealand was tracking northeast towards Hawaii and California (see New Zealand Storm below).
Over the next 72 hours another gale is to develop well south of Tasmania on Mon AM (6/12) with 45 kt southwest winds starting to get traction on the oceans surface. By evening a fetch of 45 kt southwest winds is to be lifting northeast with seas building to 34 ft at 52S 166E. On Tues AM (6/13) the storm is to lift northeast and centered just southeast of New Zealand with winds 50 kts from the south with seas 39 ft at 50S 172E but covering only a small area. On Tues PM (6/13) a small fetch of 45 kt south winds is to be pushing north just east of New Zealand with 40 ft seas at 45S 178E. On Wed AM (6/14) fetch is to be fading from 40 kts generating 39 ft seas at 40S 178W. In the evening south winds to be fading from 35 kts with seas 32 ft at 38S 173W. This system is to be gone on Thurs AM (6/15).
Possible solid short lived swell for Tahiti given it's close proximity there. A decent pulse of energy is possible for Hawaii too. Lesser energy for the US West Coast given the small fetch size of this system and longer travel distance. This system is worth monitoring.
New Zealand Storm
A storm developed southwest of New Zealand on Fri PM (6/9) with 55 kt west winds over a small area aimed east with seas building from 36 ft at 57S 141E. On Sat AM (6/10) winds were fading but still 55 kts from the west while tracking east with seas building to 44 ft over a small area at 58.5S 153E (220 degs NCal and SCal and unshadowed, shadowed relative to HI by NZ). Fetch was fading from 40 kts in the evening with 41 ft seas at 59S 165E (198 degs HI and unshadowed, 212 degs NCal and unshadowed, 211 degs SCal and shadowed). Fetch was rebuilding to 45 kts from the east Sun AM (6/11) south of New Zealand with seas fading from 36 ft at 60S 172.5E (209 degs NCal and 210 degs SCal and both shadowed, 192 degs HI and unshadowed). The gale is to dissipate from there with 40 kt west winds Sun PM and seas fading from 34 ft at 61S 180W (190 degs HI, 202 degs NCal and 203 degs SCal and unshadowed). the gale is to be gone from there. Possible sideband swell to result targeting Hawaii and far more direct energy for NCal and shadowed energy from Southern CA.
Hawaii: Swell arrival Sat (6/17) building to 1.6 ft @ 15 secs (2.0-2.5 ft). Swell fading Sun (6/18) from 1.6 ft @ 13-14 secs (2.0 ft). Swell Direction: 192-198 degrees
Southern CA: Expect swell arrival Mon afternoon (6/19) with period 20 secs. Swell Direction: 202-220 degrees focused on 220 degrees
North CA: Expect swell arrival Mon afternoon (6/19) with period 20 secs. Swell Direction: 203-220 degrees focused on 220 degrees
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 starting Wednesday (6/14) high pressure is to continue tracking east centered 700 nmiles west of Pt Conception continuing the gradient with north winds 20-25 kts hugging the coast and still producing windswell. At the same time low pressure is to be tracking north of it producing another gradient with southwest winds 35 kts Wed PM with seas building to 15 ft at 41N 140W. Some longer period windswell to result. That low is to depress the gradient some on Thurs (6/15) but north winds to still be in play at 20-25 kts from north of Pt Arena south to Pt Conception. By Friday (6/16) the low is to fade with the gradient building and lifting north with north winds 20-25 kts becoming centered over North CA on Sat (6/17) building to almost 30 kts and then fully centered over Cape Mendocino on Sun (6/18) with north winds 30+ kts and windswell increasing north of Pt Conception with an eddy flow starting to build over Central CA. Cleaner longer period windswell is possible for Central CA at that time.
Trades to start fading in coverage on Thursday (6/15) east of the Islands as the high pressure system moves east, with windswell generation potential fading for East Shore of the Hawaiian Islands by Fri (6/16).
Beyond 72 hours no swell producing fetch of interest is forecast.
More details to follow...
Upwelling Redevelops Along Peru
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 equator it is in control of, and in it's Active Phase by slackening if not an outright reversing trade winds while enhancing 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 planet, 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 in the Pacific help support the formation of El Nino. During the Inactive Phase the jet stream tends to split resulting in high pressure and less potential for swell producing storm development. Wind anomalies in the Kelvin Wave Generation Area (KWGA) are key for understanding what Phase the MJO is in over the Pacific. The KWGA is located on the equator from 135E-170W and 5 degs north and south (or on the equator from New Guinea east to the dateline). West wind anomalies in the KWGA suggest the Active Phase of the MJO in the Pacific, and east anomalies suggests the Inactive Phase. In turn the Active Phase strengthens and the Inactive Phase weakens the jetstream, which in turn enhances or dampens storm production respectively in the Pacific.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: La Nina started developing in early 2016, but westward displaced and generally weak. And by March 2017, it was gone with suspicious warming developing along South America and over the Galapagos to a point south of Hawaii. By May the atmosphere returned to a neutral configuration and is holding.
KWGA/Equatorial Surface Wind Analysis & Short-term Forecast:
Analysis (TAO Buoys): As of Saturday (6/11) east winds were over the entire equatorial Pacific including the Kelvin Wave Generation Area. Anomalies were neutral in most locations but modest easterly in the far east Pacific and weak westerly in the KWGA.
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): Light east anomalies were over the KWGA and forecast to hold for the next 2 days, then start weakening by Wed (6/14) holding into the end of the forecast period (6/17). This suggests a fading Inactive Phase of the MJO is over the KWGA or a weak La Nina pattern is returning.
Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East
Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:
OLR Models: As of 6/10 a weak Inactive/Dry Phase of the MJO was depicted over the far West Pacific. The statistical model depicts it fading in 5 days with no MJO signal in play beyond out 2 weeks. The dynamic model projects the Inactive Phase developing in the far West Pacific and building to moderate strength over the dateline 2 weeks out.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (6/11) The ECMF model indicates the Active Phase of the MJO was weak and incoherent with no change forecast for the next 2 weeks. The GEFS depicts much the same thing but with the Active Phase perhaps rebuilding/retrograding weakly into the West Indian Ocean 2 weeks out.
40 day Upper Level Model: (6/11) This model depicted a modest Inactive/Dry pattern over the West Pacific tracking east into Central America 6/26. A weak pattern is to follow until 7/6 when a weak Active Phase develops in the West Pacific tracking to the dateline through the end of the model run on 7/21. This model runs about 2 weeks ahead of what happens at the surface.
CFS Model - 3 month (850 mb wind): (6/11) This model depicts a weak Inactive Phase of the MJO exiting the KWGA with a weaker Active Phase trying to move into the West Pacific. Neutral wind anomalies were indicated over the KWGA. Beyond the weak Active Phase is to reach the dateline 7/4 with weak west anomalies developing in the KWGA 7/22 and holding. A weak Inactive Phase is to set up 7/2 holding into 7/22 but having no impact on wind anomalies in the KWGA. A legitimate Active Phase of the MJO is to fully develop in the West Pacific on 7/23 with building west anomalies moderate in strength holding till 8/25, then fading as the Inactive Phase of the MJO develops in the KWGA 9/8 (the end of the run). This is likely overstated as the model has been teasing at west anomalies for months and yet they never develop. The low pass filter indicates La Nina is to hold on in the KWGA till 6/13 (previously 5/6-5/8). La Nina might weakly redevelop 8/6 (previously 7/21) with the core just east of California rather than over the KWGA. Best guess is a very weak directionless pattern is to set up post La Nina and it will take 3-5 years for the Pacific to recharge from the 2014-16 El Nino.
CFSv2 3 month forecast for 850 mb winds, MJO, Rossby etc
Subsurface Waters Temps
TAO Array: (6/11) Actual temperatures remain stratified with warm water in the far West Pacific at 30 degs over a shallow area at 160E. The 28 deg isotherm line is steady at 149W. The 24 deg isotherm reaches Ecuador down at 40 meters and is 90 meters down at 140W. Warm anomalies are at +3 degs in the East Pacific and +1 deg anomalies are in the West Pacific down at 100m. Continuous 0 to +1 degs anomalies stretch from the west to the east. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 6/7 depicts a stream of warm water tracking from the west to the east suggesting a Kelvin Wave is in the East Pacific. A break in that stream now depicted on the dateline. The concern remains that there is no real warm water in the far West Pacific to feed any sort of a progressive Kelvin Wave pattern. The GODAS image appears to be about 1 week behind the TAO data.
Sea Level Anomalies: (6/7) in the east +5 cm anomalies are holding if not building in coverage along the coast of Peru and Ecuador. In the west +0-5 cm anomalies have retreated only present west of 170E on the equator. One pocket of positive heights remains at 120W associated with an Oceanic Kelvin Wave there.
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: (6/10) The latest images (1.2 3.4) indicate a generalized warm pattern offset from the South American coast from the equator southward extending from the Galapagos west out to 160W and southward beyond 25S. Upwelling along the immediate coasts of Chile, Peru and Ecuador rapidly collapsed last week (6/6) but now cool anomalies are starting to reappear along the coasts of Peru and Chile. La Nina is gone and an El Nino like pattern that was trying to build during March-May is now backing off significantly.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (6/10): A cooling trend has redeveloped off Ecuador and along the coast of Peru and Chile. Cooling has redeveloped on the equator from the Galapagos out to 115W. A warming trend continues in the Northern Hemi from a point off California and Mexico pushing over Hawaii and reaching west to the Philippines. But overall nothing remarkable is indicated.
Hi-res Overview: (6/10) A warm regime holds from Chile north to Ecuador and west to 160W and less energetic out to the dateline. It looks like El Nino is trying to develop and making headway into the Nino3.4 region. But pockets of cool anomalies are now appearing in the far East Pacific on the equator. Overall waters of all oceans of the planet are warmer than normal. Suspect climatology needs to be updated to reflect this new reality, or the recent Super El Nino has significantly redistributed heat across the oceans.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (6/11) Today's temps are steady at +0.005, down from the peak of +3.0 degs on 3/18 and +1.0 degs on 5/2..
Nino 3.4 Daily CDAS Index Temps: Today (6/11) temps were stable at +0.519 degs.
CFSV2 Forecast for Nino3.4 SST Anomalies
SST Anomaly Projections
CFSv2 Uncorrected Data (6/11) The forecast has temps steady at +0.55 degs today into early July then falling to +0.4 in early Aug holding to early Oct, then falling to +0.15 in Dec-Jan 2018. This suggests normal to weakly warm pattern developing for the Winter of 2017-2018. CFS data suggests a Modoki style warming pattern over the dateline this Fall and Winter but other models are no suggesting a return of a weak La Nina pattern. There is no source for El Nino like warming with the warm pool in the far West Pacific weak and fading. Much recharging and heat buildup is required for a real El Nino to develop. We're at least 5 years out from that.
IRI Consensus Plume: The mid-May Plume updated (5/19) depicts temps are warming and are now at +0.5 degs. A slow increase in temps is forecast thereafter to +0.7 degs in Aug and holding through Dec, then falling to 0.6 degs in Jan. This is +0.1 degs warmer than the April forecast and +0.7 degs warmer than the January forecast suggesting La Nina is over and a warmer regime is setting up. See chart here - link. The NMME consensus depicts peak temp to +1.0 degs Nov through Jan.
Atmospheric Coupling (Indicating the presence of El Nino in the atmosphere driven by the ocean):
Southern Oscillation Index (6/11): The daily index was falling at -19.26 and has been negative for 11 days. The 30 day average was rising at +1.15. The 90 day average was falling at -2.30 or just south of neutral. This suggests a return to ENSO neutral conditions has taken hold.
ESPI (like SOI but based on satellite confirmed precipitation. Positive is good, negative bad): (6/11) Today's value was rising slightly at -1.47 or trending back towards La Nina. A peak low was reached on 11/2 at -1.94, the deepest of the past La Nina event. This measures atmospheric response, not oceanic. At this time it looks like La Nina is returning. This index is a forerunner of what happens in the ocean by 2-3 months.
Pacific Decadal Oscillation: The PDO continues positive, though much weaker lately (as expected with La Nina setting in).
Per NOAAs index recent values (Jan-Dec): Jan 2017 = +0.10, Feb = +0.03, March = +0.09, April=+0.52 . This continues to look like the warm phase of the PDO. No consistently negative readings have occurred since Feb 2014
The Washington EDU index (Jan-Dec): Jan 2017 = +0.77, Feb = +0.70, Mar = +0.74, April=+1.12. No negative readings have occurred since Dec 2013
The PDO turned from a 16 year negative run (Jan 98-Feb 2014) in early 2014 and has been positive ever since (other than a few months of negative readings in Fall 2016, the result of a turn towards La Nina). 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 strongly suggests that could be a possibility. 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