Thursday, August 10, 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 233/51211 (Pearl Harbor) is available but has a new frequency layout. We'll have to code a new program to read it's output (date TBD).
- Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 3.0 ft @ 5.9 secs with north west local windswell 2.4 ft @ 6.0 secs from 266 degrees. Wind at the buoy was south at 4-6 kts. Water temperature 69.1 degs. At Ventura (Buoy 111) swell was 1.8 ft @ 6.2 secs from 271 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 2.2 ft @ 6.0 secs from 269 degrees. At Camp Pendleton (043) swell was 1.2 ft @ 17.9 secs from 207 degrees. Southward at Pt Loma (191) swell was 1.2 ft @ 17.5 secs from 186 degrees.
- Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 3.6 ft @ 6.7 secs with local north windswell 2.7 ft @ 6.1 secs from 312 degrees. Wind at the buoy was northwest at 10-12 kts. Water temp 59.7 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 Thursday (8/10) in North and Central CA local north windswell was producing surf at knee high and warbled if not chopped from northwest wind. Gray skies were in control. Protected breaks were knee high and clean early. At Santa Cruz there was no surf with the ocean flat and clean. In Southern California up north waves were flat to 1 ft and nearly chopped early. In North Orange Co background residual southern hemi swell was producing set waves at knee to thigh high breaking on the beach and modestly textured early. In South Orange Co surf was occasionally waist to chest high at top spots and textured. In San Diego surf was knee to maybe thigh high and clean and weak. Hawaii's North Shore was flat and textured from sideshore trades. The South Shore had sets thigh to thigh high and clean and slow. The East Shore was flat and chopped from modest east trades.
See QuikCASTs for the 5 day surf overview or read below for the detailed view.
On Thursday (8/10) no windswell was present along the coast of North and Central California and none is forecast till maybe Fri (8/11) and then only weakly not getting decently rideable till Mon (8/14). Windswell is starting to develop along east shores of the Hawaiian Islands but not expected to be rideable till Fri (8/11) but fading for the weekend only to build some into next week. A gale developed in the deep Southeast Pacific on Wed (8/2) with 34 ft seas aimed northeast. Possible small sideband swell for California starting Thurs (8/10), but there's not much in reality. Another gale developed in the far Southeast Pacific lifting north Tues-Wed (8/9) but well east of the Southern CA swell window targeting mainly Chile and Peru. Some energy is possible for exposed breaks in CA later next week. A tiny cutoff gale is forecast in the mid-South Pacific Fri (8/11) producing a small area of 34 ft seas aimed north. But beyond nothing is projected. No tropical activity of interest is forecast either. Things are typically pretty quiet when we start the transition to Fall, and this year will be no different.
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
On Thursday (8/10) high pressure at 1026 mbs was centered 900 nmiles north of Hawaii trying to ridge east but not quite making it yet. Still it was producing north winds at near 15 kts along sections of the North and Central CA coast. But it was ridging south more effectively generating a building fetch of 15 kt east winds pushing from 500 nmiles east of Hawaii over the Islands and trying to generate minimal east local windswell there.
Over the next 72 hours for California the local pressure gradient is to build some Fri (8/9) as the high shifts east with north winds continuous at 15 kts relative to North and Central CA Fri AM and at 20 kts in pockets Saturday holding into Sunday (8/13) with some increase in local short period northerly windswell expected.
For Hawaii, trades to peak early Fri (8/11) at 15 kts 500 nmiles east of Hawaii pushing over the Islands the Islands then becoming shallower on Saturday and almost gone Sunday (8/13) with odds for windswell production fading. Friday holds the best hope for rideable windswell to result, but even then it is to be weak.
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
On Thursday (8/10) no swell producing tropical systems were being monitored.
California Nearshore Forecast
On Thursday (8/10) high pressure at 1026 mbs was north of Hawaii trying to ridge east but not quite making it yet. The result was a weak flow of 15 kts north winds over all of North and Central CA nearshore waters. On Fri (8/11) north winds to build in coverage through the day at 15 kts or so over all of North and Central CA waters pushing near 20 kts in pockets building in coverage Sat (8/12) holding Sun (8/13) but being held at bay by low pressure moving into the British Columbia. Then on Mon (8/14) the low is to clear out and high pressure is to build anew centered in the Southern Gulf of Alaska at 1030 mbs ridging east with north winds 25+ kts over North CA and 20 kts down to San Francisco and 15 kts down to Pt Conception. Tues (8/15) the gradient is to hold with 25 kt north winds over North CA but shrinking in coverage with 15 kt north winds down to Pt Conception. Wednesday the gradient is to lift north over North CA at 20 kts with an eddy flow (south winds) from Bodega Bay southward continuing Thurs (8/17).
On Thursday AM (8/10) the jetstream continued in a zonal pattern with the northern branch running east on the 32S latitude line slow falling southeast while the southern branch of the jet was running east on the 65S latitude line and weak with a trough over the Southeast Pacific being fed by only 80 kt winds and almost pinched off but pushing well north offering no real support for gale development. East of there the jet was falling southeast over Antarctica south of Chile. Over the next 72 hours the trough is to fully pinch off Fri (8/11) no longer offering any support for gale development with a ridge in the southern branch of the jet tracking east over the West and Central Pacific down at 68S and over Antarctic Ice offering no support for gale development and sweeping east through Sun (8/13). Beyond 72 hours a return to a strict zonal flow is expected in the southern branch of the jet Monday (8/14) with it running east on the 66S latitude line and then starting to ridge south from there on Thurs (8/17) as a ridge build over the Southwest Pacific pushing it down to 70S and moving into Antarctica while sweeping east. No support for gale development is forecast. This looks very much like a La Nina influenced weather pattern.
On Thursday (8/10) small swell was trying to arrive in California racking northeast from a small gale previously in the Southeast Pacific (see Southeast Pacific Gale below). Also a gale formed off Chile with small swell possibly radiating north towards California but mainly focused on South America and Mexico (see Chilean Gale below).
Otherwise starting Thurs PM (8/10) a tiny cutoff low is to generating an area of 40 kts south winds in the Central Pacific with seas building. The gale is to build while holding it's position Fri AM (8/11) with winds 45 kts from the south with 28 ft seas at 41S 135W. In the evening the gale is to lift north with 40 kt south winds and seas 34 ft at 38N 140W aimed north. Fetch is to fade Sat AM (8/12) from 30-35 kts with 26 ft seas fading at 34S 139W aimed north. The gale to dissipate from there. Perhaps something to monitor.
Southeast Pacific Gale
Tuesday PM (8/1) a gale developed building in the far Southeast Pacific with southwest winds 45 kts and seas to 33 ft over a small area at 60S 127W. The gale raced east and out of the Southern CA swell window Wed AM (8/2) with winds 45 kts at 58S 110W and seas 33 ft at 58S 111W. Low odds for any swell to push up into the Southern CA swell window.
Southern CA: Expect swell arrival on Thurs AM (8/10) pushing 1.6 ft @ 17 secs (2.5-3.0 ft). Swell fading Fri (8/11) at 1.6 ft @ 15 secs (2.5 ft). Swell fades out on Sat (8/12) fading from 1.4 ft @ 14 secs (2.0 ft). Swell Direction: 192 degrees
North CA: Expect swell arrival on Thurs AM (8/10) pushing 1.4 ft @ 17-18 secs (2.0-2.5 ft). Swell holding Fri (8/11) at 1.5 ft @ 16 secs (2.0-2.5 ft). Swell fades out on Sat (8/12) fading from 1.1 ft @ 14 secs (1.5 ft). Swell Direction: 190 degrees
A gale low started developing in the far Southeast Pacific on Sun (8/6) with 40 kt south winds trying to get traction on the oceans surface. In the evening winds built to 45 kts from the south with winds 24 ft at 56S 116W mostly out of the SCal swell window. On Mon AM (8/7) fetch faded some from 40 kts from the south but starting to fall south with barely 30 ft seas at 58S 111W and outside the CA swell window. In the evening the gale started building but well north and east with 55 kt southwest winds off South Chile with a tiny area of 36 kts seas at 50S 95W. No swell production is forecast relative to CA. On Tues AM (8/8) fetch held at 45 kts from the southwest with seas building to 36 ft at 50S 96W. On Tues PM (8/8) fetch built while lifting north at up to 50 kts with seas to 40 ft at 48S 99W and way too far east to be of interest to California targeting only Chile and Peru. This system lifted northeast on Wed AM (8/9) with winds fading from 45 kts and seas 39 ft at 44S 93W just off Southern Chile with swell pushing north towards Chile and Peru up into Mexico. Low odds of sideband swell reaching up into California.
Southern CA: Potential for small south angled swell arriving on Tues (8/15) pushing 2.6 ft @ 17-18 secs (4.5 ft). Swell fading some Wed (8/16) at 2.0 ft @ 17 secs (3.0-3.5 ft). More energy expected on Thurs (8/17) at 2.2 ft @ 15-16 secs (3.0-3.5 ft). Swell Direction: 170-175 degrees
North CA: Potential for small south angled swell arriving on Tues (8/15) pushing 1.6 ft @ 16 secs (2.5 ft). Swell building some Wed (8/16) at 2.0 ft @ 17-18 secs (3.0-3.5 ft). Swell fading some Thurs (8/17) at 2.0 ft @ 15-16 secs (3.0-3.5 ft). Swell Direction: 165-175 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 regarding windswell production, high pressure is to start tracking east from a point 1200 nmiles north of Hawaii Mon (8/14) ridging better into the California coast with the local pressure gradient building and north winds to 25+ kts with 20 kt north winds reaching south to San Francisco and 15 kts north winds down to Pt Conception. Windswell to be on the increase. More of the same is expected Tuesday but with the gradient starting to fade later as a Fall low pressure system starts moving through the Northern Gulf of Alaska. Wednesday (8/16) the fetch is to fade to 20 kts isolated to waters along North CA holding on Thurs (8/17) but still capable of generating minimal north local windswell down into Central CA.
For Hawaii trades to continue spotty at 15 kts over a building area east of the Islands and becoming nearly continuous Tues (8/15) beyond 1000 nmiles east of the Hawaii pushing over the Islands offering decent odds for local east windswell production along exposed east shores. Wednesday during the day the fetch area is to fade some only to start building late and continuing Thurs (8/17) in association with a tropical wave 1200 nmiles east of Hawaii tracking west. Increasing odds for windswell production.
Also a series of weak low pressure systems are to line up from Japan tracking east-northeast up into the Gulf of Alaska starting Fri (8/11) migrating towards and into the Gulf of Alaska but making no southward progress blocked by high pressure (noted above) aligned from a point just north of Hawaii and tracking east, with the lows not generating anything more than 25 kt southwest winds aimed towards the Gulf of Alaska. No swell to result but the appearance of low pressure in the Gulf is a step in the right direction. Given the propensity for La Nina this year, a late start to the Fall season is forecast with frequency and strength of swell producing weather system lower than average.
Beyond 72 hours no swell producing fetch of interest is forecast.
More details to follow...
La Nina Cool Pool Evident
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 Mon (8/9) east winds were over the entire equatorial Pacific but weaker over the Kelvin Wave Generation Area. Anomalies were neutral over the East Equatorial Pacific and also over the KWGA.
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): (8/10) Modest east anomalies were modeled over the entire KWGA. This pattern is to hold with moderate east anomalies forecast over the core of the KWGA through 8/14 then starting to fade through the end of the 7 day model run (8/17). It appears an Inactive Phase of the MJO was building and feeding a La Nina 'like' longer term pattern. This is a downgrade from previous forecasts.
Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East
Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:
OLR Models: As of 8/9 a neutral MJO pattern biased slightly Dry/Inactive was depicted over the West Pacific. The statistical model depicts that pattern to fade to dead neutral 5 days out and hold over the next 2 weeks. The dynamic model depicts the same thing initially, but with the Inactive/Dry Phase building late in the run 12 days out. We had been thinking perhaps a real Active Pattern would set up as previously depicted by the CFS model rather than being dominated by the Inactive Phase of the MJO as has been the case the past 6 months, but that is not to be.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (8/10) The ECMF model depicts the Active Phase of the MJO exceedingly weak and effectively nonexistent and is to remain weak and directionless over the next 2 weeks. The GEFS model depicts the same thing but with the Active Phase perhaps building over Africa 2 weeks out. This is not promising.
40 day Upper Level Model: (8/10) This model depicts a solid Inactive/Dry pattern over the Maritime Continent moving into the West Pacific. It is to move east over the West Pacific 8/15 then tracking east while slowly fading pushing over Central America through 9/14. A neutral MJO pattern is forecast to follow through the end of the model run on 9/19. So basically the Inactive Phase is to take over and hold for the next 40 days. This model runs about 2 weeks ahead of what happens at the surface.
CFS Model - 3 month (850 mb wind): (8/10) This model depicts a very weak Active MJO signal fading over the Central KWGA with neutral anomalies indicated there. Over the coming days the Inactive Phase of the MJO is to develop 8/12 with neutral wind anomalies biased slightly easterly over the far West Pacific but neutral over the bulk of the KWGA, then fading 9/4. After that the Active Phase of the MJO is to return starting 9/11 with west anomalies in control through 10/13 when the Inactive Phase starts developing the West Pacific and west anomalies start fading but not gone through the end of the model run (11/7). Of note: East anomalies are to develop from the dateline and points east of there 8/24 and are to hold into early-Oct, then start fading. The low pass filter indicates a very weak La Nina signal redeveloped 7/25 from the dateline eastward and is to hold very weak till 9/17, then building and holding for the foreseeable future. There's some sense the El Nino like core is to start shifting east some in later October from the Indian Ocean to the Maritime Continent and even the far West Pacific. Best guess is a very weak directionless pattern biased towards La Nina redeveloping in Fall of 2017. It will take 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: (8/10) A pattern change is starting to show, with warm water in the far West Pacific at 30 degs over a shallow area at 160E. The 28 deg isotherm line continues retrograding west and currently is at 167W. The 24 deg isotherm has retrograded to 118W but holding at 75 meters deep at 140W (previously 100 meters). The warm water layer in the East Pacific is getting shallower suggesting a transition to La Nina. Anomaly wise a clear change is developing with warm water at +1.0 degrees above normal in the East Pacific and also in the West Pacific from 100 meters, but with slightly cooler anomalies developing in a pocket between the two between 140-170W with cooler anomalies at -2.0 degs down 125 meters. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 8/6 depicts fragmented pockets of warm water from the west to the east but shrinking on coverage while a building pattern of cooler water takes root at depth from the dateline eastward down at 100m. 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: (8/6) A neutral pattern has been in control for the past month but with negative anomalies at -5 cm between 170W to 120W suggesting cooler water at depth.
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: (8/9) The latest images (1.2 3.4) indicate a weak warm pattern trying to hold tracking west well off Peru. But a steady modest upwelling pattern is indicated nearshore along Peru and Ecuador reaching to the Galapagos. And pockets of cooling continue on the equator from the Galapagos westward and getting better defined and continuous west of there between 110-160W. A broad pocket of cooling is also holding centered at 25S 100W (well off Chile). Warm anomalies are in place south of Mexico almost south to the equator. Overall cooling in the heart of the Nino3.4 region is developing and undeniable. The La Nina that developed Spring 2016 faded and was replaced by an El Nino like pattern that tried to build March-May 2017, but that too has dissipated and is being replaced by a new La Nina surge (starting July 2017).
Hi-res 7 day Trend (8/9): A neutral to cool trend was along the coast of Chile and Peru. A solid cool trend was pushing west off Ecuador over the Galapagos and building at 110W out to 150W with a few lingering pockets of warm water intermixed, but strongly favoring the cooler water. An early start of a legit La Nina pattern appears to be developing.
Hi-res Overview: (8/7) A clear legit La Nina cool stream has developed on the equator from 110W to 170W. A weak warm regime is barely holding off Chile and Peru. A thin stream of cooler water is also depicted running northwest just off Peru northwest to the Galapagos feeding the larger cool pool further west 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: (8/10) Today's temps are falling hard down to -1.015, down from a warm peak of +3.0 degs on 3/18 and +1.0 degs on 5/2 and +0.6 degs on 6/20.
Nino 3.4 Daily CDAS Index Temps: Today (8/10) temps continued falling to -0.084, way down from +0.5 degs where it was consistently through 7/18. A clear downward trend is indicated.
CFSV2 Forecast for Nino3.4 SST Anomalies
SST Anomaly Projections
CFSv2 Uncorrected Data (8/10) The forecast has temps falling steadily from +0.0 in early Aug to -0.25 in Oct easing down to -0.5 in Dec then stating to rebound to 0.0 in early March 2018 and perhaps warming to +0.3 degs in April. This suggests a neutral pattern biased cool setting up for the Winter of 2017-2018. CFS data (7/26) continues to suggest a weak La Nina cool pattern building on the equator off the Galapagos starting weakly in August and building steadily looking very La Nina like in Nov through Jan 2018. There is no source for El Nino like warming with the warm pool in the far West Pacific weak and fading.
IRI Consensus Plume: The mid-July Plume updated (7/25) depicts temps warmed to +0.5 degs in June. Temps are forecast to fade some to +0.3 degs in July, and are to hold there solid through March 2018 suggesting a neutral pattern in control. See chart here - link. The NMME consensus depicts the same thing with temp +0.3 degrees above normal through March.
Atmospheric Coupling (Indicating the presence of El Nino in the atmosphere driven by the ocean):
Southern Oscillation Index (8/10): The daily index was rising at +0.24 but had been hard negative for 4 days prior. The 30 day average was falling at 4.35. The 90 day average was steady at +0.37 or just north 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): (8/10) Today's value was steady at -1.15 (up from -2.20 on 6/28) but still suggesting a turn towards La Nina. A supposed peak of this La Nina was reached on 11/2/16 at -1.94 (last year) . So the index is about as negative as it was at the peak of last years (2016) La Nina. At this time it looks like La Nina is returning but weakening. This index is a forerunner of what happens in the ocean by 2-3 months in developing El Nino and La Nina events.
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 = +0.04, March = +0.12, April=+0.52, May=+0.31, June=+0.17. 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, May=+0.88. 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