Thursday, November 16, 2017
- Buoy 106 (Waimea): Seas were 8.5 ft @ 9.1 secs with swell 6.0 ft @ 9.8 secs from 21 degrees.
- Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 2.3 ft @ 12.0 secs with swell 1.5 ft @ 12.8 secs from 168 degrees. Wind at the buoy was northwest at 4-6 kts. Water temperature 65.7 degs. At Ventura (Buoy 111) swell was 1.1 ft @ 12.2 secs from 225 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 1.2 ft @ 12.5 secs from 200 degrees. At Camp Pendleton (043) swell was 1.2 ft @ 12.8 secs from 211 degrees. Southward at Pt Loma (191) swell was 2.0 ft @ 12.4 secs from 210 degrees.
- Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 10.4 ft @ 11.8 secs with swell 7.6 ft @ 12.1 secs from 314 degrees. Wind at the buoy was southwest at 2 kts. Water temp 59.4 degs.
Notes: 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 (11/16) in North and Central CA new Gulf swell was producing waves at 1-2 ft overhead and clean but a bit raw and confused. Protected breaks were head high and clean and lined up. At Santa Cruz the same swell was hitting but buried in south chop with waves maybe head high and whitecapped and unrideable. In Southern California up north set waves were thigh to waist high and textured from northerly wind. In North Orange Co background swell was producing surf at chest high and and very clean but also very slow. In South Orange Country best breaks were up to chest high and clean but slow and weak. In San Diego surf was maybe thigh high and clean. Hawaii's North Shore was getting north-northeast windswell at head high to 1 ft overhead and pretty warbled from northeast trades. The South Shore was knee to thigh high and clean. The East Shore was getting north-northeast windswell at head high to 1 ft overhead and chopped from northeasterly trades.
See QuikCASTs for the 5 day surf overview or read below for the detailed view.
On Thursday (11/16) new swell from a low pressure system that fell south through the Gulf of Alaska on Tues-Wed (11/15) producing 18 ft seas was hitting North California. Minimal background residual southern hemi swell was fading out in Southern CA. In Hawaii north windswell from the same Gulf of Alaska system was hitting mixed with local northeast windswell. Another gale is to fall south through the Gulf Fri-Sun (11/19) with 21-23 ft seas targeting Hawaii well with less energy at California. And a somewhat stronger system is to follow tracking southeast through the Gulf Mon-Wed (11/22) with up to 31 ft seas aimed midway between HI and CA. And more is possible after that. A nice increase in gale activity is setting up.
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
On Thursday AM (11/16) the jetstream was pushing off North Japan with winds to 140 kts and a bit more cohesive than weeks past but again not even reaching half way to the dateline before splitting heavily with the northern branch ridging hard north up and over the Bering Sea then diving south over Western Alaska and over the Northeastern Gulf starting to form yet another backdoor trough in the extreme Northern Gulf being fed by only 90 kts offering minimal limited support for gale development in lower levels of the atmosphere. A previous backdoor trough was exiting the Eastern Gulf over British Columbia down into Washington and is to be totally inland by Fri AM (11/17). The southern branch was very weak pushing east over the dateline and Hawaii then merging with the northern branch pushing into California. Over the next 72 hours the new backdoor trough is to develop while quickly falling southwest then pinching off into early Sun (11/19) with winds up to 120 kts offering some support for gale development. Beyond 72 hours yet another trough is to develop while falling southeast being fed by northwest winds at up to 140 kts offering better support for gale development 120-130 kts offering support for gale development into Tues (11/21) pushing inland over British Columbia on Thurs (11/23). Back to the west a heavily split flow is forecast but with more wind energy building over Japan on Thurs (11/23) to 160 kts perhaps suggesting a change of pattern longer term.
On Thursday (11/16) swell from a backdoor trough in the Gulf of Alaska was hitting California with some energy into Hawaii (see Another Backdoor Trough below).
Over the next 72 hours yet another backdoor gale is to form falling south starting Thurs AM (11/16) (see Another Backdoor Gale below).
Another Backdoor Trough
Another fetch developed in the Eastern Gulf on Mon PM (11/13) producing 30 kt northwest winds and seas 18 ft at 51N 142W. Northwest fetch continued Tues AM (11/14) at 30 kts off the Pacific Northwest producing 18 ft seas at 50N 142W targeting the US West Coast. Fetch is to fade in the evening from 25+ kts with 18 ft seas at 42N 141W falling southeast. This system is to slowly fade Wed AM (11/15) with north winds 25 kts and seas 16 ft at 47N 137W. Windswell is likely for North and Central CA starting late Wednesday evening (11/15).
North CA: Expect swell arrival on Thurs AM (11/16) at 5.6 ft @ 11-12 secs (6.5 ft) and holding. Swell fading Fri AM (11/17) from 5.2 ft @ 11 secs (5.5 ft). Swell Direction: 310 degrees
Another Backdoor Gale
Another backdoor gale is to develop on the Western Gulf on Thurs AM (11/16) with 30 kt north winds and seas building. In the evening north winds to build to 35 kts falling into the Central Gulf with seas building to 21 ft at 47N 156W. Fri AM (11/17) north fetch is to continue at 35 kts taking aim mainly at Hawaii with 23 ft seas at falling south at 42N 156W aimed well at Hawaii with sideband fetch at California. Fetch is to be fading in the evening from the northeast at 30 kts with 22 ft seas fading at 39N 158W targeting only Hawaii. A small area of 30 kt north-northeast winds are to continue falling south Sat AM (11/18) positioned 900 nmiles north of Hawaii producing 20 ft seas at 35N 159W. After that the low is to dissipate with barely 30 kt north winds 600 nmiles north of Hawaii in the evening with seas fading from 17 ft at 30N 160W. Swell is possible mainly for Hawaii with limited sideband energy from California.
Hawaii: For planning purposes using only forecast data swell arrival is possible starting Sun (11/19) building and peaking at 8.4 ft @ 13 secs at sunset (10-11 ft). Swell fading Mon (11/20) from 7.3 ft @ 12 secs early (8.5 ft). Swell Direction: 355 degrees
North CA: Minimal background swell possibly to arrive on Sun (11/19) building to 1.5 ft @ 13-14 secs late (2.0 ft). Swell peaking Mon (11/20) at 2.6 ft @ 11-12 secs (3.0 ft). Swell Direction: 300 degrees
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
No tropical systems of interest were being monitored.
California Nearshore Forecast
On Thursday (11/16) low pressure at 996 mbs was moving inland over Vancouver Island with a front pushing south to Monterey Bay and likely stalled there. Copious rain has fallen in the SF Bay Area as the above front tapped tropical moisture forming a weak Atmospheric River effect focused on the SF Bay area Wed PM into Thurs AM. Snow was falling in the Sierra Thurs AM with up to 1 ft of accumulation at sunrise at the peaks of the highest resorts though mostly rain at lake level. Wind was southwest to west at 10-15 kts for all of North and Central CA. Precipitation to slowly fade through the day Thurs (11/16) into the evening with snow levels falling in Tahoe as temps cool. Total additional accumulations through Fri AM (11/17) to 10 inches possible at Squaw and 26 inches at Kirkwood (higher elevation). High pressure is to be ridging weakly into North CA by Fri AM (11/17) with a light offshore wind pattern developing mid-AM for Central and North CA and no rain forecast. High pressure holds nearshore Sat (11/18) with light offshore winds forecast. Sunday (11/19) a front is to impact Cape Mendocino after sunset with south winds 20+ kts but otherwise a light wind pattern is forecast for the state. Monday the front is to stall over North CA with south winds 20+ kts from Pt Arena northward and light south winds down to the Golden Gate. Rain is to push south to the Golden Gate then stall mid-day. Light rain for Tahoe in the afternoon then fading. Tues (11/21) a far larger low is to be building in the Gulf trying to push east but getting shunted northeast. South winds are is forecast at 20 kts for Pt Arena northward but south 10 kts down to maybe Monterey Bay. Rain limited to the Golden Gate northward. Wednesday (11/22) the front is to be fading while pushing into the the Pacific Northwest with south winds for Cape Mendocino 20-25 kts but light south down to Bodega Bay and turning north 10 kts from Monterey bay southward. Rain pushing south to Monterey Bay and stalling there. Modest rain for Tahoe. Thursday (11/23) light west winds early for Central CA and north 15-20 kts for Pt Conception as high pressure ridges into Pt Reyes. The front is to be stalled over the SF Bay area and dissipating through the day. Light rain fading from Tahoe.
On Thursday (11/16) no swell producing fetch was occurring.
Over the next 72 hours no swell producing weather systems of interest are forecast.
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 yet another backdoor gale is forecast in the Northwest Gulf on Sun PM (11/19) producing a broader area of 40 kt northwest winds south of the Eastern Aleutians with seas building to 25 ft at 50N 158W. Fetch is to fall southeast Mon AM (11/20) at 40 kt from the north filling the Western Gulf with seas building to 29 ft over a decent sized area at 48N 158W. In the evening fetch is fade from 35-40 kts from the north over a modest area with seas 30 ft in the Northern Gulf at 48N 154W. Fetch is to be falling south Tues AM (11/21) at 35-40 kts over a modest sized area aimed southeast with 31 ft seas at 43N 152W targeting Hawaii well and the US West Coast. Northwest fetch is to fade in the evening at 30-35 kts aimed south and southeast with seas 29 ft at 38N 152W targeting both Hawaii and the US West Coast. Wed AM (11/22) fetch is to fade from 30 kts from the west targeting the US West Coast exclusively with seas fading from 24 ft at 35N 146W targeting both Hawaii and CA. Something to monitor.
Beyond yet another system is forecast moving from the Bering Sea into the Northern Gulf on Thurs PM (11/23) with 45 kt northwest winds and 33 ft seas at 52N 161W.
Beyond 72 hours no swell producing weather system nor fetch is forecast.
More details to follow...
La Nina Solid - Cool Pool Stable
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 but then in July east anomalies started building in the KWGA and have not stopped, with cold water upwelling over the the Nino1.2 and 3.4 areas, indicative of La Nina. So it appears now a double dip La Nina is setting up and is to continue through the Winter and Spring of 2017-2018.
KWGA/Equatorial Surface Wind Analysis & Short-term Forecast:
Analysis (TAO Buoys): As of Mon (11/15) 5 day average winds were from the east over the entire equatorial Pacific and the Kelvin Wave Generation Area. Anomalies were light over the East Pacific but moderate easterly from 170W strongest over the Central KWGA.
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): (11/16) Modest east anomalies were modeled over the core of the KWGA. East anomalies are to slowly weaken while migrating east and out of the KWGA by the 11/21 with a neutral anomaly pattern biased weakly easterly by the end of the model run on 11/23. The Inactive Phase of the MJO is in control but expected to fade a week out.
Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East
Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:
OLR Models: As of 11/15 a neutral MJO pattern was in control of the equatorial West Pacific. The statistical model depicts the Active/Wet Phase developing 5 days out and easing east through the end of the model run 15 days out. The dynamic model depicts a dead neutral MJO pattern holding for the next 15 days.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (11/16) The ECMF model depicts the Active Phase of the MJO very weak over the far West Pacific and is to retrograde west and remain very weak over the next 2 weeks. The GEFS model suggests much the same.
40 day Upper Level Model: (11/16) This model depicts a weak Inactive/Dry pattern over the East Pacific and is to push east and fade over Central America gone by 12/1. A weak Active/Wet Phase is over the far West Pacific and is to push east into Central America through 12/21. A weak Inactive/Dry pattern is to follow in the West Pacific 12/1 pushing east through the end of the model run on 12/26. This model runs about 1 week ahead of what happens at the surface.
CFS Model - 3 month (850 mb wind): (11/16) This model depicts a weak Inactive Phase of the MJO was migrating east over the KWGA with neutral anomalies over the KWGA. The Inactive Phase is to continue building east and hold through 12/15 with sporadic pockets of east anomalies forecast over the period. Finally the Active Phase of the MJO is to develop in the far West Pacific 12/16 and building with west anomalies in the KWGA 12/25 then building stalling in the KWGA 2/13/18. The low pass filter indicates a modest low pressure signal/bias over the extreme west KWGA and it is to ease east filling the KWGA by 1/28. A high pressure bias is over the East KWGA at 170E and is to move east into the East Pacific and no longer in the KWGA by Jan 1. If this verifies, the underpinnings of La Nina are to be fading and then gone by late December. This suggest that as winters builds (typically the peak of La Nina in the jan timeframe), support for La Nina is to be fading. But it takes 3 months for the ocean to respond to whatever happens in the atmosphere, so this winter is lost to La Nina regardless of what the low pass filter indicates. No significant oceanic change is expected until likely early April 2018. Even at that it will take about 5 years for the Pacific to recharge from the 2014-16 El Nino before another El Nino develops. So a neutral ENSO pattern is likely to develop.
CFSv2 3 month forecast for 850 mb winds, MJO, Rossby etc
Subsurface Waters Temps
TAO Array: (11/16) A pattern change set up in August, with warm water retreating to the west and cooler water building in the east. Today in the far West Pacific water temps are 30 degs in the far West Pacific at 165E. The 28 deg isotherm line has retrograded heavily to 179W. The 24 deg isotherm was weak at 133W and shallow at 60 meters deep at 140W. Anomaly wise a clear change is present in the East Pacific with warm water gone and instead neutral to modestly negative temperatures are at the surface and down to -4 degs C down 100 meters at between 95-165W indicative of La Nina. Warm anomalies are isolated to the West Pacific at +2.0 degrees down to 100 meters deep with the dividing line between cool at 170W. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 11/9 depicts a large area of subsurface cool water filling the East Pacific (-4.0 degs) and erupting to the surface in broad pockets between 90W to 160W with a near neutral temperature pattern in the west.
Sea Level Anomalies: (11/9) Negative anomalies are in control at -5 cms over the entire equatorial East Pacific with a core of -10 cm anomalies present between Ecuador to 150W.
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: (11/15) The latest images (1.2 3.4) indicate a clear cool pattern has developed. Upwelling continues (though weaker than what it was a few days ago) along Peru and Ecuador then tracking west on the equator out to 160W. The cool pool continues west from there but not as strong. No warm anomalies are indicated within 3+ degs north or south of the equator over the entire region.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (11/15): A neutral to warming trend was along Peru. A warming trend is also indicated along the entire equatorial Pacific from the Galapagos west to 160W. It looks like the latest La Nina pulse is backing off.
Hi-res Overview: (11/15) Regardless of the short term warming trend indicated above, a clear La Nina cool stream is present starting off Southern Chile pushing north up Peru and building in coverage, then turning northwest off Ecuador tracking west over the Galapagos and building out to 150W and stronger than days past. Weak cool anomalies continued west from there out to 180W. Cool water at depth is erupting to the surface with the breach point near the Galapagos. There is no sign of warm anomalies in the Nino 1.2 or Nino3.4 regions.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (11/16) Today's temps were rising slightly to -1.745, just barely warmer than the -2.248 low point reached on 11/5. And that low point was lower than the previous coldest point reached on 10/11 at -1.9 degs.
Nino 3.4 Daily CDAS Index Temps: Today (11/16) temps were steady at -0.786 a little above the lowest temp reached so far at -1.1 on 11/23. The long arc suggests a steadying pattern. La Nina is in control.
CFSV2 Forecast for Nino3.4 SST Anomalies
SST Anomaly Projections
CFSv2 Uncorrected Data (11/16) The forecast has temps falling steadily from -0.5 in early Oct to -1 in late Dec falling to -1.1 in early Feb. Then the trend is to turn upwards reaching -0.5 in April and -0.2 degs in July 2018 and holding there. This suggests a legit La Nina is expected for the Winter of 2017-2018. The CFS SST images (11/05) continues to suggest a moderate La Nina cool pattern building on the equator off the Galapagos into Dec-Jan 2018, then fading but still very present into May 2018. A full on La Nina is setting up.
IRI Consensus Plume: The mid-Oct Plume updated (11/7) depicts temps forecast to fade -0.7 degs in Oct and holding through Dec, then slowly rising from there turning neutral in April 2018. See chart here - link The NMME consensus for Oct average indicates temps -0.85 degrees below normal Nov-Jan 2018 then rebounding to normal in April. It sure looks like La Nina is on the way. The CFSv2 is now in the middle of that pack.
Atmospheric Coupling (Indicating the presence of El Nino in the atmosphere driven by the ocean):
Southern Oscillation Index (11/16): The daily index was rising at 15.71. The 30 day average was steady at 6.36. The 90 day average was falling at +7.90. This suggests a turn towards La Nina.
ESPI (like SOI but based on satellite confirmed precipitation. Positive is good, negative bad): (11/16) The index was rising some at -0.92 (up from -2.20 on 6/28/17). The trend is stable for now. Last years La Nina reached -1.94 on 11/2/16 so we've bested that already. But the recent upward trend is offering some hope. Still it looks like La Nina is returning for a double dip/2 year La Nina (not unusual). 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 is weakly negative, but not as much as one would expect with La Nina in play.
Per NOAAs index recent values (Jan-Dec): Jan 2017 = +0.10, Feb = +0.04, March = +0.12, April=+0.52, May=+0.30, June=+0.19, July= -0.50, Aug= -0.68, Sept = -0.28, Oct=-0.60. This continues to look like the warm phase of the PDO, even with La Nina, because the warm PDO appears to be dampening the effects of La Nina. 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, June=+0.79, July=+0.10, Aug=0.09, Sept = 0.32. 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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POWERLINES Night at the OPL - Surf Footage Featuring Mavericks from Powerlines Productions plus live music from 6 to 8 PM- Nov 17, 2017. Video starts at 8:15 PM at the Old Princeton Landing (OPL) in Half Moon Bay/Princeton CA.
Titans of Mavericks on HBO Sports with Bryant Gumbel https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=luQSYf5sKjQ
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Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table