Tuesday, January 7, 2020
- Buoy 233 (Pearl Harbor Entrance)/Buoy 239 (Lanai)/Barbers Point (Buoy 238) : Seas were 2.6 ft @ 7.7 secs with swell 1.5 ft @ 8.3 secs from 165 degrees.
- Buoy 106 (Waimea): Seas were 7.0 ft @ 9.9 secs with swell 4.9 ft @ 9.3 secs from 36 degrees.
- Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 2.7 ft @ 12.0 secs with swell 2.0 ft @ 11.6 secs from 254 degrees. Wind at the buoy was west at 2-4 kts. Water temperature 60.3 degs. At Harvest Buoy (071) primary swell was 6.7 ft @ 12.7 secs from 307 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 1.3 ft @ 11.7 secs from 262 degrees. At Oceanside (045) swell was 1.4 ft @ 11.7 secs from 250 degrees. Southward at Torry Pines Outer (100) swell was 1.7 ft @ 12.4 secs from 268 degrees.
- Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 9.3 ft @ 12.5 secs with swell 6.7 ft @ 12.3 secs from 309 degrees. Wind at the buoy (012) was north at 10-14 kts. Water temp 53.8 degs (013), 55.6 degs (012) and 55.6 degs (042).
See 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 Tuesday (1/7) in North and Central CA Gulf windswell was hitting producing waves at head high to 1 ft overhead and clean and lined up but soft with light offshore winds early. Protected breaks were chest to head high and clean and lined up but soft. At Santa Cruz surf was waist high on the sets and soft and clean. In Southern California/Ventura waves were thigh to maybe waist high and lined up and clean. In North Orange Co surf was waist high and clean and weak. South Orange Country's best summertime breaks had waves at thigh high and clean and soft if not unrideable. North San Diego's best breaks had waves at up to waist high and clean and inconsistent and weak. Hawaii's North Shore was getting northeast windswell with waves waist high or so and clean but soft and a bit warbled. The South Shore was flat and clean. The East Shore was getting east windswell with waves 2 ft overhead and chopped with strong east-northeast trades.
See QuikCASTs for the 5 day surf overview or read below for the detailed view.
On Tuesday (1/7) in California only windswell was hitting from a series of weak low pressure system that have been tracking east through the Gulf of Alaska producing seas less than 18 ft. And in Hawaii only east windswell was hitting. A broad gale is developing off the Kuril Islands Mon-Wed (1/8) producing 36 ft seas aimed east, but the gael is not to make it east of the dateline. Another small gale is to follow Thurs-Fri (1/10) tracking northeast off Japan producing 28-30 ft seas aimed east targeting Hawaii and again not even making it east to the dateline. A small but solid gale is forecast developing in the Northern Gulf on Fri (1/10) producing up to 43 ft seas aimed southeast, impacting Oregon on Sat (1/11). Otherwise a calm sea state is forecast.
See all the details below...
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
On Tuesday (1/7) the jetstream was consolidated pushing east off Japan forming a trough being fed by 140 kt winds offering good support for gale development west of the dateline. But east of there the jet was weaker and split with the split point at 165W and the northern branch ridging up through the Northern Gulf then falling southeast forming a weak trough just off the Pacific Northwest offering only support for weather there. Over the next 72 hours the trough off the Kurils is to lift northeast into early Thurs (1/9) offering some support for gale development before fading out later in the day with the split point retrograding to the dateline. Beyond 72 hours starting Fri (1/10) more of the same is forecast with a persistent trough off or over the Kuril Islands and a significant split locked over the dateline with the northern branch of the jet tracking either over the Northern Aleutians or through the Northern Gulf offering no real support for gale development through Tues (1/14). The MJO is not to be feeding energy into the jet for the next week resulting in the split in the east.
On Tuesday (1/7) windswell from generic low pressure previously in the Northeastern Gulf of Alaska was hitting California (see QuikCASTs for details).
Over the next 72 hours a complex gale was developing off the Kuril Islands offering some swell generation potential (see Kuril Island Gale below).
Also starting Wed PM (1/8) a new gale is forecast developing off Japan with 40-45 kt west winds and seas building from 28 ft over a tiny area at 34.5N 152E aimed east. The gale is to lift northeast on Thurs AM (1/9) with 40-45 kt west winds and 31 ft seas at 35N 160E aimed east. In the evening the gale is to be racing northeast just west of the dateline with 35-40 kt west winds barely getting any traction with seas 27 ft mainly from previous fetch at 38N 172.5E aimed east. The gale is to be pushing into the Bering Sea from there. Something to monitor.
Kuril Island Gale
On Mon AM (1/6) a broad complex gale formed off North Japan and the Kuril Islands producing pockets of 35- 45 kt northwest winds producing a small area of developing seas at 34 ft up at 46N 168E aimed east. In the evening the gale developed more producing 35-45 kt northwest winds and seas to 25 ft back west at 37N 157E aimed east. 40-45 kt northwest winds held into Tues AM (1/7) resulting in 35 ft seas at 43.5N 160E aimed south to southeast. Fetch is to be holding in the evening from 40-45 kts with seas 36 ft at 40.5N 166E aimed southeast. Fetch is to fade on Wed AM (1/8) from 35 kts from the west with 34 ft seas fading at 40.5N 173.5E aimed east. The gale is to fade and lift northeast in the evening with west winds 35 kts and seas fading from 26 ft up at 41N 179W. The gael to dissipate from there. Some small swell to possibly result for Hawaii.
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
No tropical systems of interest are being monitored.
California Nearshore Forecast
On Tues AM (1/7) a light north to flow was is forecast at 10 kts for all of North and Central CA building to 10-15 kts later. Light rain for Cape Mendocino by the afternoon barely reaching to San Francisco overnight and fading. Wed (1/8) northwest winds are forecast at 10-15 kts early for all of North and Central CA and up to 20 kts near Pt Conception building to 15+ kts everywhere later except 10 kts for Cape Mendocino. Light rain for Cape Mendocino all day. Light snow for Tahoe early. Thurs (1/9) northwest winds are to be building all day at 35 kts for Cape Mendocino and 15 kts south of there early forecast building to 20 kts for all of California (including Southern CA) later. Light rain sweeping south from North CA to Pt Conception late afternoon. Modest snow for Tahoe mid-day. Fri (1/10) north winds are forecast at 10-15 kts all day for North and Central CA. Light rain for Cape Mendo in the evening. On Sat (1/11) northwest winds are forecast at 10-15 kts early for Central CA and 15-20 kts for North CA building to 20-25 kts later for all of North and Central CA. Light rain mainly for North CA early and focused on Cape Mendocino. Light snow for Tahoe early. Sun (1/12) northwest winds are forecast at 20+ kts all day for North and Central CA. Light rain for Cape Mendocino. Mon (1/13) northwest winds are forecast at 15 kts all day for North and Central CA building to 20 kts for Cape Mendocino later. Light rain for all of North CA all day. Light snow reaching south to Tahoe later and getting solid overnight. Tues (1/14) north winds are forecast at 20 kts all day for North and Central CA. Light rain fading mainly for Cape Mendocino early. Snow showers for the Sierra.
Total snow accumulation for the week for Squaw Valley, Sugar Bowl, Kirkwood and Mammoth at 13, 12, 14 and 0.4 inches respectively.
Snow Models: http://www.stormsurf.com/mdls/menu_snow.html (Scroll down for resort specific forecasts). Updated!
No swell producing fetch is occurring.
Over the next 72 hours no swell producing fetch is 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 a small gale is to developing in the extreme Northeastern Gulf on Fri AM (1/10) with 50-55 kt northwest winds over a small area and seas building to 41 ft at 51N 143W aimed southeast and on the very edge of the North CA swell window. The gale is to fall southeast fast in the evening with 45 kt northwest winds with 41 ft seas at 48.5N 134W aimed southeast and barely in the NCal swell window again. The gale is to be moving onshore over Washington on Sat AM (1/11) with seas from previous fetch 36 ft at 46.5N 126.5W impacting Washington and Oregon. Maybe some swell to result for the US West Coast.
Beyond 72 hours no swell producing fetch of interest is forecast.
Inactive MJO In Control
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: A double dip La Nina was in control through the Winter of 2017-2018. But warming started building along the South and Central American coast in early March 2018 associated with two upwelling Kelvin Waves, and continued trying to build over equatorial waters over the Summer and Fall, but not enough to declare El Nino and not coupled with the atmosphere. In January 2019, those warm waters were fading, but then rebuilt late in Feb associated with Kelvin Wave (#3). But as of early June 2019 warm water was fading and by August a tongue of cool water was tracking west on the equator from Ecuador over the Galapagos reaching to a point nearly south of Hawaii. El Nino was dead.
LONG-RANGE PACIFIC STORM AND SWELL GENERATION POTENTIAL FORECAST
Fall/Winter 2019/2020 = 5.0/4.0 (California & Hawaii)
Rating based on a 1-10 scale: 1 being the lowest (small and infrequent surf conditions), 5 being normal/average, and 10 being extraordinary (frequent events of large, long period swells)
Rationale: It is assumed the PDO has moved to the warm phase and that a weak borderline El Nino from 2018 is fading out, but not yet completely gone, especially in the atmosphere. Likewise it looks like a La Nina ocean temperature pattern is developing in the equatorial East Pacific, with cooler than normal waters tracking west on the equator. We assumed El Nino like momentum will hold for a while in the atmosphere will take a while to sense that the ocean temperature pattern has changed. But once it does, a turn towards a La Nina like atmospheric pattern will start to develop. that transition is expected in the late Nov-early Dec timeframe. Even so, moderation from the PDO might prevent La Nina from fully developing. Given all that, there is decent probability for a normal start to the Fall surf season (in the Northern Hemisphere) meaning a normal amount of number of storm days and storm intensity, resulting in a normal levels of swell, with normal duration and normal period. But by mid-Dec 2019, the number of storm days, intensity and duration of those storms should start fading and as a result, swell production should fade slightly as well. This pattern is expected to hold through April 2020.
KWGA/Equatorial Surface Wind Analysis & Short-term Forecast (KWGA - Kelvin Wave Generation Area - The area 5 degrees north and south of the equator from 170W to 135E)
Analysis (TAO Buoys): As of (1/6) 5 day average winds were strong from the east over the Eastern equatorial Pacific continuing to the dateline and over the North KWGA but turning weakly from the west over the Southern KWGA. Anomalies were light westerly over the far East equatorial Pacific continuing over the Central Pacific and dateline and neutral over the KWGA.
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): On (1/7) light to modest east anomalies were over the KWGA and stronger over the dateline today. The forecast calls for east anomalies building in strength over the dateline and solid at strong status by 1/9 holding through the end of the model run on 1/14 while easing slowly east mainly east of the dateline. But at the same time weak west anomalies are to start building in the west KWGA on 1/9 and building east filling 85% of the KWGA at the end of the model run and building to moderate status.
Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East
- Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:
OLR Models: (1/6) A solid Active MJO signal was over the Maritime Continent with a equally solid Inactive MJO centered at 170W and straddling the eastern border of the KWGA. The statistic model indicates the Active MJO is to be pushing into the Western KWGA at day 5 moving cleanly into the KWGA at day 10 and filling the KWGA at day 15 and still solid in strength. The dynamic model indicates the same thing but with the Active Phase a bit stronger at day 15. The 2 models are in sync.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (1/7) The statistical model depicts the Active Phase was modest over the Maritime Continent today and is to build some while tracking east to the West Pacific at day 8, then fading some while continuing east. The GEFS model suggests the Active Phase is to start building strong over the Maritime Continent at day 4 pushing to the West Pacific at day 9 and strong in strength then stalling and weakening some to moderate status at day 15.
40 day Upper Level Model (assumed to be a statistical mode and 1 week ahead of what is occurring at the surface): (1/7) This model depicts a weak Inactive MJO over Central America today with a moderate Active Phase starting to fill the West Pacific. The Active Phase is to push east over Central Pacific and then into Central America on 2/1 while a modest Inactive MJO signal eases into the West Pacific on 2/1 pushing to the East Pacific and Central America at the end of the model run on 2/16.
4 Week CFS Model (850 mb wind): (1/6) This model depicts the Inactive Phase over the KWGA today with weak east anomalies mostly filling the KWGA today. The Inactive Phase is to push east and out of the KWGA on 1/18 but with west anomalies developing strongly in the core of the KWGA 1/11 and the Active Phase setting up 2 days later pushing through the KWGA through 1/28. And even at that time solid west anomalies are to be holding in the core of the through the end of the model run on 2/3.
3 Month CFS Model (850 mb wind): (1/7) This model depicts a very weak Inactive Phase of the MJO was over the KWGA with light east anomalies over the KWGA. East anomalies are to ease east through 1/12. Starting 1/13 the Active Phase is to develop tracking east through the KWGA through 2/14 with strong west anomalies on the dateline 1/15-1/23. After that a weak Inactive MJO pattern is forecast 2/10-3/3 but with weak west anomalies holding in the KWGA. The Active Phase is to follow 3/4 through the end of the model run on 4/5 with weak west anomalies in control. The low pass filter indicates a low pressure bias with 3 contour lines in control of the KWGA centered on the dateline reaching east to the California coast. The third contour lined is to fade today while the second contour line holds till 3/11, then collapses with only 1 contour line following. A high pressure bias built in the Indian Ocean starting 10/22 and is to hold through the end of the model run. A strong area of east anomalies in the Indian Ocean is forecast to dissipate isolated in the Indian Ocean on 3/11.
CFSv2 3 month forecast for 850 mb winds, MJO, Rossby etc - Alternate link
Subsurface Waters Temps
TAO Array: (1/7) Today in the far West Pacific the 30 deg isotherm was rebuilding east to 179W while the 29 deg isotherm was building east to 169W today. The 28 deg isotherm line was easing east to 160W today. The 24 deg isotherm previously retrograded to 110W but today was pushing into Ecuador. Anomaly wise, Kelvin Wave #6 was under the dateline at +3 degs tracking from the Maritime Continent moving east with it's leading edge at 120W pushing east. Kelvin Wave #5 has fully pushed into Ecuador. Warm water was filling the entire equatorial subsurface Pacific from 110 meters upwards. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 12/29 indicates warm water had formed a Kelvin Wave extending from 120E under the Dateline east to 125W at +2-3 degrees with lesser warm water pushing east from there then rebuilding to +2-4 degrees and impacting Ecuador. The GODAS animation appears to be 1 week behind the TAO data but also is more detailed and accurately modeled.
Sea Level Anomalies: (1/3) A broad pocket of +5 cms anomalies is tracking east between 165E-100W. Very weak positive anomalies were in a pocket along Ecuador.
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: (1/6) The latest images (1.2 3.4) indicate weak warm anomalies were holding from Chile along Peru up to Ecuador then streaming west on the equator over the Galapagos out to the dateline from 10S northward. But they were a little weaker than days past. Weak cool anomalies were south of the equator off Peru and building from 10S to 1S reaching west to 110W. Weak warm anomalies were on and north of the equator building while tracking west to the dateline.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (1/6): Today a building area of warming was filling the entire area from Chile and Peru west out to 140W and also off Ecuador on the equator out to 140W and stronger in pockets. The short term trend is now towards warming in the Southeast Pacific. This is a step in the right direction.
Hi-res Overview: (1/6) A weak fading area of cool anomalies is holding south of the equator starting at 10S off Peru reaching out to 120W and further south than weeks past. Otherwise gentle warming was along Chile up to Peru lifting north up to Ecuador then pushing west on the equator, out to the dateline. Warmer than normal water was north of the equator reaching north to 20N. Water temps appear to be stable mildly favoring El Nino.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (1/7) Today's temps were steady today at -0.171 after bottoming out down at -0.900 on 12/12. Temps peaked prior at +1.55 degrees on 12/2 after a long runup from negative anomalies in October. It now appears we are in a falling trend.
Nino 3.4 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (1/7) Temps were rising steadily today up to +0.464. Temps peaked on 11/14 at +0.509 degs, fell some to -0.018 on 11/28, and are now trying to rebuild. The trend has been steadily generally upwards since Sept when they bottomed out at -0.6 degs (9/14).
CFSV2 Forecast for Nino3.4 Sea Surface Temp (SST) Anomalies & Current SST Anomalies
SST Anomaly Projections
CFSv2 Uncorrected Data (1/7) Actual's indicate a cooling trend set up late summer with temps -0.2 degs in mid-Sept then the trend started rising to +0.25 degs in early Oct holding to Dec 1. The forecast has temps rising to +0.7 degrees on Jan 1 holding till Feb 1 then slowly falling from there to 0.0 in early June then diving negative appearing to be moving to La Nina down at -0.65 in early Sept. According to this model a neutral sea surface temperature pattern biased slightly warm is forecast for the Winter and Spring, then possibly turning towards La Nina in the Summer.
IRI Consensus Plume: The Oct 2019 Plume depicts temps are at +0.25 degs, and are to hold in the +0.25 deg range into May 2020, then fading slightly to +0.15 in June 2020. See chart here - link.
Atmospheric Coupling (Indicating the presence of El Nino in the atmosphere driven by the ocean):
Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) (negative is good, positive bad) (1/7): The daily index was positive today at +5.00 and has been positive the last 4 days. The 30 day average was negative and rising at -7.01. The 90 day average was rising slightly at -5.90, suggesting a neutral ENSO pattern was developing.
ESPI Index (like SOI but based on satellite confirmed precipitation. Positive and/or rising is good, negative and/or falling is bad): Nov +1.03, Oct +0.33 Sept +1.13, August +0.64, July +0.75, June -0.32, May +1.10, April +0.30, March +1.0, Feb +1.29, Jan +0.193. This index has been steadily positive but still indicates mostly ENSO neutral conditions (not El Nino).
Pacific Decadal Oscillation
Per NOAAs index recent values: June 2017 +0.21, July -0.50, Aug -0.62, Sept -0.25, Oct -0.61, Nov -0.45, Dec -0.13, Jan 2018 +0.29, Feb -0.19, Mar -0.61, April -0.89, May -0.69, June -0.85, July -0.09, Aug -0.43, Sept -0.46, Oct -0.75, Nov -0.78, Dec -0.12, Jan -0.23, Feb -0.55 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 solid negative readings have occurred since Feb 2014
The Washington/JISAO index (Jan-Dec): June 2017 +0.79, July +0.10, Aug +0.09, Sept +0.32, Oct +0.05, Nov +0.15, Dec +0.50, Jan +0.70. Feb +0.37, Mar -0.05, April +0.11, May +0.11, June -0.04, July +0.11, Aug +0.18, Sept +0.09. No real 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