Tuesday, February 6, 2018
- Buoy 106 (Waimea): Seas were 5.4 ft @ 13.3 secs with swell 3.3 ft @ 1.4 secs from 307 degrees.
- Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 3.1 ft @ 14.7 secs with swell 2.5 ft @ 14.0 secs from 260 degrees. Wind at the buoy was east at 8-12 kts. Water temperature 60.6 degs. At Ventura (Buoy 111) swell was 1.9 ft @ 14.7 secs from 263 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 2.0 ft @ 15.8 secs from 256 degrees. At Camp Pendleton (043) swell was 1.5 ft @ 13.6 secs from 227 degrees. Southward at Pt Loma (191) swell was 2.7 ft @ 16.0 secs from 268 degrees.
- Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 7.3 ft @ 14.7 secs with swell 4.5 ft @ 14.1 secs from 267 degrees. Wind at the buoy was northwest at 12-14 kts. Water temp 55.9 degs.
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 (2/6) in North and Central CA swell originating northwest of Hawaii was hitting less than hoped for with set waves 2-3 ft overhead and inconsistent but ok when they come. Protected breaks were chest to shoulder high and clean and lined up. At Santa Cruz surf was head high to maybe 1 ft overhead on the sets and clean and lined up. In Southern California up north surf was waist o chest high and clean and lined up but slow. In North Orange Co surf was waist to chest high on the rare sets and clean and lined up but slow. South Orange Country's best breaks were getting rare sets at head high and lined up and clean coming from the south. In North San Diego surf was waist to chest high with some bigger sets and lined up and clean but closed out at many beach breaks. Hawaii's North Shore was still getting well rideable swell with waves head high to 2 ft overhead and clean and lined up. The South Shore was flat and clean. The East Shore was getting mixed windswell at up to thigh high and clean with no wind of interest early.
See QuikCASTs for the 5 day surf overview or read below for the detailed view.
On Tuesday (2/6) swell was fading in Hawaii from a gale that developed on the dateline Thurs-Fri (2/2) with 32-35 ft seas aimed southeast well at the Islands and in close proximity. That swell is also supposedly peaking along the US West Coast but underwhelming. A smaller system formed well west of the dateline Mon (2/5) with seas to 28 ft aimed east then was tracking to the dateline later Tues (2/6) and fading. Another small gale is to form on the dateline on Thurs-Sat (2/10) with 29 ft seas over a small area aimed east then fading. And another gale is to develop just east of the dateline Sun (2/11) with 30 ft seas aimed mostly south at Hawaii. Theoretically an improving storm pattern should develop with the Active Phase of the MJO in the West Pacific, but nothing indicative of that pattern is currently depicted on the forecast charts.
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
On Tuesday AM (2/6) the jetstream was ridging northeast off Japan with winds building to 210 kts building almost to the dateline then falling southeast while weakening forming a trough just 100 nmiles north of Hawaii but the trough was mostly pinched offering only limited support for gale development. The jet split at 150W or over Hawaii with the northern branch tracking north and then turning east pushing into British Columbia while the southern branch tracked southeast moving towards the equator. Over the next 72 hours more of the same is forecast but with the jet flattening out and weakening over the West Pacific but still consolidated with winds down to 170 kts on Fri AM (2/9) on the dateline and the pinched trough moving east slightly to 145W and so pinched as to no longer be offering any support for gale development. The split is to hold east of there much like it had previously been. Beyond 72 hours starting Sat (2/10) wind energy is to be building over Japan to 180 kts with a new trough forming on the dateline but being fed by only 140 kts winds offering limited support for gale development. That trough is to try and build into Sunday but becoming progressively pinched offering only minimal support for gale development and then splitting heavily just east of the dateline with the northern branch running well up into the Bering Sea while the southern branch tracks east over Hawaii then also splits with its northern branch running north up into Alaska joining the other flow already present there. The combined flow is to track southeast along the Canadian coast and then inland while the southern branch meanders east and then towards the equator. No clear support for gale development is projected.
On Tuesday (2/6) swell from a broad gale that previously was northwest of Hawaii was hitting the US West Coast but not as big as hoped for (See Broad Hawaiian Gale below).
Over the next 72 hours a small gale started developing while pushing east off Japan on Mon PM (1/5) with 35-40 kts west winds over a modest sized area and seas building to 26 ft at 40N 164E tracking east. On Tues AM (2/6) the gale was pushing east-southeast near the dateline with 35 kt west winds and seas 27 ft at 40N 170E. In the evening the gale is to push up to the dateline falling southeast with a fading fetch of 30 kt west winds and seas fading from 26 ft at 39N 177E. Fetch is to dissipate Wed AM (2/7) with 20 ft seas fading at 39N 177W. Perhaps small swell to result for Hawaii. Something to monitor.
Hawaii: Expect swell arrival on Fri (2/9) pushing 6.4 ft @ 15 secs (9.0 ft) mid-day. Swell fading Sat (2/10) from 3.8 ft @ 13 secs (5.0 ft). Swell Direction: 315 degrees
Broad Hawaiian Gale
A small gale started building on the dateline Mon PM (1/29) with 40 kt northwest winds over a pinpoint sized area falling southeast. More of the same occurred Tues AM (1/30) with 27 ft seas at 37N 177E falling southeast targeting Hawaii. Fetch faded in the evening from 35 kts positioned 1000 nmiles northwest of Hawaii with 26 ft seas at 32N 178W. The gale faded more while approaching Hawaii Wed AM (1/31) with northwest winds 35 kts and seas 23 ft at 28N 171W. All this was primer activity. In the evening the real event is to start with a broad fetch of 40-45 kt northwest winds building on the dateline with 30 ft seas building at 35N 178E targeting Hawaii directly. On Thurs AM (2/1) 45 kt northwest winds are to be 1000 nmiles northwest of Hawaii with 36 ft seas at 33N 176W. In the evening a broad but less defined fetch of 35-40 kt northwest winds are to be 600 nmiles west-northwest of Hawaii with 33 ft seas over a broad area at 32N 175EW with 28 ft seas to 30N 171W targeting the Islands directly. Fri AM (2/2) 35 kt northwest fetch is to be fading in the same location with 31 ft seas at 29N 176W. In the evening 30 kt northwest winds to be over a broad area with 27 ft seas at 27N 170W or 500 nmiles northwest of Hawaii. Sat AM (3/3) the gale is to be fading with 30 kt northwest winds still on the dateline with 20-21 ft seas northwest of the Islands at 30N 165W. This system is to dissipate from there. A long run of larger raw swell is possible for Hawaii starting Fri (2/2).
North CA: Swell fading early Tues (2/6) fading from 4.9 ft @ 14 secs (6.5-7.0 ft). Dribbles on Wed AM (2/7) fading from 3.1 ft @ 12-13 secs (4.0 ft). Swell Direction: 280 degrees
Southern CA: Expect swell arrival on Tues (2/6) peaking at 2.8 ft @ 15-16 secs mid-day (4.0 ft). Swell fading early Wed (2/7) from 2.2 ft @ 13-14 secs (3.0 ft). residuals on Thurs AM (2/8) fading from 1.5 ft @ 13-14 secs (2.0 ft). Swell Direction: 280-287 degrees
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
No tropical systems of interest were being monitored.
California Nearshore Forecast
On Tuesday AM (2/6) moderate high pressure at 1030 mbs was 400 nmiles off the Oregon-CA border ridging inland over the Pacific Northwest producing north winds at 20+ kts from Pt Arena northward and 10 kts down to Monterey Bay and less south of there. Wednesday the gradient is to fade with high pressure still present ridging into Washington and a light offshore flow expected for all of California holding into Thursday (2/8). Friday (2/9) high pressure at 1034 mbs is to be along the Canadian coast with a gradient rebuilding over North CA with north winds there 20 kts early pushing 25 kts late. Saturday the high is to build to 1030 mbs just off British Columbia with the gradient building fast over North and Central CA with 20-30 kt north winds in control there building to 25+ kts over the entire region in the afternoon. Sunday (2/11) the high is to fade fast and falling south with a light northeast flow at 10-15 kts over all of North and Central but with a local cutoff low over North Baja building south winds over Southern CA at 5-10 kts mid-day. Monday (2/12) high pressure is to be 700 nmiles off the Oregon-Washington border with the gradient still holding over extreme North CA producing north winds 25-30 kts but light north winds 10 kts south of Pt Arena to Pt Conception. Tuesday (2/13) the gradient is to rebuild with north winds 30 kts off the North and Central coasts and with less velocity nearshore. Sure looks like a typical La Nina Spring pattern is shaping up with north winds already showing strong and consistent on the charts.
No swell producing winds of interest were 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 a small gale is charted developing west of the dateline Thurs PM (2/8) with 40 kt northwest winds and seas building from 24 ft over a tiny area aimed east somewhat at Hawaii. On Fri AM (2/9) fetch is to be fading from 40 kts from the northwest with seas 28 ft at 43N 177E. Fetch is to be fading while tracking east in the evening from the northwest at 35-40 kts with seas fading from 26 ft at 42N 177W aimed east. On Sat AM (2/10) fetch is to continue lifting northeast and blowing from the northwest at 35-40 kts with seas 26 ft near 45N 169W aimed both east and southeast targeting Hawaii and the US West Coast. The gale is to fade from there.
A broader gale is to form northwest of Hawaii Sat PM (2/10) with 35-40 kt northwest winds and seas 24 in two area near 30N 175W targeting Hawaii well. On Sun AM (2/11) fetch is to consolidate with 45 kt northwest winds targeting the ISland but the gale lifting northeast fast producing 26 ft seas at 35N 163W. In the evening the gale is to lift north with 45 kt north winds and seas 26 ft at 42N 165W aimed south at Hawaii. The gale is to be gone after that.
The model hint at another gale developing on the Northern Dateline region on Tues (2/13).
Beyond 72 hours no swell producing weather system nor fetch is forecast.
More details to follow...
Strong Active MJO in Holding
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 (2/5) 5 day average winds were solidly from the east over the bulk of the equatorial Pacific but strongly from the west over the Kelvin Wave Generation Area east to 170E. Anomalies were neutral over the East and Central Pacific and strongly from the west over the KWGA.
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): (2/6) Moderate to strong west anomalies were over the entirety of the KWGA extending east to 130W on the equator. This pattern is to hold through the week with westerly anomalies solid over the entirety of the KWGA through 2/13. The Active Phase of the MJO is filling the KWGA and expected to hold through the end of the model run offering great support for a consolidated jetstream flow.
Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East
Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:
OLR Models: (2/5) The Active/Wet Phase of the MJO is solidly entrenched over the Western Pacific and filling the KWGA to a point southeast of Hawaii. The statistical model depicts the Active Phase moving east to the dateline 3 days out then slowly easing east and near out of the KWGA at day 15 with an equally strong Inactive/Dry Phase setting up over the Maritime Continent and pushing into the West Pacific nearly reaching the dateline. The dynamic model depicts the Active Phase moving far slower to the east and still strong over the KWGA 15 days out with the Inactive Phase strong but locked in the Indian Ocean.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (2/6) The ECMF model depicts the Active Phase of the MJO very strong over the Dateline. It is to slowly fade while moving across the Atlantic by day 15. The GEFS model suggests the same thing initially but with the Active Phase holding intensity and only fading slightly 15 days out and stalled in the Central Pacific.
40 day Upper Level Model: (2/6) This model depicts a moderate Active/Wet MJO pattern over the Central and East Pacific pushing east and building while pushing into Central America on 2/21. Another moderate pulse of the Inactive Phase is to follow in the west on 2/16 pushing east to the East Pacific and Central America through the end of the model run on 3/13. The Active Phase to follow in the far West Pacific starting 3/8 and pushing east to the dateline on 3/18. This model runs about 1-2 weeks ahead of what happens at the surface.
CFS Model - 3 month (850 mb wind): (2/4) This model depicts an Active/Wet pattern is building solidly over the KWGA with west anomalies in control. The Active Phase is to hold through 2/19 with west anomalies in the core of the KWGA. A moderate Inactive Phase is to follow in the West KWGA starting 2/15 building east and taking control 2/20 holding through 4/8 with mostly neutral or light east anomalies forecast in the KWGA. A weak Active Phase to follow starting 4/1 in the West Pacific and in control through 5/4 (the end of the model run) with moderate west anomalies building the heart of the KWGA. The low pass filter indicates a modest low pressure bias over the western half of the KWGA to 165E and is hold till 2/18, then start moving east reaching the dateline 4/19 with a high pressure bias over the East KWGA at 175E and is to move east and out of the KWGA on 3/8. No significant oceanic change is expected until 3 months after the change has taken place in the ocean meaning no change this winter.
CFSv2 3 month forecast for 850 mb winds, MJO, Rossby etc
Subsurface Waters Temps
TAO Array: (2/6) The overview pattern depicts that warm water has retreated to the west and cooler water is in control in the east but losing ground quickly. Today in the far West Pacific water temps are 29-30 degs in the far West Pacific at 160E. The 28 deg isotherm line is steady at 175E and steep (meaning there is a headwind of cooler water pushing into it from the east). The 24 deg isotherm was shallow but has migrated east to 100W and 75 meters deep at 140W. Anomaly wise in the East Pacific it appears modest negative temperatures are starting to get reestablished after a weak semi Kelvin Wave pushed through it in late Jan. Today negative anomalies at -1.0 degs were broad in coverage from the East Pacific to 165E at 75 meters and above and another pocket was at depth down 200 meters. A thin stream of neutral anomalies were running through this area down 100 meters to the far East Pacific, remnants of the previous Kelvin Wave. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 2/2 depicts the remnants of the Kelvin Wave dissipating at 120W down 80 meters. But cool water filling the subsurface East Pacific has significantly lost is density and intensity with one pocket at -3.0 degs limited to the extreme East Pacific. Cool anomalies continue erupting to the surface almost continuously between Ecuador to 170W. The cool pool appears to be slowly discharging to the surface. The GODAS animation appears to be 1 week behind the TAO data.
Sea Level Anomalies: (2/2) Negative anomalies at -5 cms were over the equatorial East Pacific out to 165W with the biggest concentration of cool water mainly south of the equator at -10-15 cm anomalies at 120W and 5S. This area is steadily loosing coverage while drifting south. This is encouraging.
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: (2/5) The latest images (1.2 3.4) indicate a cool pattern in the Southeast Pacific. Weak warm anomalies are off the coast of Chile and Southern Peru while a cool upwhelling pattern is indicated along the immediate coast of Peru and Ecuador turning west on the equator from the Galapagos out to 140W in pockets and generally weak and diffuse with a far smaller footprint than months and even weeks past.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (2/5): A warming trend continues weakly off Chile and Peru and up to Central America advecting west on the equator from Ecuador over the Galapagos and out to 140W. There were no significant pockets of cooling water over the same area. A warming trend is ongoing.
Hi-res Overview: (2/5) Regardless of the short term warming trend indicated above, a La Nina cool stream is still present well off Chile and Peru. But warm anomalies are nearshore from Chile extending north to a point a bit off Peru. The core of cool waters are running on the equator from the Galapagos pushing west and peaking near 120W, then slowly fading out to 170E. Cool water at depth is still erupting to the surface with the breach point just west of the Galapagos. But over all the cooling pattern is loosing density. It appears La Nina may have peaked out.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (2/6) Today's temps were holding near -1.080 degrees. Temps in this area bottomed out on 12/23 at -2.1 degs, a third near peak negative reading. The lowest point so far in this La Nina was -2.248 degs 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: (2/6) Today temps were steady at -0.867 after rising dramatically 1/12-1/28 in the -0.600 deg range. A peak low was observed on 1/10-1/12 to -1.577. On (12/7) temps hit a previous record low at -1.219, just below the previous coldest peak so far this La Nina on 11/22 at -1.156. And the third previous low peak was reached at -1.1 on 11/23. The long arc suggests perhaps a rising pattern. La Nina is in control, but it's taking a hit.
CFSV2 Forecast for Nino3.4 SST Anomalies
SST Anomaly Projections
CFSv2 Uncorrected Data (2/6) The forecast depicts temps bottomed out at -0.75 in Nov and have been slowly rebounding forecast up to -0.40 in early Feb. But after that the model indicates temps falling again to -0.6 in May then slowly rising through the Summer and Fall to -0.35 degs in Oct. This suggests the peak of this years La Nina has occurred but it is to possibly hold through Summer only to start fading in the Fall. This model is the outlier with others suggesting La Nina is to die this Spring.
IRI Consensus Plume: The mid-Dec Plume updated (1/4) depicts temps bottomed out at -0.8 in early Dec and are to slowly rise, to +0.0 in May and +0.3 in August. See chart here - link The NMME consensus for Jan indicates temps -0.8 degrees below normal Nov-Dec 2018 then rebounding to neutral -0.0 in May and +0.4 degs by July. It looks like La Nina is peaking out now. The CFSv2 is in the low end of that pack.
Atmospheric Coupling (Indicating the presence of El Nino in the atmosphere driven by the ocean):
Southern Oscillation Index (2/6): The daily index was holding well negative at -27.14 today. The 30 day average was falling at +5.33 suggesting the Active Phase of the MJO was building hard. The 90 day average was falling at +3.46 suggesting La Nina was weakly in control.
ESPI (like SOI but based on satellite confirmed precipitation. Positive and/or rising is good, negative and/or falling is bad): (2/6) The index was stuck at -1.04 9suspect there is a technical problem with the data collection)(up from -1.11 on 1/29). The trend suggests La Nina is stable (was -0.96 on 1/6). Last years La Nina reached -1.94 on 11/2/16 and then fell to -2.20 on 6/28/17. It held pretty negative after that but has been rising some as of late. This index is a forerunner of what happens in the ocean by 2-3 months in developing El Nino and La Nina events. The goal is to have it rise to at least -0.5 before a significant change could be suggested.
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 = +0.12, Feb = +0.05, March = +0.14, April=+0.53, May=+0.29, June=+0.21, July= -0.50, Aug= -0.62, Sept = -0.25, Oct= -0.61, Nov = -0.46, Dec= -0.18, Jan=0.24. 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 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, Oct=+0.05, Nov = +0.15, Dec = +0.50. 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