Saturay, February 11, 2017
- Buoy 106 (Waimea): Seas were 6.2 ft @ 13.3 secs with swell 3.5 ft @ 15.7 secs from 308 degrees.
- Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 6.6 ft @ 13.7 secs with swell 4.1 ft @ 13.0 secs from 259 degrees. Wind northwest 8-12 kts. Water temperature 58.5 degs. At Ventura swell was 2.8 ft @ 13.2 secs from 270 degrees. At Santa Monica swell was 2.5 ft @ 12.5 secs from 259 degrees. At Camp Pendleton swell was 1.5 ft @ 14.7 secs from 235 degrees. Southward at Pt Loma swell was 3.4 ft @ 11.8 secs from 262 degrees.
- Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 11.9 ft @ 8.3 secs with swell 7.9 ft @ 9.2 secs from 301 degrees. Wind northwest 21-25 kts at the buoy. Water temp 55.0 degs.
46006, 46059, New! Hi-Res Buoy Dashboards (at the 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 Saturday (2/11) in North and Central CA locally generated northwest windswell was producing waves in the 2 ft overhead range and chopped with whitecaps. At least it wasn't raining. At Santa Cruz surf was waist to chest high and lightly chopped but not real inviting with poor form and no consistency. In Southern California up north westerly windswell was producing waves at shoulder to head high with sets 1 ft overhead and pretty warbled from an onshore flow. In North Orange Co surf was chest high and wonky with northwest winds adding some warble on top. In San Diego surf was shoulder to head high and pretty trashed from northwest winds and whitecaps in control. Hawaii's North Shore was getting small Japan swell with waves 1-3 ft overhead and clean but a little wonky. The South Shore was waist to chest high and chopped. The East Shore was getting Japan swell wrapping in a 2 ft and clean from south winds.
See QuikCASTs for the 5 day surf overview or read below for the detailed view.
On Saturday (2/11) swell from a small gale that developed off Japan producing up to 37 ft seas Mon-Wed (2/8) was hitting Hawaii with lesser energy expected for the US West Coast beyond. Windswell from a previous gale north of Hawaii Wed-Thurs (2/9) was hitting California and unremarkable. A gale developed off Japan tracking east Fri-Sat (2/11) with up to 37 ft seas and is to continue east over the dateline while slow fading reaching a point almost north of Hawaii on Mon (1/13) with seas continuously in the 30-32 ft range before fading east of there and expected to track northeast up into the US West Coast. A bit of a break is forecast before a new gale is projected developing off Japan on Sat (2/18) with seas building from 24 ft over a broad area. A stronger storm pattern remains forecast with the jetstream being enhanced by the Active Phase of the MJO and also pushed well south of normal.
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis.cgius forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
On Saturday AM (2/11) the jetstream was consolidated tracking flat east off Japan with winds near 200 kts pushing over the dateline reaching a point 900 nmiles north of Hawaii before weakening and .cgiitting. From there the northern branch pushed up into North Canada while the southern branch .cgiit again with most energy pushing into Central CA with some also tracking southeast to the equator. In all no troughs were present but just based on wind velocity, support for gale development was good over the West Pacific where the jet was strongest. Over the next 72 hours through Tues (2/14) the jet is to continue solid with 180 kt wind pushing off Japan tracking flat over the dateline reaching a point 900 nmiles west of Pt Conception. A bit of a trough is to be developing on the leading edge of this energy starting later Sunday 1200 nmiles north of Hawaii and pushing into the Gulf of Alaska through the period offering support for gale development there, and also back to the west again just based on wind velocity alone. Beyond 72 hours more of the same is forecast with the jet continuing to push east impacting Pt Conception late Sat (2/18) with winds 170 kts and a second pocket of 190 kt winds building off Japan. A weak .cgiit is forecast over the dateline at that time but not expected to be much of a hindrance to gale development. Again, no troughs are forecast with a zonal flow in control. Still support for gale development is likely given the shear magnitude and extent/coverage of these winds. This is to be a mightily impressive run of jetstream energy, likely fueled by the first real Active Phase of the MJO in quite a while.
On Saturday (2/11) fading swell from a gale that formed north of Hawaii was hitting California (see Quikcasts) . Swell from another gale that developed off Japan last week was hitting Hawaii and bound weakly for California (see Japan Gale below). And another gale was tracking east from off Japan (see Second Japan Gale below). The atmospheric machine is in good working order.
Over the next 72 hours no other swell producing weather system are forecast as the MJO works to strengthen the jet and theoretically set up a long run of stormy weather across the Pacific.
Also on Mon AM (2/6) a small gale is forecast developing off Japan producing 35 kt west winds over a small area aimed east and seas building from 24 ft over a tiny area at 40N 150E. In the evening 45 kt northwest winds took hold over a tiny area with 28 ft seas building at 38N 154E. On Tues AM (2/7) fetch pushed east at 45 kts with seas building in coverage at 34 ft at 36N 160E. In the evening 40 kt west winds were solid in coverage over the West Pacific with 36 ft seas at 36N 168E targeting Hawaii well. Fetch stalled Wed AM (2/8) just west of the dateline and was lifting north at 35-40 kts with 30-32 ft seas at 38N 173E. The gale faded some in the evening with 35 kt west winds and seas fading from 26 ft at 42N 172E. The gale faded from there but still producing 30 kt west fetch into Thurs AM (2/9) with 20 ft seas fading at 44N 170E. A decent pulse of swell is possible for the Islands.
Hawaii: Swell continues on Sat AM (2/11) at 5.1 ft @ 15-16 secs (7.5 ft) and fading from there. Sunday (2/12) swell to be fading from 4.5 ft @ 13-14 secs (6.0 ft). Residuals into Monday fading from 3.6 ft @ 12-13 secs (4.5 ft). Swell Direction: 305-310 degrees
North CA: Expect swell arrival on Sun (2/12) pushing 2.5 ft @ 18 secs late (4.5 ft). Swell peaks later Mon (1/13) at 4.0 ft @ 15-16 secs (6.0 ft). Residuals expected on Tues (1/14) fading from 3.5 ft @ 14 secs (5.0 ft). Swell Direction: 290 degrees
Second Japan Gale
A broader gale developed off Japan starting Fri AM (1/10) being fed by a strong jetstream flow aloft. This systems is to not be so much a swell producer as a primer for more activity that is likely behind driven by the first real Active Phase of the MJO all season. 45 kt west winds were over a tiny area with seas building from 27 ft at 37N 153E. In the evening 45 kt west winds were building in coverage while racing east mid-way to the dateline with 33 ft seas moving to 37N 160E. Sat AM (1/11) 40-45 kt west winds were pushing to nearly the dateline with 37 ft seas building back at 39N 168E. In the evening 40 kt west winds to be over a broad area on the dateline with 35 ft seas building at 38N 175E. More of the same is forecast Sun AM (1/12) with 40 kt west winds on the dateline and 33 ft seas over a solid area on the dateline at 37N 179W. Fetch is to continue the evening at 40 kts positioned northwest of Hawaii with 32 ft seas at 36N 177W. The gale is to be fading Mon AM (1/13) north of Hawaii with 35 kt west winds and 30 ft seas at 36N 168W targeting mainly Hawaii but also aimed at Central and Southern CA. In the evening fetch is to be fading from 30 kts and becoming diffuse with 25 ft seas over a solid area at 36N 160W. By Tues PM (2/14) a front from remnants of this system are to be just off the California coast rebuilding from the southwest at 35 kts with 20 ft seas at 32N 140W (900 nmiles west of Pt Conception) and developing while lifting northeast. 35 kt southwest winds to be just off Central CA on Wed AM (2/15) with 21 ft seas in the same location (35N 134W). Something to monitor.
Hawaii: For.cgianning purposes expect swell arrival on Tues (2/14) building steadily through the day to 10 ft @ 16-17 secs (16-17 ft Hawaiian). Swell fading some Wed (2/15) from 8.7 ft @ 14 secs (12 ft Hawaiian). Swell Direction: 310-315 degrees
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
No tropical systems of interest are being monitored.
California Nearshore Forecast
On Saturday (2/11) clearing high pressure was building over California with northwest winds 20 kts for North and Central CA and even 10-15 kts into Southern CA. A brief drying pattern sets up. Use this time to make necessary repairs, as more weather is expected behind. Sunday North winds fade to 10-15 kts (even less early nearshore), 10 kts Monday and 5-10 kts Tuesday north of Pt Conception and the next series of storm develops off the coast. Wednesday (2/15) south winds return to North CA reaching south to Monterey Bay late afternoon with a front impacting Cape Mendocino and south winds 35 kts and rain early up north reaching to Bodega Bay at sunset and dissipating there. Maybe some light rain for Tahoe late evening. Thursday AM another low winds up just off the Central Coast with south winds building to 15 kts from Pt Conception northward. Light to moderate rain over the North Coast pushing south to Pt Conception at sunset and into San Diego overnight. Snow for higher elevations of Tahoe at sunset with falling snow levels overnight reaching down to the Southern Sierra overnight with decent accumulations. Fri (2/17) northwest winds forecast at 15-20 kts mainly from Monterey bay northward (light winds in SCal). Rain fading in Southern CA early and light over North CA, but dry in Central CA. Snow fading through the day but still falling in Tahoe till sunset. Saturday the next gale winds up off the North and Central Coasts with the front and south winds impacting it mid-day. South winds to 30 kts from Monterey Bay northward. Rain building south to Morro Bay at sunset. Snow expected for the Sierra.
A storm developed in the Central South Pacific Tues AM (2/7) producing 55 kt west winds and seas building from 39 ft at 56S 157W. In the evening 50 kt west winds continued tracking east with 42 ft seas at 56S 148W. Most of this fetch was bypassing Hawaii to the east but sideband swell was targeting California, but really focused on Chile and Peru. On Wed AM (2/8) 45 kt west winds continued east with 40 ft seas at 56S 138W. In the evening 40 kt west winds continued east with 37 ft seas at 55S 130W. Thurs AM (2/9) 40 kt west-southwest fetch built in coverage with 34 ft seas at 53S 123W. Fetch continued east at 40 kts in the evening with 32 ft seas at 53S 121W starting to move out of the CA swell window. Fetch was fading Fri AM (2/10) from 35 kts from the southwest with 32 ft seas at 51S 111W and outside the SCal swell window. This system to fade from there. A decent pulse of southern hemi swell is possible for Southern CA southward (and even into NCal) if this.cgiays out as forecast. But most energy is to be aimed at Chile and Peru.
Southern CA: Expect swell arrival on Wed AM (2/15) building to 1.4 ft @ 19 secs late (2.5-3.0 ft). Swell continues on Thurs (2/16) pushing 1.8 ft @ 17-18 secs (3.0-3.5 ft with sets to 4.0 ft). Swell continues on Fri (2/17) at 2.0 ft @ 16-17 secs (3.0 ft with sets to 4.0 ft). Swell fading Sat (2/18) from 1.7 ft @ 14-15 secs early (2.5 ft). Swell Direction: 195 degrees
North CA: Expect swell arrival on Thus AM (2/16) building to 1.7 ft @ 18-19 secs (3.1 ft with sets to 4.0 ft). Swell continues Fri AM (2/17) at 1.7 ft @ 17-18 secs (3.0 ft with sets to 4.0 ft). Swell fading Sat AM (2/18) from 1.6 ft @ 16 secs (2.5 ft). Swell Direction: 190 degrees This swell to be buried in stronger northwest swell.
Otherwise no swell producing fetch of interest is occurring or 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 broad gale is to start developing off Japan on Sat AM (2/18) producing 40-45 kt west winds and building in coverage in the evening with seas at that time up to 24 ft near 38N 165E extending back to Japan. Something to monitor.
Beyond 72 hours no swell producing fetch of interest is forecast.
More details to follow...
Active 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 equatorial Pacific it is in control of, and in it's Active Phase by slack if not an outright reversal of trade winds and enhanced 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.cgianet, 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 help support the formation of El Nino. During the Inactive Phase the jet stream tends to .cgiit resulting in high pressure and less potential for swell producing storm development. 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 di.cgiaced and generally weak. And by early 2017, it appears to be fading.
KWGA/Equatorial Surface Wind Analysis & Short-term Forecast:
Analysis (TAO Buoys): As of Friday (2/10) east winds were over the entire equatorial Pacific but weaker over the Kelvin Wave Generation Area. The KWGA is on the equator from 135E-170W and 5 degs north and south. Anomalies were neutral over the equatorial East Pacific to the dateline then turning westerly over the KWGA north of the dateline but still westerly south of the equator. La Nina's remnants in the atmosphere have not given up yet, but it's life is now very limited.
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): Weak east anomalies were modeled over the dateline but strong westerly anomalies were near 170E extending back to the Maritime Continent. The forecast suggests east anomalies are to dissipate in 2 days over the equatorial Pacific with west anomalies weakening and easing east to the dateline and east of there over the coming week. This suggests the Active Phase of the MJO is to severely dent the fading remnants of La Nina.
Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East
Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:
OLR Models: As of 2/10 the Active Phase of the MJO was over the far West Pacific. The statistic model projects a strong version of the Active Phase moving from the West Pacific to the dateline and then fading east of there over the next 2 weeks. At the end of the period the Inactive Phase is to be moving into the West Pacific. The dynamic model depicts the same thing but with no Inactive Phase in the forecast.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (2/11) The ECMF model indicates the Active Phase of the MJO is moderately strong on the dateline and is to track east and hold strength then move over the Atlantic to the Indian Ocean 2 weeks out and loosing strength. The GEFS model depicts the same thing. This model runs about 1.5 weeks ahead of what occurs at the surface.
40 day Upper Level Model: (2/11) This model depicts a modest Active Phase of the MJO was over the dateline tracking east while slowly fading, reaching Central America into 3/3. A very strong The Inactive Phase is to follow tracking over the West Pacific 2/16 reaching Central America 3/18. A very strong Active Phase is to follow in the West Pacific 3/10 reaching the dateline 3/23. This model runs about 2 weeks ahead of what happens at the surface.
CFS Model - 3 month (850 mb wind): (2/8) This model depicts the Inactive Phase of the MJO was all but gone over the KWGA with east wind anomalies moving east from the dateline and points east of there (but not west of there). The Active Phase is making progress into the far West Pacific and is to track east through 2/25 with moderate west anomalies in the far West Pacific and east anomalies fading over the dateline. A moderate Inactive Phase is to follow 2/26-3/28 but with west anomalies slowly getting more traction over the dateline region from March onwards. A weak Active Phase is to follow with solid west anomalies over the KWGA and dateline regions starting 4/5. The MJO is forecast to start building in strength from here forward having more influence on wind anomalies in the KWGA as La Nina dies (gone per the low pass filter on 3/20 with El Nina taking hold 4/13).
CFSv2 3 month forecast for 850 mb winds, MJO, Rossby etc
Subsurface Waters Temps
TAO Array: (2/11) Actual temperatures remain stratified with warm water in the West Pacific at 30+ degs C (reaching east to 163E) and the 28 deg isotherm line reaching to 180W and steep, suggesting a hard break between warm water in the west and cool water in the east at depth. 26 degs anomalies reached to 135W making eastward progress. Anomaly wise there's no signs of La Nina. Warm anomalies at +1-2 degs rule from the West Pacific pushing east to 155W but not making eastward progress. Neutral anomalies are east of there to Ecuador except for one pocket of -1.0 deg anomalies down 100 m at 125W but not at the surface. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 2/7 depicts warm water is building east forming a nearly continuous path from the West Pacific to nearly Ecuador at +0.5-1.0 degs. La Nina has lost control of the ocean at depth with remaining negative anomalies weakening and getting shallower.
Sea Level Anomalies: (2/7) Negative anomalies at -5.0-10 cm's still control 2 pockets stranding the equator between 110W to 145W and 5 degs north and south. Sea levels are slowly rising with La Nina loosing it's grip 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: (2/10) The latest images (1.2 3.4) indicate warm water dominating the region extending from Southern Chile north to Panama and then extending west over the Galapagos reaching to 130W. There is some signs of cooling along the immediate coast of Southern Peru. Neutral to weak cool temps are west of there on the equator to 160W. La Nina is gone and it looks like an El Nino like pattern is returning, though that seems not possible. It's likely just a warm push in the Nino1.2 region and is not expected to make a significant footprint into the Nino3.4 region.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (2/10): A cooling trend is along immediate Peru but a warming trend extends from Ecuador out over the Galapagos extending west to the dateline. In any other year one would wonder if El Nino was developing.
Hi-res Overview: (2/10) There is no sign of La Nina cool waters from Ecuador west to at least 140W. Instead warmer than normal water is in.cgiay. The only real remnants are from 145W-170E and even those appear to be in collapse and heading west. La Nina is dead and it's remnants are loosing coverage quickly. This is good news.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (2/11) Today's temps were steady at +0.053 or nearly neutral, but certainly not cool.
Nino 3.4 Daily CDAS Index Temps: Today (2/11) temps were falling slightly at -0.583. Temps have been oscillating warm to cool and back in 2-3 week cycles within a range from -0.0 to -0.5 degs but are trending steadily warmer.
CFSV2 Forecast for Nino3.4 SST Anomalies
SST Anomaly Projections
CFSv2 Uncorrected Data (2/11) This model indicates La Nina developed from June thru Oct in the -0.55 deg range then started fading with temps rising to neutral by Jan 1. La Nina is dead. The forecast has temps rising abruptly to +0.5 degs March 1 building to +1.0 degs in April and holding to July, then rising slightly to +1.25 degs through Oct, suggesting a return of El Nino. This indicates that La Nina is over and a return to at least normal temps is expected in Spring. The change in the atmosphere will be slower. An El Nino outcome seems improbable.
IRI Consensus Plume: The mid-Jan Plume depicts temps are warming and are now at -0.2 degs. A slow increase in temps is forecast thereafter to neutral 0.0 in March 2017 warming to +0.2 degs in May and holding into the Fall. This is no different than the Dec forecast and suggests La Nina is over. See chart here - link.
Atmospheric Deco.cgiing (Indicating the presence of El Nino in the atmosphere driven by the ocean):
Southern Oscillation Index (2/10): The daily index was positive today at +5.62, the 11th day in a row positive. The 30 day average was falling at -1.95, negative for 11 days in a row and the first time it's been negative since November. The 90 day average was rising some at +1.49. All this suggests the Inactive Phase of the MJO was trying to get a foot the door in early Feb.
ESPI (like SOI but based on satellite confirmed precipitation. Positive is good, negative bad): (2/11) Today's value was rising some at -0.90. A peak low was reached on 11/2 at -1.94 the deepest it had been in this La Nina event. But that since backed off but has held in the -1.2 range since. Now even this indicator suggests La Nina is loosing it's grip. This measures atmospheric response, not oceanic. The atmosphere lags changes in the ocean driven by the ENSO cycle. The expectation is this index will continue rising.
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) are: +21, This continues to look like the warm phase of the PDO.
The Washington EDU index (Jan-Dec) has not updated for Jan yet.
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