Friday, March 3, 2017
- Buoy 106 (Waimea): Seas were 3.7 ft @ 9.1 secs with swell 2.4 ft @ 9.6 secs from 52 degrees.
- Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 2.3 ft @ 13.7 secs with swell 1.4 ft @ 13.7 secs from 247 degrees. Wind west 4-6 kts. Water temperature 57.7 degs. At Ventura swell was 0.8 ft @ 13.3 secs from 221 degrees. At Santa Monica swell was 1.1 ft @ 16.7 secs from 201 degrees. At Camp Pendleton swell was 1.0 ft @ 16.9 secs from 219 degrees. Southward at Pt Loma swell was 1.5 ft @ 13.4 secs from 243 degrees.
- Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 8.6 ft @ 13.3 secs with swell 4.4 ft @ 12.4 secs from 317 degrees. Wind northwest 18-20 kts at the buoy. Water temp 54.3 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 Friday (3/3) in North and Central CA background swell was producing waves in the chest to head high range on the sets and clean with light offshores and lined up at top breaks. It looks fun. Protected breaks were waist high and clean. At Santa Cruz surf was thigh to waist high and clean on the bigger sets but real slow. In Southern California up north set waves were thigh to waist high and clean and lined up. In North Orange Co surf was flat and clean. In San Diego surf was maybe thigh to waist high and clean and real weak. Hawaii's North Shore was small with waves maybe waist high on the sets at top spots but clean. The South Shore was flat and clean. The East Shore was getting northeast windswell with waves waist high and clean with light south-southwest winds.
See QuikCASTs for the 5 day surf overview or read below for the detailed view.
On Friday (3/3) no swell was in the water driven by a calm atmospheric and sea state that has been in control for the past week. A gale was developing on the dateline Thurs-Fri (3/3) with up to 26 ft seas aimed at Hawaii from a very westerly angle. And a very weak gale is to develop in the Northern Gulf Fri-Sat (3/4) with 18-20 ft seas aimed at California. Another weak gale is to form on the dateline Mon-Tues (3/7) falling southeast with 22-24 ft seas targeting Hawaii. Otherwise a .cgiit jetstream pattern driven by the Inactive Phase of the MJO is to continue to control the macro weather picture for a while longer hampering gale development and swell production.
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis.cgius forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
On Friday AM (3/3) the jetstream was pushing east off Japan in a thin stream at 150 kts making it to the dateline before .cgiitting with the northern branch tracking north into the Bering Sea then falling southeast through the Northeastern Gulf eventually moving over Vancouver Island while the southern branch tracked southeast over Hawaii, then .cgiitting with some energy migrating southeast to the equator and the rest tracking east towards California but falling south before reaching the coast eventually moving into Baja. A weak trough was developing just east of the dateline and just west of the .cgiit point. Over the next 72 hours things are to stabilize some with the trough on the dateline holding organization into Sun AM (3/5) while the remaining flow falling southeast through the Gulf builds some with winds 130-140 kts pushing into North CA. The dateline trough looks to offer support for gale development and the trough in the Gulf is to support for weather relative to California. Beyond 72 hours starting Mon (3/6) both troughs are to vaporize with the northern branch getting separated from the main flow. But right when it looks like the jet is to consolidate, instead the jet is to .cgiit just off Japan on Tues (3/7) with the northern branch tracking hard north up over Kamchatka and north of the Bering Sea offering no hope for trough development east of there. Likewise the southern branch is to be falling southeast tracking hard over Hawaii. Winds behind the .cgiit over Japan are to build to 170 kts pushing the .cgiit point eastward and reaching the dateline and even a little east of there by Fri (3/10). But still there's no clear indication of any immediate improvements for the jet. As long as the Inactive Phase of the MJO is in control, the jet will be .cgiit and mostly unsupportive of meaningful gale development. The interesting thing is that the predominant pattern this winter has been supportive of precipitation relative to California, even through the Inactive Phase of the MJO. And if one is to believe the models, it now appears that that pattern will be sustained. Maybe it's hangover from 2 years of El Nino (unlikely at this late date) or the switch of the PDO (more likely), but it is interesting regardless. Once such a bias is in.cgiace, it bulls it's way through whatever is happening on a day to day basis.
On Friday (3/3) no swell of interest was in the water. High pressure was weakly in control off California but retreating as low pressure from the Gulf of Alaska was falling southeast. The low is to take control Sat (3/4), then high returns on Mon (3/6). Likewise low pressure is to be moving close to Hawaii on Sat (3/4) from the northwest, then retreating by later Sunday.
Over the next 72 hours two weather systems are of immediate interest, but neither are to be remarkable (see Dateline Gale below and Gulf Gale below).
A surface low previously off Japan started building as it approached the dateline Wed PM (3/1) generating 45 kt north winds aimed at the Southern Hemisphere only with seas building from 26 ft at 33N 168E. On Thurs AM (3/2) winds were 40 kts aimed south but starting to get some momentum wrapping into the gales southwest quadrant aimed somewhat at Hawaii at 35 kts with seas 28 ft at 32N 171E with 23 ft seas aimed at Hawaii at 28N 173E. In the evening winds built at 45-50 kts still aimed mostly south with seas 28 ft in the gales west quadrant at 35N 179E with 22 ft seas aimed at Hawaii from 28N 178E. On Friday AM (3/3) the gale continued with 40 kt north-northwest winds on the dateline aimed better at Hawaii with 28 ft seas at 34N 179E (308 degs HI). The gale is to start fading in the evening with winds dropping to 35 kts aimed southeast with seas fading from 24 ft at 35N 180W targeting Hawaii better (310 degree path) but not optimal. The gale is to fade some Sat AM (3/4) with 30-35 kt northwest winds just east of the dateline targeting Hawaii well with 22 ft seas fading at 35N 177W (314 degs HI). Sat PM residual 30 kt northwest winds are to be targeting Hawaii well with 20 ft seas fading at 34N 171W. The gale is to dissipate from there. Swell possible for Hawaii by the weekend.
Hawaii: Swell arrival Sun (3/5) building to 5.6 ft @ 15 secs late afternoon (8.0 ft). Swell continues Mon (3/6) at 5.6 ft @ 13-14 secs (7.5 ft). Swell fading Tues AM (3/7) from 4.8 ft @ 12 secs (5.5-6.0 ft). Swell Direction: 307-310 degrees
On Friday (3/3) a gale is to develop falling south through the Northeastern Gulf of Alaska with winds 30-35 kts into the evening with 18-20 ft seas at 48N 145W (313 degs NCal). By Sat AM (3/4) winds to be fading from 30 kts with seas 18-20 ft at 46N 140W. In the evening fetch is to be fading from 25-30 kts off the Oregon-CA border falling southeast with 17 ft seas over a tiny area at 45N 139W (315 degs NCal). The low is to move into North CA in the evening into Sun AM (3/5). Some windswell could result for the US West Coast but likely under poor local conditions initially.
North CA: Rough estimates suggest swell arrival on Sun (3/5) building to 7.5 ft @ 11-12 secs (8.5 ft). Swell fading Mon AM (3/6) from 6.5 ft @ 12-13 secs (8.0 ft). Swell fading Tues AM (3/7) from 4.5 ft @ 10-11 secs (5.0 ft). 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 Friday AM (3/2) high pressure was retreating from California waters with low pressure building in the Northeastern Gulf falling southeast towards the state. Still northwest winds were 15-20 kts off the North and Central CA coasts and expected to hold through the day. A front is to start pushing to the Oregon-CA border Friday afternoon with southwest winds and rain moving into Cape Mendocino late afternoon pushing to Point Arena late evening. High pressure is to vaporize on Saturday off California with low pressure moving down the Washington coast with southwest winds 15 kts reaching south to Monterey Bay and 20 kts up into North CA with rain reaching south to Monterey Bay and snow reaching to Tahoe late afternoon. Sunday west winds are to turn northwest later in the day at 15-20 kts reaching south to San Diego and rain pushing south to San Diego too. Moderately heavy snow expected for Tahoe Saturday night into Sunday AM reaching south to the Southern Sierras through the day then fading slowly overnight. 30-32 inches of accumulation possible for Tahoe and 18 inches for Mammoth through 7 AM Monday. Monday AM high pressure is to start rebuilding off Pt Conception with north winds 20 kts for Pt Conception but calm from Monterey Bay northward. Light rain from Monterey Bay northward fading through the day. Light to modest snow for Tahoe down to Kirkwood through the day but no further south clearing after sunset. 4-5 inches of additional accumulation possible. Tuesday (3/7) another far weaker surface low is to move into Oregon with south winds 25 kts for Cape Mendocino but light winds from Pt Arena south to Monterey Bay and north winds 15 kts south of there to Pt Conception. Light rain limited to the area from Pt Arena northward. No snow for the Sierras. Wednesday north winds continue at 15 kts from Monterey Bay south to Pt Conception continuing Thursday (3/9). Rain limited to Cape Mendocino Wednesday pushing south to Bodega bay Thursday (3/9) with rain for all but the highest peaks of Tahoe late evening. Fri (3/10) northwest winds are forecast for all of North and Central CA 15 kts. Scattered rain showers for the Sierra. High pressure setting up just off California.
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 the dateline gale above is to redevelop Sun AM (3/5) still on the dateline but repositioned further north with 30 kt northwest winds and seas building from 18 ft. In the evening winds to be still be 30 kts from the northwest with seas building from 18 ft at 44N 173W aimed well at Hawaii. Finally on Mon AM (3/6) winds to build to 40 kts over a small area aimed directly at Hawaii 1650 nmiles out with 22 ft seas at 45N 171W. In the evening 40 kt northwest winds to continue with 23 ft seas at 45N 170W aimed well at Hawaii and somewhat at the US West Coast. On Tues AM (3/7) fetch is to be falling southeast and fading from 35 kts with 24 ft seas at 42N 172W. The gale is to dissipate in the evening with winds fading from 30 kts and seas 22 ft at 38N 170W targeting only Hawaii. Possible decent swell for Hawaii with luck.
Beyond 72 hours no swell producing fetch of interest is forecast.
More details to follow...
Inactive MJO Rules West Pacific - Significant Warming Building in the East
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.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 in the Pacific 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. 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 di.cgiaced and generally weak. And by March 2017, it was fading with suspicious warming developing along South America and over the Galapagos to a point south of Hawaii.
KWGA/Equatorial Surface Wind Analysis & Short-term Forecast:
Analysis (TAO Buoys): As of Thurs (3/2) east winds were solid over the entire equatorial Pacific and the Kelvin Wave Generation Area. Anomalies were modest westerly over the equatorial East Pacific but moderate.cgius easterly over the KWGA. La Nina's remnants in the atmosphere have not given up and are being enhanced by the Inactive Phase of the MJO.
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): Moderately east anomalies were modeled over the Kelvin Wave Generation Area attributable to the Inactive Phase of the MJO and extending east into the East Pacific. The forecast suggests building east anomalies to the strong category are to take hold of the KWGA into 3/8 as the Inactive Phase of the MJO builds there, then starting to moderate into 3/10. This suggests the Inactive Phase of the MJO is in control of the KWGA and is to hold for the coming week and likely beyond.
Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East
Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:
OLR Models: As of 3/2 the Inactive Phase of the MJO was in control of the West Pacific at moderate levels. The statistic model projects the Inactive Phase holding strength while tracking east over the dateline the next 5 days, then starting to fade on the dateline and almost gone 2 weeks out with the Active Phase trying to push into the West Pacific from the Indian Ocean. The dynamic model depicts the same thing initially but with the Inactive Phase weakening more over the dateline and all but gone 2 weeks out but with its remnants retrograding to the West Pacific.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (3/3) The ECMF model indicates the Active Phase of the MJO was moderate over the East Indian Ocean and is to track east while loosing strength and fading while moving into the West Pacific 2 weeks out and indiscernible. The GEFS model depicts the same thing only weaker. This model runs about a week ahead of what occurs down at the surface.
40 day Upper Level Model: (3/3) This model depicts a modest strength Inactive Phase of the MJO was over Central America and forecast tracking east and out of the picture in 3 days. A weak Active Phase is moving into the West Pacific and expected to reach the dateline 3/13 reaching Central America 3/23. A modest Inactive Phase is to follow in the West Pacific starting 4/1 pushing to the dateline 4/12. This model runs about 2 weeks ahead of what happens at the surface. The MJO is moving fast but to not as strong as previously projected.
CFS Model - 3 month (850 mb wind): (3/3) This model depicts the Inactive Phase is building over the West Pacific peaking 3/7 and is to hold control of the KWGA into 3/18 with moderate east anomalies in control. Beyond a broad but weak Active Phase is to follow starting 3/19 with weak west anomalies developing and building progressively stronger by 4/20 and not fading for the foreseeable future through 5/31. La Nina is to be gone per the low pass filter on 4/6 with El Nino taking hold 4/19. Projected west anomalies are dependent upon the evolution of El Nino.
CFSv2 3 month forecast for 850 mb winds, MJO, Rossby etc
Subsurface Waters Temps
TAO Array: (3/3) Actual temperatures remain stratified with warm water in the West Pacific at 30+ degs C (reaching east to 158E) and the 28 deg isotherm line reaching to 178W and steep, suggesting a hard break between warm water in the west and cool water in the east at depth. But 26 deg anomalies are building to the east reaching to the Galapagos over a shallow pool down 25 meters but continue thickening. Anomaly wise warm anomalies at +1-2 degs rule from the West Pacific but are not pushing east, reaching east to 165W. Neutral anomalies are east of there to Ecuador. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 2/27 depicts that warm water has built east forming a continuous path from the West Pacific to Ecuador at +0.5-1.0 degs suggesting a Kelvin Wave has evolved. La Nina has lost control of the ocean at depth with something that almost resembles a warm pattern taking shape.
Sea Level Anomalies: (2/27) A significant upgrade has developed here with the remaining La Nina negative anomalies dissipating at -5.0 cm's over 2 pockets stranding the equator between 100W to 120W 5 degs north and south getting progressively smaller in coverage and now positive anomalies are depicted at 0-+5 cms on the equator from Ecuador west to 130W. La Nina is gone in the East Pacific.
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: (3/2) The latest images (1.2 3.4) indicate warm water dominating the region extending from Northern Chile over Peru and north to Ecuador then extending west over the Galapagos with the warmest anomalies reaching to 100W but with solid warm anomalies out to 160W but 2 degs south of the equator. Temps are 2-4 degs above normal along the immediate South American coast and advecting west along the equator. Very impressive. And these waters extend east thousands of miles off the coast as far south as 25S. La Nina is gone and it looks like an El Nino like pattern is returning, though that seems hard to believe given the limited volume of subsurface warm water in the West equatorial Pacific.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (3/1): A strong warming trend is covering water of Chile, Peru and Ecuador extending west 4800 nmiles to 160W even as far south as 25S. It is also building north of the equator off Southern Mexico and Central America and west from there though not as strong. A growing warming trend is developing over the equatorial East Pacific with a large footprint.
Hi-res Overview: (3/1) There is no sign of La Nina cool waters from Ecuador west to at least 160W. Instead warmer than normal water is in.cgiay over that entire region. The only real remnants of La Nina are one small pocket from 160W-170E and those appear to be in collapse. La Nina is dead and it's remnants are loosing coverage quickly. This is good news. And it almost looks like El nino is trying to develop. The timing is right if a major event were to occur.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (3/3) Today's temps were falling slightly at +2.208 degs.
Nino 3.4 Daily CDAS Index Temps: Today (3/3) temps were falling at +0.163 degs. 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 now are spiking warm and well outside the previous trend all above the neutral line. A turn to a warmer regime looks like it's developing. But it's way to early to proclaim anything more than that.
CFSV2 Forecast for Nino3.4 SST Anomalies
SST Anomaly Projections
CFSv2 Uncorrected Data (3/3) The forecast has temps rising steadily to +0.5 degs mid-March building to +0.8 degs in April rising to +1.0 in May, holding then rising in August to +1.5 degs early Oct, and +1.6 by Nov suggesting a return of El Nino. La Nina is over and a return to at least normal temps is expected in Spring. The change in the atmosphere will be slower. But the dramatic El Nino outcome indicated by this model seems improbably high unless there is some unknown store of latent heat energy hiding in the equatorial West Pacific.
IRI Consensus Plume: The mid-Feb Plume just updated today (2/16) and depicts temps are warming and are now at neutral 0.0 degs. A slow increase in temps is forecast thereafter to +0.5 degs in July holding into the Fall. This is +0.3 degs warmer than the January forecast and suggests La Nina is over and a warmer regime is setting up. See chart here - link.
Atmospheric Deco.cgiing (Indicating the presence of El Nino in the atmosphere driven by the ocean):
Southern Oscillation Index (3/2): The daily index has return to negative at -3.45 (17 day negative streak less 2 days positive at Feb 27). The 30 day average was falling at -2.36 despite a clear Inactive Phase of the MJO in.cgiay. The 90 day average was steady at -0.33. This suggests at least a neutral pattern has taken hold.
ESPI (like SOI but based on satellite confirmed precipitation. Positive is good, negative bad): (3/3) Today's value was rising quickly at -0.82 up from -0.97 6 days ago. This is likely in response to rising sea surface temps, but still negative suggesting a continuation of La Nina at least for a little longer. A peak low was reached on 11/2 at -1.94 the deepest it had been in this La Nina event. This measures atmospheric response, not oceanic. The atmosphere lags behind changes in the ocean. The expectation is this index will rise to 0.0 three months after the oceanic change occurred (Oceanic change occurred approx Jan 20 2017). So on March 20 the index should be neutral.
Pacific Decadal Oscillation: The PDO continues positive, though much weaker lately (as expected with La Nina setting in).
Per NOAAs index recent values (Jan-Dec): Jan 2017 = +0.21, This continues to look like the warm phase of the PDO. No consistently negative readings have occurred since Feb 2014
The Washington EDU index (Jan-Dec): Jan 2017 = +0.77. 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