Thursday, March 9, 2017
- Buoy 106 (Waimea): Seas were 12.4 ft @ 15.4 secs with swell 9.9 ft @ 14.5 secs from 320 degrees.
- Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 3.0 ft @ 13.7 secs with swell 1.6 ft @ 13.7 secs from 290 degrees. Wind east 2-4 kts. Water temperature 58.5 degs. At Ventura swell was 1.1 ft @ 13.4 secs from 255 degrees. At Santa Monica swell was 1.7 ft @ 13.6 secs from 250 degrees. At Camp Pendleton swell was 1.3 ft @ 13.6 secs from 223 degrees. Southward at Pt Loma swell was 1.9 ft @ 13.1 secs from 225 degrees.
- Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 6.2 ft @ 11.8 secs with swell 3.6 ft @ 12.2 secs from 288 degrees. Wind northwest 12-14 kts at the buoy. Water temp 54.7 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 Thursday (3/9) in North and Central CA windswell was producing waves in the shoulder to head high range on the sets but real warbled with a light northwest winds and bump on it. Protected breaks were waist to shoulder high and lumpy with fog. At Santa Cruz surf was thigh to waist high on the sets and clean but slow. In Southern California up north set waves were thigh to waist high and clean but weak. In North Orange Co surf was waist to maybe chest high on the biggest sets and clean but weak. In San Diego surf was thigh to waist high and textured with light onshore winds. Hawaii's North Shore was getting new dateline swell with waves 10 ft Hawaiian and a bit raw but rideable. The South Shore was getting west wrap-around energy at chest high at better breaks and clean. The East Shore was getting the same dateline swell with waves 1-2 ft overhead high and lightly chopped from east trades.
See QuikCASTs for the 5 day surf overview or read below for the detailed view.
On Thursday (3/9) swell from a gale previously on the dateline Mon-Tues (3/7) falling southeast with 31 ft seas was hitting Hawaii. Small sideband swell from it was tracking towards California. a small gale is developing off Oregon with 20 ft seas projected in the evening targeting California somewhat. A tiny gale is forecast on the dateline Fri (3/10) with 23 ft seas targeting Hawaii. And a small gale is forecast off Japan on Wed-Thurs (3/16) possibly generating 34 ft seas making limited eastward progress. And a small gale is projected in the Eastern Gulf on Wed (3/15) with 33 ft seas. Otherwise a .cgiit jetstream driven by the Inactive Phase of the MJO is to continue to suppress gale development a while longer.
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis.cgius forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
On Thursday AM (3/9) the jetstream was pushing strong east off Japan at 180 kts making it to the dateline then .cgiitting with the northern branch tracking north of even the the Bering Sea then falling south over Alaska and through the Gulf of Alaska joining the main flow 600 nmiles north of Hawaii while the southern branch tracked southeast over Hawaii, then .cgiit again with some energy migrating southeast over the southern tip of Baja and the rest tracking northeast up into Oregon. No real troughs were indicated offering no support for gale development. that said a weak backdoor trough was trying to develop in the Gulf associated with the northern branch flow falling through the Gulf. Over the next 72 hours through Sun (3/12) the northern branch is to get cut off from the main flow circulating as a closed low over the Bering Sea. The jet is to be pushing east-southeast off Japan building to 160 kts over the dateline down at 30N making it to a point 300 nmiles north of Hawaii, then .cgiitting with the north branch pushing into British Columbia and the southern branch moving weakly over Baja. No troughs of interest were indicated offering no support for gale development. Beyond 72 hours the same basic pattern is to hold until the end of the one week run, when on Thurs (3/16) isolated closed low in the Bering sea falls southeast and starts merging with the main flow over the Gulf of Alaska. At that time the jet is to be running flat east off Japan down at 30N with winds to 150 kts over the West Pacific, then weakening some on the dateline and proceeding east at 120-130 kts then lifting northeast some through the Gulf pushing into the Pacific Northwest. Again, no troughs were indicated suggesting no support for gale development.
On Thursday (3/9) swell from a gale previously over the dateline was hitting Hawaii (see Dateline Gale below). Otherwise weak low pressure was trying to develop off Southern Oregon (see Oregon Low below). Also low pressure was trying to develop over the dateline.
Over the next 72 hours starting Thurs AM (3/9) low pressure was developing just west of the dateline producing a small fetch of 30 kt northwest winds starting to get traction on the oceans surface. By the evening it is to track southeast with winds building to near 40 kt over a small area with 20 ft seas at 36N 170E targeting Hawaii. On Fri AM (3/10) fetch is to build in coverage at 30-35 kts from the northwest covering 800 nmiles with seas 22 ft at 35N 176E targeting Hawaii. In the evening 30 kt northwest fetch is to hold coverage aimed directly at Hawaii with 18-20 ft seas peaking at 35N 180W. On Sat AM (3/11) fetch is to fade to 25 kts 700 nmiles northwest of Hawaii with seas fading from 17 ft at 36N 176W. This system is to dissipate from there while racing northeast. Maybe windswell is to result for Hawaii peaking on Mon (3/13).
A very weak low was developing 650 nmiles west of Oregon Thurs AM (3/9) with winds 30 kts from the west and seas building. In the evening it is to move to a point just off Oregon with 30 kt west winds ands seas 20 ft at 43N 134W (304 degs NCal). This system is to be moving inland after that. Low odds for windswell reaching North CA Friday (3/10) into the early weekend.
North CA: Expect swell arrival at sunset Fri (3/10) at 3 ft @ 14 secs (4.0 ft). Swell peaking early Sat AM (3/11) before sunrise fading from 5.4 ft @ 11 secs (6.0 ft) at sunrise dropping from 4 ft @ 10 secs late afternoon (4.0 ft). Swell Direction 300 degrees.
A gale previously over the dateline faded then stated redeveloping Sun AM (3/5) still on the dateline but repositioned further north with 30 kt northwest winds and seas building from 20 ft. In the evening winds built to 35 kts from the northwest with seas building in coverage at 20 at 44N 167W aimed well at Hawaii. Finally on Mon AM (3/6) winds built to 40 kts over a small area aimed directly at Hawaii 1600 nmiles out with 22 ft seas at 42N 170W. In the evening 45 kt northwest winds developed starting to fall southeast with 30 ft seas at 41N 170W aimed well at Hawaii and somewhat at the US West Coast. On Tues AM (3/7) fetch was falling southeast and fading from 40 kts with 30 ft seas at 38N 168W. The gale is to dissipate in the evening with winds fading from 30 kts and seas 23 ft at 35N 167W targeting only Hawaii. Possible decent swell for Hawaii.
Hawaii: Swell continues Thurs AM (3/9) fading from 7.8 ft @ 14 secs (10.5 ft). Swell fading Fri AM (3/10) from 5.1 ft @ 11-12 secs (6.0 ft). Swell Direction: 330 degrees
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
No tropical systems of interest are being monitored.
California Nearshore Forecast
On Thursday AM (3/9) high pressure was ridging into North California with low pressure poised to move into Oregon. Winds were northwest at 15 kts from Pt Arena southward to Pt Conception and up to 20 kts over the southern portion of that region. Light rain was over Cape Mendocino. Fri (3/10) more of the same is forecast with northwest winds 15-20 kts for all of Central CA and up into North CA to Pt Arena with light rain early for Cape Mendocino. Saturday northwest winds to be 15-20 kts again limited to Central CA early then building north in the evening to Pt Arena and then up to near Cape Mendocino on Sunday with high pressure ridging north into Oregon. More of the same on Monday. By Tues (3/14) northwest winds to be limited to the area north of the Golden Gate at 20 kts then fading out on Wed (3/15) as very weak low pressure starts moving into the Pacific Northwest. Thurs (3/16) south winds are forecast for North Ca from Pt Reyes northward at 10 kts with north winds from Monterey bay southward to Pt Conception at 15 kts. No snow is forecast for the next 10 days.
There continues to be suggestions of a gale developing southeast of New Zealand on Fri (3/10) with seas to 39 ft late over a tiny area aimed east at 57S 167W. The gale is to track east Sat (3/11) with seas fading to 30 ft late at 54S 145W. Maybe small sideband swell for Hawaii up into the US West Coast.
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 gale is forecast developing off Japan on Wed PM (3/15) with 45 kt northwest winds easing east targeting mainly the southern hemi with seas 26 ft at 33N 158E. The gale is to pull apart some Thurs AM (3/16) with 40 kt northwest winds starting to target Hawaii with seas 30 ft at 35N 163E. 40-45 kt northwest winds to continue tracking east in the evening with 34 ft seas at 37N 168E. Something to monitor.
Also a tiny gale is to develop well off the Pacific Northwest on Wed AM (3/15) with 50 kt northwest winds over a tiny area with seas building from 26 ft at 44N 145W targeting North and Central CA. In the evening winds to hold at near 50 kts with the gale tracking northeast and seas building from 34 ft at 44N 140W. Thurs AM (3/16) this system is to be racing northeast with winds fading from 40 kts and seas fading from 30 ft at 47N 132W and outside the CA swell window targeting only Oregon, Washington and British Columbia. Something to monitor.
Beyond 72 hours another gale is projected well southeast of New Zealand on Wed (3/15) peaking in the evening with seas at 43 ft at 62S 170W holding into Thurs AM (3/16) at 62S 163W. Something to monitor.
More details to follow...
Strong Inactive MJO In Control - La Nina Cool Pool Expanding
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 Wed (3/8) east winds were solid over the entire equatorial Pacific and the Kelvin Wave Generation Area. Anomalies were neutral over the equatorial East Pacific but strong 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): Strong east anomalies were modeled over the Kelvin Wave Generation Area attributable to the Inactive Phase of the MJO and extending into the East Pacific. The forecast suggests east anomalies have peaked and are to slowly track east, but not giving up strength but still totally in control of the eastern KWGA/dateline region at moderate strength a week out (3/16). 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 3/8 the Inactive Phase of the MJO was weakly in control of the dateline region at modest levels. The statistic model projects the Inactive Phase loosing strength while tracking east and gone from the dateline and KWGA 8 days out with the Active Phase moving over the West Pacific 2 weeks out. The dynamic model depicts the same thing initially but with the Inactive Phase redeveloping over the West Pacific to moderate strength 2 weeks out.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (3/9) The ECMF model indicates the Active Phase of the MJO was weak over the East Indian Ocean and is to ease east while loosing strength and fading, still over the Maritime Continent 2 weeks out and indiscernible. The GEFS model depicts the Active Phase retrograding back to the West Indian Ocean 2 week out and weak. This model runs about a week ahead of what occurs down at the surface.
40 day Upper Level Model: (3/9) This model depicts a weak Active Phase moving into the West Pacific 3/14 reaching the dateline 3/22 and dissipating. A modest Inactive Phase is to follow in the West Pacific starting 3/29 pushing to Central America 4/16. 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): (3/9) This model depicts the Inactive Phase has peaked just west of the dateline on 3/8 and is to slowly loose control of the KWGA into 3/17 with moderate east anomalies in control. Beyond a weak Active Phase is to follow starting 3/18 with weak west anomalies developing and building progressively through the forecast period and strong by 5/10 and not fading for the foreseeable future through 6/6. La Nina is to be gone per the low pass filter on 4/16 (holding this report but previously 4/6) with El Nino taking hold 4/26 (previously 5/2 and 4/19 before that). We're trying to asses whether the model is still slipping or starting to congeal on a firm date for the start of an El Nino like episode. Projected west anomalies are dependent upon the evolution of El Nino and the date of that development has previously been slipping with each run of the model.
CFSv2 3 month forecast for 850 mb winds, MJO, Rossby etc
Subsurface Waters Temps
TAO Array: (3/9) 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 179E and steep, but not as steep as weeks and month before, but still suggesting a hard break between warm water in the west and cool water in the east at depth. But 26 deg anomalies continue building to the east reaching to the Galapagos over a shallow pool down 25 meters (50 meters at 140W) but continue thickening. Anomaly wise warm anomalies at +1-2 degs rule the West Pacific reaching to 165W with a stream of neutral anomalies tracking from there to Ecuador. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 3/4 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: (3/4) 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. Positive anomalies are depicted at 0-+5 cms on the equator from Ecuador west to 140W in one continuous thin stream. 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: (3/8) 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 120W but with solid warm anomalies out to 160W at +2-3 degs but positioned south of the equator from 120W to 160W and cooler water building on the equator there. This appears to be a southern hemi warming pattern in Nino1.2 but at the same time La Nina cooling is reappearing in the NIno3.4 region. 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 (3/8): The previous warming trend covering waters of Chile, Peru and Ecuador is moderating and neutral if not trending cooler nearshore but still warming some well off the coast. Cooling in indicated between Ecuador and the Galapagos and in several pockets at out to 120W. The warming trend is starting to fade some likely the result of west anomalies that were in the East Pacific fading as the Active Phase of the MJO moved into the Indian Ocean.
Hi-res Overview: (3/8) There is now sign of La Nina cool waters redeveloping from 120-160W. A warm regime holds from Ecuador west to 120W. Remnants of La Nina continue from 160W-170E. It almost looks like El Nino is trying to develop but is not making headway into the Nino3.4 region, instead confined to Nino1.2.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (3/9) Today's temps were falling some at +1.155 degs.
Nino 3.4 Daily CDAS Index Temps: Today (3/9) temps were falling some at -0.091 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 (3/9) The forecast has temps at +0.5 degs mid-March building to +0.7 degs in April rising to +0.8 in May, holding in the +0.7-0.8 range through the summer then rising to +0.9 degs early Oct suggesting a return of a weak El Nino. This is a bit of a downgrade from previous runs that had temps to +1.3 degs or more. Regardless, La Nina is over and a return to at least normal temps is expected in Spring. The change in the atmosphere will be slower. And a turn to weak El Nino conditions is possible late summer into Fall. Still, there is no source from grater warming with the warm pool in the far West Pacific pretty weak.
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 (3/9): The daily index is near neutral at -2.87 but was strong positive 4 days ago (+25.61 on 3/5). The 30 day average was falling at -4.16. The 90 day average was falling some at +0.17 or effectively neutral. This suggests a return to neutral ENSO conditions has taken hold.
ESPI (like SOI but based on satellite confirmed precipitation. Positive is good, negative bad): (3/9) Today's value has fallen again at -0.84. This is likely in response to falling sea surface temps in Nino3.4 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. That seems like a reach.
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, Feb = +0.08. 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