Tuesday, March 14, 2017
- Buoy 106 (Waimea): Seas were 6.9 ft @ 13.5 secs with swell 5.5 ft @ 12.4 secs from 321 degrees.
- Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 2.4 ft @ 15.9 secs with swell 1.3 ft @ 15.4 secs from 251 degrees. Wind southeast 2-4 kts. Water temperature 59.7 degs. At Ventura swell was 1.3 ft @ 9.0 secs from 278 degrees. At Santa Monica swell was 1.5 ft @ 16.1 secs from 215 degrees. At Camp Pendleton swell was 1.3 ft @ 16.2 secs from 215 degrees. Southward at Pt Loma swell was 1.5 ft @ 15.9 secs from 191 degrees.
- Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 4.6 ft @ 12.5 secs with swell 2.8 ft @ 9.9 secs from 277 degrees. Wind northwest 12-14 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 Tuesday (3/14) in North and Central CA windswell was producing waves in the waist high range on the sets and clean with light offshore's but generally weak. Protected breaks were thigh high on the sets and clean and gutless. At Santa Cruz surf was thigh high on the sets and clean but slow and warbled from too much tide early. In Southern California up north surf was flat and clean and foggy. Sounds like summer. In North Orange Co surf was assumed to be thigh high and clean but was enshrouded in fog. In San Diego surf was thigh high and lightly textured with that texture coming from the north - barely rideable. Hawaii's North Shore was getting more dateline swell with waves 3-4 ft overhead on the sets at top breaks and clean - the standout location of the day. The South Shore was flat and clean. The East Shore was getting wrap-around dateline swell at waist to chest high and textured with light east trades blowing.
See QuikCASTs for the 5 day surf overview or read below for the detailed view.
On Tuesday (3/14) swell from a tiny gale that developed on the dateline Fri (3/10) with 21 ft seas pushing east was hitting HAwaii making for rideable surf. Of more interest is a small gale forecast developing off Japan tracking east to the almost the dateline Wed-Thurs (3/16) possibly generating up to 34 ft seas then lifting north producing 26 ft seas on Fri (3/17) before dissipating. Nothing else is forecast behind out 180 hrs. In the southern hemisphere a gale developed southeast of New Zealand on Fri (3/10) producing a small area of seas to 40 ft then quickly faded with seas dropping from 32 ft Sat AM (3/11). A gale is forecast southeast of New Zealand on Mon-Tues (3/21) with 35 ft seas aimed east but odds low of that occurring. Nothing else is on the charts north or south. The one ray of light is that the jetstream is forecast to consolidate with improving odds for swell production 5+ days out.
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis.cgius forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
On Tuesday AM (3/14) the jetstream was pushing solidly east off Japan with winds 160 kts then fading over the dateline but still consolidated then starting to .cgiit north of Hawaii with the northern branch tracking northeast up into British Columbia with the southern branch tracking parallel to it pushing into Baja much like it has been for the past week. A upper level circulation remained in.cgiace over the Bering Sea. No troughs were present offering no support for gale development. Over the next 72 hours a change is to start developing on Wed (3/15) with the Bering Sea cutoff low starting to join the main flow in the Gulf of Alaska. At the same time winds in the jet are to start building off Japan to 170 kts pushing east with a weak trough starting to build midway between Japan and the Dateline continuing into early Fri (3/17) and being supportive of gale development. Beyond 72 hours the jet is to become fully consolidated pushing off Japan with winds building to 150 kts pushing flat east over the dateline and reaching a point northeast of Hawaii and not .cgiitting, but weakening some and tracking east into California by Sunday (3/19). By Tues (3/21) the fully consolidated jet is to be pushing into Southern CA at 90 kts with a trough over and just off the coast and stronger winds fully consolidated at generally 130 kts from Japan to a point 700 nmiles west of Central CA. No clear support for gale development is suggested but weather is possible for California.
On Tuesday (3/14) swell from a gale previously over the dateline was hitting Hawaii (see Dateline Gale below) with some energy from it expected into California. Otherwise weak low pressure was in the Northeast Gulf of Alaska not doing anything of interest but a stronger low was developing off Japan.
Over the next 72 hours a gale is forecast developing off Japan on Wed AM (3/15) with 45 kt north winds easing east targeting mainly the southern hemi with seas 34 ft at 31N 146E. In the evening a new fetch of 45 kt west winds is to build east of the original fetch with seas 33 ft at 35N 162 over a tiny area. The gale is to lift northeast Thurs AM (3/16) with 35-40 kt northwest winds starting to target Hawaii with seas 32 ft at 35N 168E. 30-35 kt northwest winds to grow in coverage while lifting slowly north in the evening with 26 ft seas at 39N 174E. On Fri AM (3/17) the gale is to retrograde west with 35-40 kt west winds off the Southern Kuril's with 22 ft seas from the original fetch at 43N 178E. Fetch is to hold in the evening off the Kuril's at 40 kts with 24 ft seas developing at 44N 163E. The gale is to be stationary Sat AM (3/18) with 35 kt west winds and seas 24 ft at 43N 167E. The gale is to be fading in the evening with fetch dropping from 25-30 kts and seas 19 ft over a smaller footprint at 42N 170E. This system is to fade from there. This is nothing remarkable but could produce a nice longer lasting pulse of small swell for the Islands with limited energy reaching the US West Coast. Something to monitor.
On Thurs AM (3/9) low pressure was developing just west of the dateline producing a small fetch of 35 kt northwest winds starting to get traction on the oceans surface. By the evening it was tracking 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 700 nmiles with seas 21 ft at 35N 177E targeting Hawaii. In the evening 30-35 kt northwest fetch is to hold coverage aimed directly at Hawaii with 18-20 ft seas peaking at 39N 177E. On Sat AM (3/11) fetch is to fade to 25 kts 800 nmiles northwest of Hawaii with seas fading from 18 ft at 40N 180W. This system is to dissipate from there while racing northeast. Maybe windswell is to result for Hawaii peaking on Mon (3/13).
Hawaii: Swell fading over night down Tues AM (3/14) to 3.9 ft @ 12 secs (4.5 ft) and fading from there. Swell Direction: 312 degrees
North CA: Weak swell energy is to be reaching the CA coast later Tues PM (3/14) pushing 4 ft @ 11-12 secs (4.5 ft). Swell is to continue on Wed (3/15) at 4 ft @ 10-11 secs (4.0 ft) fading late. Swell Direction: 280 degrees
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
No tropical systems of interest are being monitored.
California Nearshore Forecast
On Tuesday AM (3/14) weak high pressure was fading along the North and Central California coasts with weak low pressure in the Northeastern Gulf of Alaska trying to push south. Winds were north 10 kts or less over outer waters and light nearshore. On Wed (3/15) the front from the low is to move to Cape Mendocino and evaporate with south winds 15-20 kt early for Cape Mendocino and weak south winds 5 kts down to maybe Bodega Bay. Light winds south of there. Light rain south to Pt Arena. Thurs (3/16) high pressure is to try and briefly return with north winds to 15 kts mainly near Pt Conception later in the day. Another low is to be building west of it and the Gulf low is to be stationary and building. On Friday the low off the CA coast is to move northeast with light winds for all of California and south winds 20+ kts for Cape Mendocino near sunset. Maybe light rain for Cape Mendocino later. On Saturday the low is to move inland over South Oregon with south winds 20-25 kts for Cape Mendocino and south at 10 kts to the Golden Gate, otherwise light west 5 kts south of there to Pt Conception. Rain for North CA with sprinkles down to Pt Reyes later building to light rain overnight extending south to maybe the Golden Gate. Maybe light snow for highest elevations of Yosemite down to Mammoth otherwise light rain for the Sierras. A light wind and pressure pattern is forecast for Sunday (3/19) with lingering sprinkles confined to the area between Monterey Bay and San Francisco. Light rain through the day for the Sierras south to and including Yosemite. Monday (3/20) a stronger low is to be off the North and Central coasts with south winds building to 15 kts at sunset and light rain building from Morro Bay northward at sunset continuing overnight. Tuesday (3/21) the low is to still be circulating just off the coast with south winds 15-20 kts from Santa Barbara northward and rain for the entire state. Snow developing in the AM for Mammoth north to Tahoe at higher elevations and snow levels falling in the evening. The low is to hang off the coast on Wednesday with another low queuing up behind it. Snow continuing for the Sierras into Thurs AM (3/23) if one is to believe the models.
A gale is forecast to develop in the far Southeast Pacific on Tues PM (3/14) with 45 kt south winds and seas building from 28 ft at 52S 117W aimed due north and barely in the Southern CA swell window but mainly targeting mainland Mexico. The gale is to hold while tracking east Wed AM (3/15) with south winds 45 kts and seas 32 ft at 51S 113W moving out of the SCal swell window but targeting Mexico well. Fetch fading from 40 kts in the evening with 31 ft seas at 51S 107W targeting only Mainland Mexico. The gale is to dissipate from there. Something to monitor.
Small New Zealand Storm
A storm developed southeast of New Zealand on Thurs PM (3/9) with 55 kt southwest winds and seas building to 32 ft at 57S 174E over a tiny area. On Fri AM (3/10) winds faded some to 50 kts over a somewhat larger area though still small with seas 39 ft over a tiny area aimed east at 57S 174W. The gale tracked east in the evening with fetch fading from 45 kts from the west and seas fading to 38 ft at 56S 163W. Fetch faded Sat AM (3/11) from 40 kts with seas fading from 32 ft at 56S 153W. The gale faded from there. Maybe small sideband swell for Hawaii up into the US West Coast.
Hawaii: Tiny swell for Hawaii starting late Fri (3/17) at 0.8 ft @ 16-17 secs (1.0-1.5 ft). Swell fading from Sat (3/18) from 0.8 ft @ 15-16 secs (1.0-1.5 ft). Swell Direction: 195 degrees
Southern CA: Swell arrival on Sun (3/19) building to 1.2 ft @ 18 secs (2.0 ft). Swell building on Mon (3/20) to 1.4 ft @ 16 secs (2.0-2.5 ft). Swell holding Tues (3/21) from 1.5 ft @ 14-15 secs (2.0 ft). Swell DIrection: 200 degrees
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 there's some suggestions of a pair of gale developing in the Southern Gulf of Alaska pushing towards the US West Coast. On Tues (3/21) the closest to CA is to have 19 ft seas at 34N 135W (off Southern CA) with the second developing also with 19 ft seas at 38N 155W targeting Central and North CA. Something to monitor.
Beyond 72 hours another gale is projected well south of New Zealand on Sun PM (3/19) with 40-45 kt southwest fetch seas to 28 ft at 54S 174W. On Mon AM (3/20) 45 kt southwest fetch is to continue with 32-34 ft seas in two pockets at 57S 165W and 60S 176E. both are to track east and fade in the evening. Some hope for small swell production. Something to monitor.
More details to follow...
Inactive MJO Holds - La Nina Cool Pool Rapidly Fading (Again)
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 Mon (3/13) 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 eastern Kelvin Wave Generation Area centered near the dateline attributable to the Inactive Phase of the MJO. The forecast suggests east anomalies to hold on the dateline through Fri (3/17) then starting to decay and weakening some through Tues (3/21). This suggests the Inactive Phase of the MJO is in control of the KWGA and is to hold for the coming week possibly fading beyond.
Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East
Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:
OLR Models: As of 3/13 the Inactive Phase of the MJO was gone on the dateline with a weak Active Phase of the MJO over the Maritime continent. The statistic model projects the Inactive Phase returning weakly on the dateline days 5-9 then loosing strength while tracking east and gone from the dateline by days 11-15. The dynamic model depicts the same thing initially but with the Inactive Phase redeveloping over the West Pacific at day 8 to modest strength through 2 weeks out.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (3/14) The ECMF model indicates the Active Phase of the MJO was indiscernible over the Maritime Continent and is to forecast to stay there for the next 2 weeks unchanged. The GEFS model depicts essentially the same thing. This model runs about a week ahead of what occurs down at the surface.
40 day Upper Level Model: (3/14) This model depicts a weak Active Phase present in the far West Pacific tracking east reaching the dateline 3/24 and then into Central America 4/8. A weak Inactive Phase is to follow in the West Pacific starting 4/1 pushing to Central America 4/18. 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): (3/14) This model depicts the Inactive Phase fading just east of the dateline and is to loose control of the KWGA by 3/17 with moderate east anomalies in control but fading. Beyond a weak Active Phase is to follow starting 3/22 with weak west anomalies developing and building weakly getting solid by 3/30 and not fading for the foreseeable future through 6/11. La Nina is to be gone per the low pass filter on 4/21 (holding this run but previously 4/6) with El Nino taking hold 5/2 (sooner this run, previously 4/26 and 4/19 before that). We're thinking the model is starting to stabilize regarding 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. We'll see what happens.
CFSv2 3 month forecast for 850 mb winds, MJO, Rossby etc
Subsurface Waters Temps
TAO Array: (3/14) Actual temperatures remain stratified with warm water in the West Pacific at 30+ degs C (retrograding west to 152E) and the 28 deg isotherm line reaching to 176E and steep 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 (60 meters at 140W) but continue thickening. Anomaly wise warm anomalies at +1 degs rule the West Pacific reaching to 165W with a stream of neutral anomalies tracking from there to Ecuador. But a pocket of -1 degs anomalies has appeared between 110-150W down 125 meters. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 3/9 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. The concern is there is not much warm water in the fart West Pacific to feed any sort of a progressive Kelvin Wave pattern.
Sea Level Anomalies: (3/9) The previous upgrade where positive anomalies were depicted at 0-+5 cms on the equator from Ecuador west to 140W in one continuous thin stream is starting to break up into pockets rather than one continuous flow. Still 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: (3/11) 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 now west to 115W (previously 105W) at + 2 degs but with solid warm anomalies out to 160W and starting to fill in over the equator whipping out a cool pool that had developed there over the past week or so. This is good news. This appears to be a southern hemi warming pattern in Nino1.2 with that warming building into 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 (3/13): The previous warming trend covering waters of Chile, Peru and Ecuador is neutral now, but showing no signs of trending cooler. And marked warming is developing just off Ecuador over the Galapagos out to 110W, and then more moderate warming on the equator out to nearly the dateline. The warming trend continues but moving west along the equator.
Hi-res Overview: (3/13) Previous signs of La Nina cool waters redeveloping weakly from 120-160W are dissipating quickly. A solid warm regime holds from Ecuador west to 120W and is now building but less energetic out to at least 160W. Remnants of La Nina continue from 160W-170E. It almost looks like El Nino is trying to develop and making headway into the Nino3.4 region.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (3/14) Today's temps were rising solidly to +2.266 degs.
Nino 3.4 Daily CDAS Index Temps: Today (3/14) temps were steady at -0.110 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 (3/14) The forecast has temps at +0.15 degs mid-March building to +0.7 degs later in April holding through the summer then rising to +0.9 degs in Sept and +1.0 degs in 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 (3/14): The daily index is positive at 6.60 after a 5 day negative run. Still it seems a move towards a negative trend is setting up. The 30 day average was falling at -6.11 and has been negative al east 30 days. The 90 day average was rising slightly at -0.03 or effectively neutral. This suggests a return to at least a neutral ENSO conditions has taken hold.
ESPI (like SOI but based on satellite confirmed precipitation. Positive is good, negative bad): (3/14) Today's value has fallen again at -0.94. This is likely in response to falling sea surface temps in Nino3.4 over the past 2 weeks suggesting a continuation of La Nina at least for a little longer in this index. 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, Feb = +0.70. 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