Saturday, May 20, 2017
- Buoy 146 (Lanai): This buoy is down and there is no backup site.
- Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 2.8 ft @ 14.7 secs with swell 1.2 ft @ 15.1 secs from 203 degrees. Wind southwest 2-4 kts. Water temperature 61.9 degs. At Ventura swell was 0.8 ft @ 13.9 secs from 191 degrees. At Santa Monica swell was 1.4 ft @ 14.9 secs from 202 degrees. At Camp Pendleton swell was 1.4 ft @ 15.0 secs from 211 degrees. Southward at Pt Loma swell was 1.6 ft @ 14.8 secs from 186 degrees.
- Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 8.0 ft @ 8.3 secs with swell 6.4 ft @ 8.1 secs from 317 degrees. Wind northwest 6-8 kts at the buoy. Water temp 54.1 degs.
46006, 46059, Hi-Res Buoy Dashboards (bottom of the page)
Swell Classification Guidelines
Significant: Winter - Swell 8 ft @ 14 secs or greater (11+ ft faces) for 8+ hours (greater than double overhead).
Summer - Head high or better.
Advanced: Winter - Swell and period combination capable of generating faces 1.5 times overhead to double overhead (7-10 ft)
Summer - Chest to head high.
Intermediate/Utility Class: Winter - Swell and period combination generating faces at head high to 1.5 times overhead (4-7 ft).
Summer - Waist to chest high.
Impulse/Windswell: Winter - Swell and period combination generating faces up to head high (1-4 ft) or anything with a period less than 11 secs.
Summer - up to waist high swell. Also called 'Background' swell.
Surf Heights for Hawaii should be consider 'Hawaiian Scale' if period exceeds 14 secs.
On Saturday (5/18) in North and Central CA local north windswell was producing surf at waist to chest high and clean but fogged in early. Protected breaks were waist to maybe chest high and clean. At Santa Cruz small southern hemi swell was hitting with sets waist high and clean and foggy. In Southern California up north local windswell was producing waves in the thigh high range and clean early. In North Orange Co surf was waist to chest high on the sets coming from the south and clean early. In South Orange Co surf was shoulder to maybe head high on the sets and relatively clean early. In San Diego surf was up to waist high and clean but mushy early. Hawaii's North Shore was flat and clean. The South Shore was chest high with some bigger sets and clean. The East Shore was getting local east windswell at knee high and textured early from light east trades.
See QuikCASTs for the 5 day surf overview or read below for the detailed view.
On Saturday (5/20) local windswell was hitting California with modest size. Low pressure was circulating northwest of Hawaii producing 18 ft seas targeting Hawaii decently. Small swell to result. Down south small swell from a gale that developed in the Southeast Pacific on Thurs-Fri (5/12) with 27 ft seas was hitting California but barely noticeable. Another gale developed in the same place on Sat (5/13) with 33 ft seas aimed east with a marginally larger pulse of swell expected. On Fri (5/19) a somewhat better gale developed south of New Zealand with up to 35 ft seas aimed northeast. Something to monitor. Nothing else is on the charts north or south and even windswell is to be gone for California early in the work week with maybe only a two day return forecast Wed-Thurs (5/25), then collapsing again.
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
On Saturday (5/20) high pressure at 1024 mbs was 500 nmiles off the North CA coast generating the usual summer time pressure gradient and northwest winds at 25 kts over Cape mendocino but not reaching any further south limiting windswell size at exposed breaks in North and Central CA.
Over the next 72 hours high pressure is to be lifting northeast with the pressure gradient holding over Cape Mendocino producing north winds there at 20-25 kts through Sunday (5/21), then dissipating. Windswell to dissipate in North and Central CA by Monday AM (5/22) (see QuikCASTs for details).
Also low pressure was tracking east from the dateline (see Western Gulf low below).
Western Gulf Low
Low pressure started developing in the Western Gulf of Alaska on Thurs PM (5/18) producing 30 kt west winds over a small area northwest of Hawaii and seas to 19 ft at 43N 180W. The gale moved east Fri AM (5/19) with west winds building in coverage at 30 kts and seas 19 ft at 42N 175W. In the evening a decent sized fetch of 30 kt northwest winds continued aimed well at Hawaii with seas 21 ft at 42N 170W targeting the Islands well but also aimed at the US West Coast. On Sat AM (5/20) the gale is to be in the Central Gulf with winds fading from 25 kts from the northwest and seas 18 ft at 39N 166W targeting Hawaii and the US West Coast. Fetch is to start fading in the evening from 25 kts with 15 ft seas at 37N 162W. The gale is to dissipate after that. Possible windswell for Hawaii and the US West Coast with arrival in Hawaii on Mon (5/22). Something to monitor.
Hawaii: Rough data suggests swell arrival on Mon (5/22) pushing 4.0 ft @ 12 secs early (4.5 ft). Swell fading Tues (5/23) from 3.4 ft @ 11 secs (3.5 ft). Residuals on Wed (5/24) fading from 2.5 ft @ 10 secs (2.5 ft). Swell Direction: 325-335 degrees
North CA: Expect swell arrival on Wed (5/24) early at 3.2 ft @ 12-13 secs (4.0 ft). Swell fading early Thurs (5/25) from 2.4 ft @ 11 secs (2.5 ft). Swell Direction: 290 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 (5/20) high pressure was 600 nmiles west of North CA generating the usual pressure gradient and northwest winds at 25+ kts over Cape Mendocino with light winds from just south of Pt Arena southward. The gradient is to lift north on Sun (5/21) with north winds 25 kts limited to Cape Mendocino early but light elsewhere and the gradient lifting north. Monday (5/22) the gradient collapses with light winds for the entire state if not a full eddy flow in effect (south winds) from Bodega bay southward. More of the same on Tuesday. Wednesday high pressure starts building in the Northern Gulf of Alaska at 1040 mbs generating northwest winds at 25 kts with a core at 35 kts over Cape Mendocino producing north windswell but light winds south of Pt Arena. Thursday the high and associated gradient fade with north winds dropping from 20 kts over North CA with a light from for all of Central CA. And by Friday light winds from the northwest at 10 kts or less take over all of North and Central CA. Southern CA is to be protected with light winds through the entire period. More of the same on Saturday (5/27) but with some indication of north winds to 15 kts for Pt Conception later in the day.
On Saturday AM (5/20) a decent trough was pushing north with it's apex just east of Central New Zealand but winds feeding it were weakening down to 90 kts and no longer offering any real support for gale development. East of there the jetstream was split with the southern branch ridging southeast and almost impacting Antarctica over the Southeast Pacific with the northern branch falling southeast too joining the southern branch pushing over the southern tip of South America offering no support for gale development. Over the next 72 hours the trough off new Zealand is to become cut off by Sunday (5/21) shutting down any lingering support for gale production there. a total zonal split flow is to set up with the northern branch tracking east on the 30S latitude line and the southern branch tracking east on the 60S latitude line with no troughs indicated. Beyond 72 hours more of the same is forecast but with the southern branch creeping north over the Central Pacific almost forming a trough on Thurs (5/25) but winds to be only 80-90 kts in this area. In fact, winds in both branches of the jet to become very light (90 kts or less) offering nothing in terms of support for gale production. And that pattern is to hold, but with the southern branch starting to ridge southward impacting Antarctic Ice over the Southwest Pacific on Sat (5/27) and with a gutless trough over the far Southeast Pacific. In short, no support for gale development is forecast in the upper atmosphere.
On Saturday (5/20) tiny swell from a gale previous in the Southeast Pacific was hitting the US mainland and hardly noticeable (see Southeast Pacific Gale below). Another swell was right behind it coming from the same general area (see Another Southeast Pacific Gale below). And a third swell was in the water generated by a marginally better gale that developed under New Zealand (see New Zealand Gale below).
Over the next 72 hours no swell producing weather systems are forecast with a poor upper level pattern in control.
A gale is to develop in the deep Southeast Pacific on Sat PM (5/20) with 45 kt northwest winds and 34 ft seas at 65S 147W targeting only Antarctica. The gale is to fall southeast Sun AM (5/21) with seas fading from 33 ft at 67S 135W then dissipating. No swell to result for our forecast area since all energy is to be pushing southeast.
Small Southeast Pacific Gale
A small gale developed in the Southeast Pacific Thurs PM (5/11) producing 40 kt southwest winds and 26 ft seas at 53S 129W targeting California southward. The gale raced northeast into Fri AM (5/12) with 40 kt southwest winds and seas 27 ft moving out of the California swell window at 46S 115W. Small swell is possible.
Southern CA: Expect swell arrival on Thurs (5/18) building to 1.7 ft @ 16-17 secs mid- AM (2.5 ft) and holding. Swell is to build some Fri (5/19) at 2 ft @ 15 secs (3.0 ft). Swell fading Sat (5/20) from 2 ft @ 14-15 secs (2.5-3.0 ft). Swell Direction 190-200 degrees
North CA: Expect swell arrival on Thurs (5/18) building to 1.5 ft @ 16-17 secs late (2.0-2.5 ft) and holding. Swell is to build some Fri (5/19) at 1.6 ft @ 15 secs (2.5 ft). Swell fading Sat (5/20) from 1.4 ft @ 14-15 secs (2.0 ft). Swell Direction 190-200 degrees
Another Southeast Pacific Gale
A gale started to develop in the deep Southeast Pacific on Fri PM (5/12) with 40 kt west winds over a broad area aimed east and seas building. On Sat AM (5/13) winds built to 45 kts from the south with seas building to 33 ft at 57S 130W. In the evening winds held at 45 kts but coming from the southwest aimed more at Chile with seas 32 ft at 63S 120W and 30 ft seas reaching north to 53S 119W and barely in the California swell window. By Sun AM (5/14) fetch was fading from 35 kts moving east and out of the CA swell window targeting only Chile with seas 29 ft 63W 114W. Possible small south angled swell for Southern CA.
Southern CA: Expect swell arrival on Sun (5/21) building to 2.0 ft @ 17-18 secs later (3.5 ft). Swell is to hold on Mon (5/22) at 2.3 ft @ 15-16 secs (3.5 ft). Swell fading Tues (5/23) from 2 ft @ 14-15 secs (2.5-3.0 ft). Swell Direction 185-195 degrees
North CA: Expect swell arrival on Sun (5/21) building to 1.8 ft @ 17-18 secs later (3.0 ft). Swell is to hold on Mon (5/22) at 2.1 ft @ 16 secs (3.5 ft). Swell fading Tues (5/23) from 1.8 ft @ 14-15 secs (2.5 ft). Swell Direction 185-190 degrees
New Zealand Gale
Another gale developed Thurs AM (5/17) southwest of New Zealand with winds 40 kts from the south-southwest and seas building from 29 ft at 54S 157E. The gale built some in the evening with a broad fetch of 35 kt south winds with 45 kt embedded south winds taking shape south of New Zealand with seas 33 ft at 49S 165E almost impacting Southern New Zealand and shadowed by New Zealand not offering swell potential for Hawaii or California. By Friday AM (5/19) the gale eased east some with 45 kt secondary fetch generating south winds a bit southeast of New Zealand with 35 ft seas building at 56S 168E targeting New Zealand, Hawaii and California (200 degs HI, 214 degs NCal and unshadowed, 215 degs SCal and shadowed). The fetch lifted northeast in the evening fading from 35 kts with a modest sized area of 29-30 ft seas at 51S 174E (198 degs HI, 216 degs NCal and unshadowed, 217 degs SCal and partially shadowed). Fetch faded Sat AM (5/20) from 30-35 kts from the south with 27 ft seas fading at 47S 176E pushing north-northeast. This system dissipated thereafter. Possible swell to result for Tahiti, Hawaii and California.
Hawaii: Expect swell arrival late on Fri (5/26) building to 1.4 ft @ 17-18 secs (2.5 ft). Swell building on Sat (5/27) to 2.4 ft @ 16 secs (3.5-4.0 ft). Swell Direction: 198-200 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 the North Pacific is to go to sleep.
No swell producing fetch is forecast.
More details to follow...
Inactive MJO Setting Up - SSTs Cooling off Ecuador
The Madden Julian Oscillation is a periodic weather cycle that tracks east along the equator circumnavigating the globe. It is characterized in it's Inactive Phase by enhanced trade winds and dry weather over the part of the equator it is in control of, and in it's Active Phase by slackening if not an outright reversing trade winds while enhancing precipitation. The oscillation occurs in roughly 20-30 day cycles (Inactive for 20-30 days, then Active for 20-30 days) over any single location on the planet, though most noticeable in the Pacific. During the Active Phase in the Pacific the MJO tends to support the formation of stronger and longer lasting gales resulting in enhanced potential for the formation of swell producing storms. Prolonged and consecutive Active MJO Phases in the Pacific help support the formation of El Nino. During the Inactive Phase the jet stream tends to split resulting in high pressure and less potential for swell producing storm development. Wind anomalies in the Kelvin Wave Generation Area (KWGA) are key for understanding what Phase the MJO is in over the Pacific. The KWGA is located on the equator from 135E-170W and 5 degs north and south (or on the equator from New Guinea east to the dateline). West wind anomalies in the KWGA suggest the Active Phase of the MJO in the Pacific, and east anomalies suggests the Inactive Phase. In turn the Active Phase strengthens and the Inactive Phase weakens the jetstream, which in turn enhances or dampens storm production respectively in the Pacific.The paragraphs below analyze the state of the MJO in the Pacific and provide forecasts for MJO activity (which directly relate to the potential for swell production).
Overview: La Nina started developing in early 2016, but westward displaced and generally weak. And by March 2017, it was gone with suspicious warming developing along South America and over the Galapagos to a point south of Hawaii. By May the atmosphere returned to a neutral configuration.
KWGA/Equatorial Surface Wind Analysis & Short-term Forecast:
Analysis (TAO Buoys): As of Friday (5/19) east winds were over the entire equatorial Pacific including the Kelvin Wave Generation Area. Anomalies were neutral everywhere but moderate easterly over the KWGA. La Nina appears to be gone in the atmosphere but the Inactive Phase of the MJO was over the KWGA.
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): East anomalies were past their peak over the core of the KWGA but still moderate in strength. The forecast suggests moderate east anomalies holding over the KWGA through 5/23, then backing off steadily and moving east becoming focused on the dateline 5/27. This suggests the Inactive Phase of the MJO was over the KWGA and moving east.
Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East
Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:
OLR Models: As of 5/19 a very weak version of the Inactive/Dry Phase of the MJO was fading over the KWGA. The statistic model projects the Inactive Phase fading on the dateline over the next week and then gone in week 2 while the Active Phase moves from the Maritime Continent into the West Pacific. The dynamic model depicts the same thing initially but with the Inactive Phase redeveloping over the KWGA 2 weeks out. Regardless of the details it appears a more balanced/normal MJO Pattern is taking hold.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (5/20) The ECMF model indicates the Active Phase of the MJO was weak over the east Indian Ocean and is to move to the Maritime Continent 2 weeks out and modest in strength. The GEFS depicts the same thing. These models runs about a week ahead of what occurs down at the surface.
40 day Upper Level Model: (5/20) This model depicts a strong Inactive Pattern exiting over the East Pacific with a weak Active Phase over the West Pacific. The Active Phase is to track east over Central America through 6/9. A very weak Inactive pattern to follow in the West Pacific 6/4 tracking east to the East Pacific through 7/19 with a second pulse of it developing in the west on 7/19 tracking east through at least 7/29. In short, the MJO is to be very weak and almost indiscernible. This model runs about 2 weeks ahead of what happens at the surface.
CFS Model - 3 month (850 mb wind): (5/20) This model depicts a very weak Inactive Phase of the MJO was over the Central KWGA with modest east anomalies in play in the KWGA. Beyond the Inactive Phase is to fade out on 6/5 but with east anomalies gone by 5/28 and neutral anomalies taking hold. The Active Phase of the MJO is to develop in the West Pacific 6/6 with weak west anomalies developing in the KWGA. The Active Phase is to move more strongly into the KWGA on 6/29 with building west anomalies, getting solid 7/13 and holding decently through 8/17 (the end of the run). This is likely overstated as the model has been teasing at west anomalies for months and yet they never develop. The low pass filter indicates La Nina is to hold on in the KWGA till 6/7 (previously 5/6-5/8). The model now hints at La Nina weakly redeveloping 7/23. Best guess is a very weak directionless pattern is to set up post La Nina and it will take 5 years or more for the Pacific to recharge from the 2014-16 El Nino.
CFSv2 3 month forecast for 850 mb winds, MJO, Rossby etc
Subsurface Waters Temps
TAO Array: (5/20) Actual temperatures remain stratified with warm water in the West Pacific at 30 degs C retracting to 152E. The 28 deg isotherm line continues steady at 150W. The 26 deg isotherm continued easing to the east reaching to the Galapagos with the 24 degs isotherm over a modest pool down 25 meters (75 meters at 140W) and holding. Warm anomalies at +3 degs are in the East Pacific and +1 degs anomalies are in the West Pacific down at 125m. A thin stream of 0 to +1 degs anomalies stretch from the west to the east. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 5/13 depicts that warm water is in the East Pac at +3.0 degs in a small pocket. And a warm pocket at +4 degs is at 180W and trying to move east. A tiny cool pocket at -1 degs is all that separates them at 115W and is fading fast. 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 far West Pacific to feed any sort of a progressive Kelvin Wave pattern. The GODAS image appears to be about 1 week behind the TAO data.
Sea Level Anomalies: (5/13) +5 cm anomalies are along the coast of Peru and Ecuador but small in coverage. In the west 0-5 cm anomalies are over the entire KWGA and pushing east now reaching to 120W, suggestive of a weak Kelvin Wave tracking east. La Nina is gone in the East Pacific with a neutral to weak warm trend trying to hold on.
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: (5/19) The latest images (1.2 3.4) indicate a generalized warm pattern is still present along the coasts of Northern Chile and Peru north to Ecuador then extending west over the Galapagos and out to sea out to 160W. But all the pockets of +2 deg warming present 1 week ago are gone. Upwelling along the immediate coasts of Peru and North Chile has built slightly. Looking at the large picture, warming in the southern hemi that extends east thousands of miles off the coast of South America as far south as 20S or more has backed off over the entire area. It is not well defined. La Nina is gone and it looks like an El Nino like pattern that was returning but backing off compared to 2 weeks ago.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (5/19): A weak cooling trend is developing along immediate Chile and Peru extending off Ecuador over the Galapagos out to 110W. This replaces a thin stream of more concentrated warming over the same area 1 week ago. A marked warming trend is present in the Northern Hemi from a point just north of Hawaii reaching west to the Philippines. Overall nothing remarkable is indicated.
Hi-res Overview: (5/19) A solid warm regime holds from Chile north to Ecuador and west to 140W and less energetic out to the dateline. It looks like El Nino is trying to develop and making headway into the Nino3.4 region. Overall waters of all oceans of the planet are warmer than normal. Suspect climatology needs to be updated to reflect this new reality, or the recent Super El Nino has significantly redistributed heat across the oceans.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (5/20) Today's temps have taken a nose dive falling to -0540, down from the peak of +3.0 degs on 3/18.
Nino 3.4 Daily CDAS Index Temps: Today (5/20) temps were fading some, down to +0.196 degs.
CFSV2 Forecast for Nino3.4 SST Anomalies
SST Anomaly Projections
CFSv2 Uncorrected Data (5/20) The forecast has temps steady at +0.5 degs today into July then falling to +0.4 in Aug holding to Oct, then falling to +0.1 degs in Jan 2018. This suggests a weakly cooler but still normal pattern developing for the Winter of 2017-2018. CFS data suggests a Modoki style warming pattern over the dateline this Fall and Winter. La Nina is over and a return to normal temps appears to have occurred in the ocean. There is no source for greater warming with the warm pool in the far West Pacific pretty weak. Much recharging and heat buildup is required for a real El Nino to develop. We're at least 5 years out from that.
IRI Consensus Plume: The mid-April Plume updated (5/19) depicts temps are warming and are now at +0.5 degs. A slow increase in temps is forecast thereafter to +0.7 degs in Aug and holding through Dec, then falling to 0.6 degs in Jan. This is +0.1 degs warmer than the April forecast and +0.7 degs warmer than the January forecast suggesting La Nina is over and a warmer regime is setting up. See chart here - link. The NMME consensus depicts peak temp to +1.0 degs Nov through Jan.
Atmospheric Decoupling (Indicating the presence of El Nino in the atmosphere driven by the ocean):
Southern Oscillation Index (5/20): The daily index was rising to 17.33. It has been positive for 8 days. The 30 day average was rising at -3.18. The 90 day average was rising at -2.23 or just south of 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): (5/20) Today's value was rising to -0.22 or basically normal. A peak low was reached on 11/2 at -1.94, the deepest of the past La Nina event. This measures atmospheric response, not oceanic.
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 = +0.10, Feb = +0.03, March = +0.09, April=+0.52 . 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, Mar = +0.74, April=+1.12. 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