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.
Tuesday, June 28, 2016
- Buoy 146 (Lanai): Seas were 3.7 ft @ 15.4 secs with swell 2.6 ft @ 14.9 secs from 194 degrees.
- Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 2.9 ft @ 14.7 secs with swell 2.4 ft @ 14.1 secs from 187 degrees. Wind southwest 2-4 kts. Water temperature 68.7 degs. At Santa Barbara swell was 3.2 ft @ 8.2 secs from 258 degrees. At Santa Monica swell was 1.6 ft @ 14.7 secs from 202 degrees. Southward from Orange County to San Diego swell was 2.5 ft @ 14.4 secs from 186 degrees.
- Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 11.0 ft @ 8.3 secs with southern hemi swell 2.3 ft @ 14.1 secs. Wind northwest 20-23 kts. Water temp 53.1 degs.
Buoy 46059, Hi-res Buoys
On Tuesday (6/28) in North and Central CA local northwest windswell was producing waves at shoulder to head high and a bit warbled and heavily textured from northwest winds. At Santa Cruz fading southern hemi swell was still producing rideable waves at chest high on the sets and clean early. In Southern California up north southern hemi swell was still producing surf at waist high with some slightly bigger sets and clean and lined up. Down south southern hemi swell was producing set waves at near head high and clean and lined up. Top spots were a little overhead on rare sets. Hawaii's North Shore was flat and clean. The South Shore was getting southern hemi sideband swell with waves in the chest high range with tops spots to head high or a little more on the sets and clean. The East Shore was getting east windswell at thigh high and chopped from easterly trades.
See QuikCASTs for the 5 day surf overview or read below for the detailed view.
More southern hemi swell is in the water pushing northeast, and starting to hit Hawaii. It originated from a small gale that tracked under New Zealand on Sun-Mon (6/20) with 38-39 ft seas. And its remnants redeveloped in the Central South Pacific on Wed (6/22) producing 31 ft seas aimed well northeast. After that a total shutdown of the storm track developed. Looking at the charts 2 cut off gales are forecast, one east of New Zealand on Fri (7/1) and the other in the Southeast Pacific on Sun (7/3) offering minimal hope long term. But overall, the Inactive Phase of the MJO is having the anticipated negative affect, at least for now.
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis.cgius forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
On Tuesday PM (6/28) no swell producing fetch is occurring and none is forecast for the next 72 hours.
A moderate version of the normal summer time local California coastal pressure gradient was in effect on Tues (6/28) with high pressure at 1028 mbs in the Western Gulf and also just off Oregon ridging into North CA producing a broad fetch of 20-25 kt north winds over the North and Central coasts centered near Bodega Bay. The fetch is expected to build into Wed (6/29) 25 kts while lifting north off North CA with 20 kts winds reaching south to near Pt Conception then building strongly on Thurs (6/30) with peak winds to 30+ kts near Pt Arena holding into Fri (7/1) with a bit of an eddy flow developing nearshore for Central CA. Solid 10-12 sec period north windswell is possible at this time (see QuikCASTs for surf details).
For Hawaii, east trades were generally weak at 10-15 kts east of the Islands offering no real fetch of interest. More of the same is forecast on Wednesday then on Thurs (6/30) high pressure northeast of the Islands is to build to 1030 mbs with east winds building to 15-20 kts from California all the way to and over Hawaii generating increasing odds for windswell development. This is to hold if not build into Fri (7/1).
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
No tropical systems of interest are being monitored.
California Nearshore Forecast
On Tuesday (6/28) high pressure and the usual pressure gradient was in control of California coastal waters producing north winds at 20-25 kts over the north and central portions of the state making for poor surf conditions at exposed breaks. More of the same is forecast Wednesday but with winds building to 30 kts over North CA and still 20 kts down to Pt Conception. On Thurs (6/30) 30-35 kts north winds are to be in control over the north portion of the state but with an eddy flow (south winds) starting to develop from Bodega Bay southward and over all of Central CA and holding Friday into Saturday but with north winds fading to 25 kts later over North CA and the eddy flow lifting north to Pt Arena. From Sun (7/3) to Tues (7/5) the eddy flow is to control all the state but the north most reaches near Cape Mendocino where north winds to be 20 kts.
On Tuesday AM (6/28) the southern branch of the jet was ridging hard south under New Zealand pushing nearly to Antarctica on the 70S latitude line and sweeping east well into the Southeast Pacific but with relatively light velocity at only 80-90 kts. Still this ridge was suppressing all gale development across the South Pacific. Over the next 72 hours no change is forecast with the ridge continuing to dominate the South Pacific diving deeper to 75S. Beyond 72 hrs no change is forecast until Mon-Tues (7/5) when a weak trough is forecast developing under New Zealand with it's apex reaching north to 57S and winds only 110 kts offering minimal support for gale development assuming the trough even forms. the Inactive Phase of the MJO is hampering trough development.
On Tuesday (6/28) swell associated with 2 more gales is pushing northeast, arriving in Hawaii and expected to arrive in California 2 days out. This swell (combination of the 2 individual gales) is to reach significant class levels pushing the season total to 9 so far.
Otherwise no swell production is occurring.
Over the next 72 hours no more swell producing weather systems are forecast.
Gale #4 (Swell #9S)
On Sun AM a small system tracked well south of the Tasman Sea producing 45 kt west winds and seas to 36 ft over a tiny area aimed east. In the evening 45 kt west winds continued tracking east generating up to 38 ft seas at 58.5S 162E pushing reasonably up the great circle tracks to California (214 degs NCal and unshadowed, 214 degs SCal and shadowed, well east of the 200 degree track to Hawaii). On Monday AM (6/20) fetch continued at 45 kts over a solid area aimed east with seas fading from 37 ft at 59.5S 178.5E (190 degs HI, 206 degs NCal and shadowed, 207 degs SCal and unshadowed). Fetch was fading from 40 kts in the evening with seas fading from 36 ft at 59S 170.5W. On Tues AM (6/21) fetch was fading from 40 kts from the southwest with seas dropping to 32 ft at 60S 160W (183 degs HI, 202 degs NCal and unshadowed, 203 degs SCal). This system is to be gone after that. Small inconsistent swell to result for all locations.
Southern CA: Expect swell arrival at sunset on Tues (6/28) with pure swell to 1.3 ft @ 21 secs (2.5 ft with sets to 3.5 ft). Swell building some on Wed AM (6/29) with period 19 secs and size still small building through the day at 3 ft @ 18-19 secs late (5.5 ft with sets to 7.0 ft). Size holding overnight peaking early Thurs (6/30) at 3.6 ft @ 17-18 secs (6.0-6.5 ft with sets to nearly 7 ft) as it interacts with Swell #6 below. Swell holding Fri AM (7/1) at 3.6 ft @ 15-16 secs (5.5 ft with sets to 7.0 ft). Swell fading Sat (7/2) from 3.3 ft @ 14-15 secs (4.8-6.0 ft). Swell Direction: 202-214 degrees Part1, 194-202 degs Part 2) Focused on 197 degs
NCal: Expect swell arrival on Wed AM (6/29) with period 19-20 secs and size building through the day to 2 ft @ 19 secs (3.5-4.0 ft) at sunset. Swell builds on Thurs (6/30) to 3 ft @ 17-18 secs (5.0-5.5 ft with sets to 6.5 ft) later as it interacts with Swell #6 below. Swell holding Fri AM (7/1) at 3.2 ft @ 16 secs (5.0 ft with sets to 6.5 ft). Swell fading Sat (7/2) from 2.6 ft @ 14-15 secs (3.5-4.0 ft). Swell Direction: 202-214 degrees Part1, 192-199 degs Part 2) Focused on 195 degs
Another gale developed in an upper trough in the Southeast Pacific on Mon (6/20) producing up to 45 kt west winds and 32 ft seas in the evening over a small area at 48S 138W mainly targeting Chile. On Tues AM (6/21) a solid fetch of 50-55 kt southwest winds developed at 53S 125W generating 33 ft seas at 51.5S 126W aimed northeast possibly producing south angled swell targeting California with westerly swell for Chile. In the evening all fetch is to wrap into the north quadrant of the storm at 50 kts aimed west and positioned east of even the SCal swell window targeting only Chile with 40 ft seas at 51.5S 115.5W and outside the CA swell window. A quick fade followed.
Whatever swell was generated is to be mostly too southerly to reach CA cleanly. And whatever does will be buried in the swell from Gale #4 above.
Gale #6 (Really it's Gale #4 Part 2)
And yet another gale followed Wed AM (6/22) directly in the same trough in the Southeast Pacific producing a broad area of 35-40 kt southwest winds and seas building from 30 ft at 50S 152W aimed northeast (199 degs NCal, 202 degs SCal). In the evening 40 kt southwest winds pushed northeast with seas tracking northeast at 30 ft at 46S 145W (196 degs NCal, 198 degs SCal). On Thurs AM (6/23) fetch was fading from 35 kts over a broad area aimed northeast with seas fading from 30 ft at 43S 137W (192 degs NCal, 194 degs SCal) aimed northeast. This system to dissipate after that. Small swell to result targeting California but focused mainly on Central America.
Southern CA: Expect swell arrival at Thurs AM (6/30) with swell period 17 secs and overlapping with the New Zealand Swell from Gale #4 above. Refer to that forecast for details. Swell Direction: 194-202 degrees
NCal: Expect swell arrival at Thurs PM (6/30) with swell period 17 secs and overlapping with the New Zealand Swell from Gale #4 above. Refer to that forecast for details. Swell Direction: 192-199 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 local California pressure gradient is to start fading some but still solid on Sat AM (7/2) with north winds 30 kts over Pt Arena but fading and lifting north, with winds down to 25 kts over only Cape Mendocino on Sun (7/3) and down to 20 kts on Monday with a well developed eddy flow for Central CA during the period. Windswell steadily fading over the timeframe. The gradient to hold after that di.cgiaced well to the north on Tues (7/5).
For Hawaii trades are to hold solid at 15-20 kts Sat (7/2) but starting to loose coverage off California on Sun (7/3) as the high retrogrades west to a point north of Hawaii. By Monday 15 kts fetch is to be limited to the area 450 nmiles east of Hawaii then collapsing from there. Windswell to diminish as the trades loose coverage.
Beyond 72 hours a cutoff low is to develop southeast of New Zealand on Fri AM (7/1) generating 40 kt south winds at 45S 174W aimed north and seas starting to build. By evening winds to turn southwest with one pocket to 45 kts and seas building to 32 ft over a small area at 43S 170W. Fetch is to be fading from barely 40 kts Sat AM (7/2) aimed mainly east with seas fading from 30 ft at 40.5S 166W. Seeing how this is a cutoff low, odds for seas developing as forecast are low. Still, if it does develop, some decent swell could result mainly for Tahiti with small swell for Hawaii. Something to monitor.
On Sat AM (7/2) a small cutoff gale is forecast developing in the northern reaches of the Southeast Pacific generating 45 kts south winds and seas on the increase. By the evening fetch is to build to 50 kts from the south aimed right at California with seas to 32 ft at 41S 122.5W (180 degs NCal, 182 degs SCal). Fetch is to be fading from 40-45 kts from the south Sun AM (7/3) with seas fading from 34 ft at 37.5S 121.5W (180 degs NCal, 182 degs SCal). This system is to be gone after that. Again, the risk is that this is way out on the models and to originate from a cutoff low. Something to monitor.
More details to follow...
La Nina Pulse Building
The Madden Julian Oscillation is a periodic weather cycle that tracks east along the equator circumnavigating the globe. It is characterized in it's Inactive Phase by enhanced trade winds and dry weather over the part of the equatorial Pacific it is in control of, and in it's Active Phase by slack if not an outright reversal of trade winds and enhanced precipitation. The oscillation occurs in roughly 20-30 day cycles (Inactive for 20-30 days, then Active for 20-30 days) over any single location on the.cgianet, though most noticeable in the Pacific. During the Active Phase in the Pacific the MJO tends to support the formation of stronger and longer lasting gales resulting in enhanced potential for the formation of swell producing storms. Prolonged and consecutive Active MJO Phases help support the formation of El Nino. During the Inactive Phase the jet stream tends to .cgiit resulting in high pressure and less potential for swell producing storm development. The paragraphs below analyze the state of the MJO in the Pacific and provide forecasts for MJO activity (which directly relate to the potential for swell production).Overview: The 2014-2016 El Nino is fading out. La Nina is emerging.
KWGA/Equatorial Surface Wind Analysis & Short-term Forecast:
Analysis (TAO Buoys): As of Mon (6/27) east winds were over the entire equatorial Pacific including the Kelvin Wave Generation Area (KWGA). Anomalies were neutral over the entire equatorial Pacific but trending easterly in the KWGA.
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): Strong east anomalies associated with the INactive Phase of the MJO have finally faded over the KWGA ron 6/28. A neutral wind anomaly pattern is forecast slowly building to weak west anomalies on 6/30 and holding through the forecast period ending 7/5 suggesting a building Active MJO pattern.
Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East
Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:
OLR Models: As of 6/27 a moderately Active MJO signal was over the far West Pacific. The Statistic model projects this Active Phase easing east reaching the dateline 1 week out and starting to fade but still in.cgiay 2 weeks from now. The dynamic model depicts the same thing, only with the Active Phase fading 1 week out and gone 2 weeks out with a moderate Inactive Phase developing in the West Pacific. That seems unlikely. Based on the above data, there is some support for enhancement of the jetstream in the South Pacific over the next 2 weeks per these models.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (6/28) The ECMF model indicates a moderate Active MJO signal was present over the Maritime Continent. The forecast projects the Active Phase crashing from it's current position and becoming inconsequential 4 days out. The GEFS model depicts the same thing.
40 day Upper Level Model: (6/28) The Active Phase was over the far West Pacific and is to track east easing into Central America on 7/18 but generally weak. A new strong Inactive Phase of the MJO is to push into the West Pacific 7/20 moving east from there almost reaching Central America 8/7.
CFS Model beyond 1 week (850 mb wind): This model suggests a weak Inactive MJO signal was over the KWGA moving east with weak east anomalies in.cgiay offering no support for enhancing the jetstream. The model depicts this Inactive Phase of the MJO fading out 7/1. A weak Active Phase to follow with some enhanced west anomalies forecast 7/2-7/18. An Inactive MJO pattern to follow with moderate east anomalies taking root 7/21-8/10. And Active MJO signal to follow 8/8 to 9/26 with west anomalies over the far West Pacific to 180W and stationary with east anomalies from 170W and point east to Central America. The low pass filter suggests the remnants of El Nino are shifting east and are now south of Hawaii (rather than in the KWGA) and offering nothing to enhance the jetstream and are to dissipate (gone) south of California by 8/28. At the same time low pass anomalies are over the Indian Ocean and forecast to build into Sept, typical of La Nina.
CFSv2 3 month forecast for 850 mb winds, MJO, Rossby etc
Subsurface Waters Temps
TAO Array: (6/28) Actual temperatures are building in the west near the surface and fading in the east daily. A pocket of 30 deg temps were building in the far West Pacific with the 28 deg isotherm line retreating to 165W. No El Nino subsurface anomalies remain. Warm anomalies at +1 degs rule from the West Pacific to 155W with weak negative anomalies between there and 120W. Neutral to +1 deg anomalies are east of there. Cool subsurface waters are at depth erupting between 125W-160W with -3 degs anomalies reaching east down 100 meters to 135W (steady). The Kelvin Wave pipeline has been r.cgiaced with a cold river rushing east. But it appears to be not reaching Ecuador, but rather is westward di.cgiaced. Per the hi-res GODAS animation posted 6/22 a weak pocket of +0.5-1.0 deg anomalies is building from 130E to 160W and a tiny one at 110W (fading). Cool waters 3-4 degs below normal were under the entire width of the equator, undercutting any residual warm water above it and forming a bubble near 140W and upwelling from 120-150W. La Nina has begun.
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: (6/27) The latest images (1.2 3.4) indicates cooler than normal water continues over the equator region with negative anomalies building strongly along the coast of Peru pushing north and extending west from Ecuador over the Galapagos, with another big pocket west of there between 115W to 160W at -1.75 degs. La Nina is firmly in control of surface waters, though remnant El Nino warm water is 3 degs north and south of the equator but quickly loosing ground. No warm water remains anywhere in the Nino regions on the equator.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (6/26): A cooling trend is developing weakly along Chile and Peru. But a vigorous cooling trend is developing from the Galapagos out to 160W (increasing coverage). This is expected based on a cool burst that occurred 2 weeks ago off Africa. The mirror image cooler trend that developed in the Atlantic on 6/9 dissipated but returned 6/25 and continues today. Temps are fading some along Baja and California due to high pressure and northwest winds in control in that area. The PDO warm pool is holding solidly from Oregon out to a point north of Hawaii and west from there to Japan.
Hi-res Overview: (6/26) The El Nino signal is dissipating. A clear La Nina cool water pool is tracking from Ecuador and building some recently south of Hawaii. A generalized pattern of +1-2 deg above normal temps remains 3 degs north and south of the equator and west of 160W. Cooler water is over the north dateline region in the North Pacific with warm water off the Pacific Northwest streaming over Hawaii looking very much like the classic Active PDO pattern.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (6/28) Today's temps were down some at -0.136 degs.
Nino 3.4 Daily CDAS Index Temps: Today (6/23) temps were falling some at -0.211 degs.
Comparing Stongest El Ninos in the last 50 year - ERSSTv4 'centered' data
Pacific Counter Current: As of 6/6 the current was moderately but continuously from the east on the equator from 90W to 150E. Anomalies were stronger still from the east over the same area. There were no pockets of west anomalies indicated. La Nina is firmly entrenched based on this data, which is normal for this point in the El Nino lifecycle.
SST Anomaly Projections
CFSv2 Uncorrected Data (6/28) indicates temps on a steady downward trajectory falling to -0.15 degs early July and continuing down till Oct 1 at -0.65 degs and holding through Dec, then slowly rising in Jan 2017. This is solid La Nina territory but it's up from the -1.5 and -1.25 degs indicated even a few weeks ago.
IRI Consensus Plume: The mid-June Plume depicts temps falling steadily from here forward, down to -0.7 by Sept then holding there to March. See chart here - link.
Atmospheric Deco.cgiing (Indicating the presence of El Nino in the atmosphere driven by the ocean):
Southern Oscillation Index (6/25): The daily index was rising at +13.10. The 30 day average was rising from +2.29. It transitioned from negative to positive for the first time in 2 years on 5/27. The 90 day average was rising from -5.61. El Nino was still evident only in the 90 day average, but even that will soon be a distant memory.
ESPI (like SOI but based on satellite confirmed precipitation): (6/28) Today's value was falling some from -1.03. It peaked on 3/12 at +1.57 then fell until 4/14, when it started rising again peaking 4/23 at +1.12. But it has been falling steadily ever since.
Pacific Decadal Oscillation: The PDO continues solid. Per NOAAs index recent values (Jan-May) have been +0.79, +1.23, +1.55, +1.60, and +1.45. The Washington EDU index for the Jan-May period indicates +1.54, +1.75, +2.40, +2.62 and +2.35. April's value was the highest since 1941. The PDO turned from a 6 year negative run (2008-2013) in early 2014 and has been mostly above +1.5 all of 2015. 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 suggests that could be a real possibility. We've been in the negative phase since 1998 through at least 2013 (15 years). 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