Tuesday, July 28, 2020
- Buoy 233 (Pearl Harbor Entrance)/Buoy 239 (Lanai): Seas were 2.6 ft @ 7.1 secs with swell 1.7 ft @ 6.4 secs from 156 degrees.
- Buoy 106 (Waimea): Seas were 4.0 ft @ 7.7 secs with swell 3.2 ft @ 6.6 secs from 40 degrees. Water temp 80.2 degs.
- Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 2.5 ft @ 13.7 secs with swell 1.3 ft @ 13.7 secs from 183 degrees. Wind at the buoy was east at 2-6 kts. Water temperature 68.5 degs. At Harvest Buoy (071) primary swell was 1.2 ft @ 12.7 secs from 190 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 1.3 ft @ 13.4 secs from 201 degrees. At Oceanside (045) swell was 1.4 ft @ 12.7 secs from 195 degrees. Southward at Point Loma (191) swell was 1.3 ft @ 12.2 secs from 185 degrees.
- Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 2.7 ft @ 7.7 secs with swell 1.9 ft @ 8.2 secs from 297 degrees. Wind at the buoy (012) was west at 6-8 kts. Water temp 56.5 degs (013), 60.4 degs (SF Bar) and 60.1 degs (042).
See 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 Tuesday (7/28) in North and Central CA locally generated north windswell was producing waves at up to knee high and mushed and rippled from south winds and gray. Protected breaks were barely knee high and mushed and clean. At Santa Cruz some occasional background sets were hitting producing waves at knee high or so and clean and very weak. In Southern California/Ventura waves were up to thigh high and clean but weak with no wind. Central Orange County had some sets in the knee to thigh high range and clean but very soft. South Orange County's best summertime breaks had set waves at waist to chest high on the peaks and clean with no wind and lined up but weak and inconsistent. North San Diego had sets at knee to thigh high and weak and mushed with clean conditions. Hawaii's North Shore was flat and clean. The South Shore was flat with occasional knee high sets and clean. The East Shore was getting east windswell with waves waist to chest high and chopped from east trades.
See QuikCASTs for the 5 day surf overview or read below for the detailed view.
On Tuesday (7/28) no swell of interest was hitting Hawaii or California. Locally generated windswell is expected to continue for Hawaii's exposed east shores but nothing for California for the next few days. Beyond a tiny gale developed southeast of New Zealand on Thurs (7/23) producing 30 ft seas over a tiny area of 18 hours aimed northeast. Low odds of swell pushing towards the Islands. And better news is that the models are starting to tease concerning a system developing southeast of New Zealand on Sun -Mon (8/3). So there is some hope now. Until then, the doldrums of summer continue.
See all the details below...
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
On Tuesday (7/28) no swell of interest was in the water.
Over the next 72 hours no swell producing fetch of interest is forecast.
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
No tropical systems of interest were being monitored.
California Nearshore Forecast
On Tuesday (7/28) no windswell producing fetch was occurring with northwest winds 10 kts or so down the North and Central Coasts holding all day. No real change on Wed (7/29) with northwest winds 5-10 kts for all of North and Central CA nearshore waters. No windswell forecast. But low pressure is to be off Oregon producing a building sized fetch of 30 kt northwest winds and seas to 19 ft possibly having some windswell production potential. On Thurs (7/30) northwest winds are forecast light at 5-10 kts early for North and Central CA holding all day. The low pressure system off Oregon is to dissipate. Fri (7/31) the previous low is to limp up to the Oregon Coast with 15 kt northwest winds for North CA early and light winds from Pt Reyes southward early but building to 20 kts for Central CA in the afternoon. Sat (8/1) a weak gradient is to be building with northwest winds 20 kts for Central CA all day and 15 kts up to and over Pt Arena for NCal later with no real windswell production forecast. Sun (8/2) northwest winds are forecast at 15-20 kts mainly for Central CA but nearshore up into North CA offering minimal windswell production potential. Mon (8/3) northwest winds are forecast at 20 kts all day for North and Central CA and building coverage in the afternoon starting to offering some decent potential for windswell development at exposed breaks. On Tues (8/4) a building fetch of northwest winds is forecast early at 20-25 kts over all of North CA waters and 20 kts for Central CA holding all day offering good potential for windswell development.
Total snow accumulation for the week for Squaw Valley, Sugar Bowl, Kirkwood and Mammoth at 0, 0, 0 and 0 inches respectively. Freezing level 14,000 ft or higher for the week.
Snow Models: http://www.stormsurf.com/mdls/menu_snow.html (Scroll down for resort specific forecasts). Updated!
On Tuesday (7/28) the jetstream was well split over the width of the South Pacific with the southern branch in a zonal flow ridging slightly south over Antarctic Ice over the entirety of the South Pacific offering no support for gale development. Over the next 72 hours another reinforcing batch of wind energy is to push further south on Thurs (7/30) under New Zealand and into Antarctica then sweeping east and suppressing support for gale development. Beyond 72 hours starting later Fri (7/31) the ridging pattern is to start moderating with the jet lifting north to 63S and a trough starting to build over the Central South Pacific on Sun AM (8/2) being fed by 120 kt winds offering some support for gale development and pushing east. Then on Mon (8/3) yet another trough is to start building southeast of New Zealand being fed by 120 kts winds pushing north to 60S then being reinforced with more winds energy on Tues (8/4) at 130 kts offering decent support for gale development. This is a step in the right direction.
On Tuesday (7/28) small swell from a gale previously under New Zealand was tracking towards Hawaii (see Tiny New Zealand Gale below).
Over the next 72 hours no swell producing weather systems are forecast.
Tiny New Zealand Gale
A tiny gale developed just east of Southern New Zealand Wed PM (7/22) producing an infinitesimal sized area of 35-40 kt southwest winds with seas on the increase aimed northeast. On Thurs AM (7/23) southwest winds built to 40-45 kts over a tiny area aimed northeast with seas building to 32 ft over a tiny area at 49S 176.5W aimed east-northeast. In the evening fetch faded from 35 kts with seas 27 ft at 48.5S 170W aimed east. Fetch faded from there with no seas of interest remaining. Low odds of minimal background swell to result for Hawaii and even less for California.
Oahu: Expect tiny swell arriving on Thurs (7/30) building to 1.0 ft @ 15-16 secs later (1.5 ft). Swell fading Fri (7/31) from 1 ft @ 14 secs early (1.0-1.5 ft). Swell Direction: 200 degrees
California: No meaningful swell is expected to result.
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 no swell producing fetch of interest is forecast.
Beyond 72 hours a gale is forecast building under New Zealand on Sun AM (8/2) producing a solid area of 40 kt west and northwest winds off the northern edge of the Ross Ice Shelf and starting to get traction on the oceans surface with seas building to 30 ft over a small area at 58S 164.5E aimed east. In the evening fetch is to build to 45 kts from the west and lifting east-northeast some with seas forecast at 35 ft at 58S 171E aimed east. On Mon AM (8/3) west winds to continue at 40 kts from the west over a decent sized area with seas holding at 33 ft at 59S 178E aimed east. In the evening fetch is to build some and lift northeast at 40-45 kts with seas building to 37 ft at 56.5S 179W aimed east-northeast. On Tues AM (8/4) fetch is to be fading to 35 kts but covering a solid area aimed northeast with seas 34 ft at 54S 168.5W aimed east-northeast. The gale is to fade from there.
Possibly another gale is to be building directly behind.
La Nina Pulse Underway
The Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO) 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.
And the El Nino/La Nino cycle (collectively know as ENSO - El Nino Southern Oscillation) is a less frequent (about once every 7 years) but more impactful cycle that affects world wide weather. Specifically, strong El Nino events promote storm production in the Pacific while La Nina events suppress storm production. These therefore have a significant impact on the production of swell and surf. The paragraphs below analyze the state of the MJO and ENSO in the Pacific and provide forecasts for upcoming activity (or inactivity depending on the state and interaction of these two oscillations).
Overview: A double dip La Nina was in control through the Winter of 2017-2018. But warming started building along the South and Central American coast in early March 2018 associated with two upwelling Kelvin Waves, and continued trying to build over equatorial waters over the Summer and Fall, but not enough to declare El Nino and not coupled with the atmosphere. In January 2019, those warm waters were fading, but then rebuilt late in Feb associated with Kelvin Wave (#3). But as of early June 2019 warm water was fading and by August a tongue of cool water was tracking west on the equator from Ecuador over the Galapagos reaching to a point nearly south of Hawaii. El Nino was dead. A bit of a recovery occurred during Fall of 2019, with weak warm water building in the Nino 1.2 region, but cool water held in a pool off Peru and had not changed until March 2020. By April the cool pool pushed east and by May subsurface cool waters erupted off Ecuador, forming a well defined cool tongue that looked like the start of La Nina, holding into July 2020.
LONG-RANGE PACIFIC STORM AND SWELL GENERATION POTENTIAL FORECAST
Fall/Winter 2020/2021 = 3.0/3.5 (California & Hawaii)
Rating based on a 1-10 scale: 1 being the lowest (small and infrequent surf conditions), 5 being normal/average, and 10 being extraordinary (frequent events of large, long period swells)
Rationale: It is assumed the PDO has moved to the warm phase in 2014 and that a weak borderline El Nino from 2018 faded out in the Fall of 2019. A La Nina like ocean temperature pattern developed in the equatorial East Pacific in the summer of 2019, then faded and returned to a neutral if not weak warm status during the Winter of 2019-2020 only to return stronger in the Summer of 2020. We have been suspecting a turn towards a La Nina like atmospheric pattern to develop in the late Winter/early Spring of 2020. Our best hope is that moderation from the warm phase of the PDO might tamp down development of a full blown La Nina as we move into 2020. But at this time that does not appear likely. Given all that, for the 2020 there is decent probability for development of La Nina meaning a reduced number of storm days and storm intensity during the summer season, resulting in a below normal level of swell, with swell being below normal duration and period. And by the Fall and early Winter of 2020/21, the number of storm days, intensity and duration of those storms should fade even more, resulting in depressed swell production. This pattern is expected to hold through the Spring of 2021.
KWGA/Equatorial Surface Wind Analysis & Short-term Forecast (KWGA - Kelvin Wave Generation Area - The area 5 degrees north and south of the equator from 170W to 135E)
Analysis (TAO Buoys): As of (7/28) 5 day average winds were solid from the east over the Eastern equatorial Pacific continuing over the Central Pacific and strong over the KWGA. Anomalies were neutral over the East equatorial building to modest easterly anomalies over the Central Pacific then moderately east over the KWGA.
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): On (7/28) strong east anomalies were filling the KWGA and moderately east over the whole of the equatorial Pacific to Ecuador. The forecast calls for east anomalies holding at strong status through 7/30 in the heart of the KWGA, then weakening to moderate status but holding through the end of the model run on 8/4. Support for energy transfer into the jet is very low and forecast to only turn more that way resulting in the jet moving more poleward. Westerly anomalies tend to pull the jet equatorward.
Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East
- Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:
OLR Models: (7/27) A weak Inactive MJO pattern was over the KWGA today. The statistic model indicates this pattern is to collapse on day 5 of the model run a modest Active Pattern developing on day 10 and building into day 15 filling the KWGA. The dynamic model suggests the same thing initially and is corrupt after that.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (7/28) The statistical model depicts the Active Phase was weak over the Central Indian Ocean today and is to slowly ease east while holding strength over the Maritime Continent at day 15. The GEFS model suggests the same thing.
40 day Upper Level Model (assumed to be a statistical mode and 1 week ahead of what is occurring at the surface): (7/27) This model depicts a strong Inactive MJO was over the far East Pacific today and is to push east into Central America on 8/6. A weak but coherent Active MJO is forecast developing over the KWGA on 8/14 pushing over the Central Pacific and into the East Pacific at the end of the model run on 9/5. At that time a developing weak Inactive MJO is forecast moving east into the far West Pacific.
4 Week CFS Model (850 mb wind): (7/27) This model depicts no coherent MJO signal over the KWGA today with east anomalies filling the KWGA at modest strength and continuing east to Ecuador. The forecast indicates a continuation of no MJO signal but with modest east anomalies in control over the KWGA and the entirety of the Pacific and holding through the end of the model run on 8/24. If anything east anomalies are to be building to moderate status in the KWGA 8/10 through the end of the model run. Two pockets of westerly anomalies are forecast developing in the Central Pacific 7/29-8/2 with a second on 8/11-8/23. In short a long run of easterly anomalies are setting up in the KWGA.
3 Month CFS Model (850 mb wind): (7/28 - using the 4th/latest ensemble member): This model depicts a weak Inactive MJO over the KWGA today with modest east anomalies filling the KWGA and reaching east to nearly Ecuador on the equator. The forecast depicts no change with the Inactive MJO holding while slowly easing east through 8/15 with modest east anomalies holding in the KWGA reaching east to Ecuador. A broad Active MJO is forecast moving over the KWGA 8/15 and then filling it by 8/29 and holding through 10/10 producing modest west anomalies limited reaching east to 165E, filling little more than half of the KWGA. Moderate to strong east anomalies are to be building from today forward on the dateline and points east of there to Ecuador through 9/22. After that a weak Inactive Phase is forecast moving into the KWGA 9/27 through the end of the model run on 10/25 but with weak west anomalies in control of most if not all the KWGA. This is a step in the right direction. The low pass filter indicates a high pressure bias is in control over the dateline today and is to build steadily in coverage through the end of the model run with a second contour setting up on 8/20 filling the equatorial Pacific at that time. A single contour low pressure bias is to appear over the Indian Ocean starting 8/15 building in coverage through the end of the model run. East anomalies that have been previously solid in the Indian Ocean are migrating east today into the West Pacific are to set up on the dateline and points east of there by 8/5 and then building and filling in over that entire area till 9/20 then possibly weakening and losing coverage. Based on this model it appears a transition towards La Nina is possible, but not guaranteed.
CFSv2 3 month forecast for 850 mb winds, MJO, Rossby etc - Alternate link
Subsurface Waters Temps
TAO Array: (7/27) Today in the far West Pacific the 30 deg isotherm had again vaporized. The 29 deg isotherm has retrograded at 178E today. The 28 deg isotherm line was steady at 160W today. The 24 deg isotherm was steady at 117W. Anomaly wise, warm anomalies 0-1 deg C were previously isolated to the West Pacific were today pushing east on the surface and almost filling the upper reaches of the equatorial Pacific east to 105W. Cool anomalies that have been upwelling to the surface off of Ecuador from a subsurface pocket of cool water is all but gone today. But a second pocket of cool anomalies was now developing under the West Pacific pushing east to 135W today with its core at 170W with temps building down to -3 deg C. It appears a conveyor belt of cool water (Cold water Kelvin Waves) was in effect. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 7/22 indicates the cool water bubble at depth in the east was erupting to the surface between 105W to 85W at -3 degs C. Warm water was at and near the surface west of 115W in pockets and shallow and breaking up. A broad pocket of cool water was at depth under the entirety of the West Pacific 150m down trying to connect with the cool pocket in the east. The GODAS animation appears to be 1 week behind the TAO data but also is more detailed and accurately modeled.
Sea Level Anomalies: (7/22) Negative anomalies at -5 to -10 cms had collapsed over the bulk of the equatorial Pacific limited today between Ecuador and 100W (previously 140W). Neutral anomalies were west of there to 160E. Negative anomalies were along and down the coast of Peru and up the coast of Central America to mainland Mexico but weaker than days and week past at only -5 cms. But, no positive anomalies were over the equatorial Pacific either, except west of 160E.
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: (7/27) The latest images indicate cold water was holding along Peru tracking northwest while building over and off Ecuador then tracking west on the equator while weakening over the Galapagos out to 110W then weakening but continuing cool west to 160W, looking like the start of a La Nina pattern. The stream was steady if not weakening some today. Warm anomalies were gone off the coast of Chile up into Peru turning decidedly cooler and appearing to be feeding the cool stream. Warm water was off Central America reaching west to the dateline but only north of the equator, remnants of a fading El Nino like pattern. Overall the cool pool on the equator was unmistakable and starting to show signs of weak rebuilding after previously being stalled.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (7/27): Pockets of markedly cold water were in-place from Ecuador extending west on the equator to the Galapagos then with smaller pockets west of there to 140W. There were 2 small pockets of warming interspersed. The short term trend is looking like development of a cooling trend. At this time what looked like a solidly developing La Nina pattern that had previously stalled, is now rebuilding.
Hi-res Overview: (7/27) A stream of cool water is entrenched along the coast of Peru lifting northwest to the equator from Ecuador west to the dateline and building between Ecuador and the Galapagos then weaker out to the dateline. Warmer than normal temps were stable north of the equator with cooler than normal water building on and south of the equator out to the dateline. Overall the data suggests a stable weak La Nina like pattern.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (7/28) Today's temps were steady at -1.651, after previously down to -1.970 on 7/17. Temps have been dropping steadily since March 26. Overall the trend is towards cooling after having previously been in a warmer range at +0.6 degs between 2/25-3/26.
Nino 3.4 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (7/28) Temps were falling some today at -0.065 after being neutral the past week and previously up to +0.224 on 7/11. Previously temps were rising the last past 3 weeks after bottoming out at -0.595 on 5/27. Overall the trend is steady if not warming after previous being on a downward trajectory April and May. Temps were in the +0.3 degree range in Feb., and up to the +0.5-+0.6 degree range 3/12-4/8.
CFSV2 Forecast for Nino3.4 Sea Surface Temp (SST) Anomalies & Current SST Anomalies
SST Anomaly Projections
CFSv2 Uncorrected Data (7/28) Actual temperatures were in the +0.65 deg range 1/1/2020 through 4/1/2020, then started falling hard down to -0.20 in late-May then stabalized there through late June. The forecast depicts temps starting a precipitous fall on July 1, down to -0.50 in late July, continuing down reaching -1.20 on Oct 1 and holding through mid Dec, then starting to rebound reaching at -0.5 early March 2021 and near neutral April 1. According to this model sea surface temps should be falling strongly moving towards La Nina as Summer progresses. But as of today (7/28) actual temps suggest a neutral trend in the Nino3.4 region, so some dramatic cooling is going to have to happen for this model to verify. We're beginning to think this model might not be on track and that all the dynamic models might be overstating this cool burst.
IRI Consensus Plume: The July 19, 2020 Plume depicts temps are at -0.42 degs, and are to fall into Oct to -0.55 degs then moderating and starting to rise some to -0.35 by Jan 2021 and then neutral by March. The low outlier is a dynamic models (NASA GMAO). But a good plethora of models are now suggesting a developing solid La Nina. See chart here - link.
Atmospheric Coupling (Indicating the presence of El Nino in the atmosphere driven by the ocean):
Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) (negative is good, positive bad) (7/28): The daily index was positive today at 3.57. The 30 day average was rising to +5.96. The 90 day average was rising to -0.30, suggesting a neutral ENSO pattern was in control.
ESPI Index (like SOI but based on satellite confirmed precipitation. Positive and/or rising is good, negative and/or falling is bad): June -0.67, May -0.46, April 2020 -0.69, March -0.09, Feb +0.65, Jan +0.42, This index was steady positive Aug 2018 through Feb 2020, and now is steady negative, but only weakly so.
Pacific Decadal Oscillation
Per NOAAs index recent values: Jan 2018 +0.29, Feb -0.19, Mar -0.61, April -0.89, May -0.69, June -0.85, July -0.09, Aug -0.43, Sept -0.46, Oct -0.75, Nov -0.78, Dec -0.12, Jan 2019 -0.18, Feb -0.50 Mar -0.23, April +0.10, May +0.14, June -0.11, July +0.44, Aug -0.14, Sept +0.05, Oct -0.96, Nov -0.28, Dec +0.01, Jan 2020 -1.17, This continues to look like the warm phase of the PDO. No consistently solid negative readings have occurred since Feb 2014
The Washington/JISAO index (Jan-Dec): Jan 2018 +0.70. Feb +0.37, Mar -0.05, April +0.11, May +0.11, June -0.04, July +0.11, Aug +0.18, Sept +0.09. No real 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