Thursday, August 26, 2021
- Buoy 233 (Pearl Harbor)/Buoy 239 (Lanai)/Buoy 238 (Barbers Pnt) : Seas were 3.2 ft @ 15.4 secs with swell 1.1 ft @ 14.8 secs from 186 degrees. Water temp 79.7 degs (Pearl Harbor 233), NA (Lani 239), 79.9 (Barbers Pnt).
- Buoy 106 (Waimea): Seas were 5.1 ft @ 8.3 secs with swell 4.0 ft @ 7.6 secs from 39 degrees. Water temp 79.3 degs.
- Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 3.0 ft @ 5.9 secs with swell 0.9 ft @ 16.6 secs from 170 degrees. Wind at the buoy was northwest at 8-10 kts. Water temperature 68.5 degs, 63.9 (Topanga 103), 61.9 degs (Long Beach 215), 68.7 (Del Mar 153), 65.7 (Pt Loma 191). At Harvest Buoy (071) primary swell was 5.4 ft @ 6.9 secs from 307 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 0.8 ft @ 18.3 secs from 219 degrees. At Oceanside (045) swell was 1.0 ft @ 17.1 secs from 205 degrees. Southward at Point Loma (191) swell was 1.1 ft @ 15.0 secs from 202 degrees.
- Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 7.4 ft @ 9.1 secs with swell 6.0 ft @ 8.0 secs from 308 degrees. Wind at the buoy (012) was northwest at 18-21 kts. Water temp 57.2 (Pt Reyes 029), 59.2 (46026), 61.9 degs (SF Bar 142), and 60.3 (Santa Cruz 254).
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 Thursday (8/26) North and Central CA had waves at waist to maybe chest high on the rare peaks and mushed but fairly clean. Protected breaks had some chest high sets and soft but somewhat lined up and fairly clean. At Santa Cruz surf was thigh to waist high on the rare sets and somewhat lined up and clean but weak and inconsistent. In Southern California/Ventura waves were thigh high or so and lumpy and warbled but with clean surface conditions with no wind nearshore. Central Orange County had set waves at thigh high or so and weak and soft with clean conditions and a light northerly breeze. South Orange County's best summertime breaks had sets at waist high with maybe some chest high peaks and somewhat lined up and clean but with some light texture on top. North San Diego had sets waves at waist high and lined up and real clean but soft. Hawaii's North Shore was flat to thigh high and clean. The South Shore was getting some waves to waist high or so and lined up and clean. The East Shore was getting east windswell with waves thigh to waist high and chopped from moderate east trades.
See QuikCASTs for the 5 day surf overview or read below for the detailed view.
On Thursday (8/26) no swell of interest was hitting either Hawaii or California with local windswell being the only swell source. Currently the South Pacific is quiet with no swell producing weather systems having occurred or occurring. But a gale is developing southeast of New Zealand on Thurs-Sun (8/29) producing 29 ft seas aimed east and traversing the South Pacific. Maybe some small sideband swell to result for HI and CA. After that nothing believable is forecast. Nothing is forecast in the NPac either. It's either windswell or nothing for the next week.
See all the details below...
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
On Thursday (8/26) no swell was tracking towards or hitting California or Hawaii originating form the North Pacific.
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. The GFS model previously suggested a tropical system developing just southwest of Cabo San Lucas Mexico on Sun (8/29) tracking north-northwest, but that has vanished off the charts now.
California Nearshore Forecast
- Fri (8/27) northwest fetch is to build over North CA early at 25-30 kts and 15-20 kt northwest winds nearshore for Central CA. In the afternoon northwest winds to be 25-30 kts for North CA and 10-15 kts nearshore for Central CA. Windswell building.
- Sat (8/28) northwest winds to be 30-35 kts for North CA early and a weak eddy flow (south winds developing south of the Pt Arena and holding all day. Windswell building.
- Sun (8/29) northwest winds to be 25 for the waters near Cape Mendocino with a stable eddy flow (south winds)from just south of Pt Arena to Pt Conception and holding all day. Windswell fading some.
- Mon (8/30) northwest winds to be 25 kts for most of North CA with a weak eddy flow (south winds) from the Golden Gate southward early and fetch pushing south reaching down to near Santa Cruz in the afternoon at 20 kts with 25 kts north winds from Pt Reyes northward. Light winds from Monterey Bay southward in the afternoon. Windswell fading some.
- Tues (8/31) northwest winds are forecast at 20-30 kts for North CA early and 20 kts reaching south to Monterey with northwest winds 5 kts south of there. More of the same is forecast in the afternoon with north winds 25 kts for North CA and 20 kts down to almost Point Conception. Windswell trying to rebuild some.
- Wed (9/1) no change is forecast with northwest winds 25+ kts for North CA early and 20 kts down to Big Sur and 15 kts to Pt Conception and holding all day. Windswell stable.
- Thurs (9/2) no real change is forecast.
Total snow accumulation for the next 10 days respectively for Squaw Valley, Sugar Bowl, Kirkwood and Mammoth at 0, 0, 0, and 0 inches respectively.
Freezing level 14,000 ft+ and holding for the next 10 days.
Tioga Pass/Pacific Crest Trail intersection forecast: Temps - Freeze Level (more here - scroll down to 'Resort Snow Forecasts>Central CA or North CA Caltrans & Backcountry')
Snow Models: http://www.stormsurf.com/mdls/menu_snow.html (Scroll down for resort specific forecasts). Updated!
On Thursday (8/26) the influential southern branch of the jet was getting more energetic under New Zealand being fed by 120 kt winds and starting to lift northeast forming a trough southeast of New Zealand over ice free waters offering some support for gale development. Over the next 72 hours that trough is to slowly build east into Fri (8/27) moving over the Central South Pacific and then fading while pushing east over the Southeast Pacific into Sun (8/29) still offering some support for gale development. Beyond 72 hours a ridge is to start building under New Zealand later Sun (8/29) reaching south of 75S and sweeping east to the Central South Pacific on Tues (8/31) eliminating support for gale development. But ahead (east) of it on early Wed (9/1) a trough is to start building being fed by 140 kts winds pushing north offering good support for gale development over the Southeast Pacific and easing east but still in the California swell window into Thurs (9/2). Some hope for gale development is possible.
On Thursday (8/26) no swell was hitting and no swell was in the water tracking northeast towards HI or CA. But hope was developing down south.
Over the next 72 hours starting Thurs AM (8/26) a gale is forecast developing southeast of New Zealand producing a decent sized area of 35-40 kt west-southwest winds and seas building to 29 ft at 55.75S 175.25E aimed northeast. In the evening west-southwest winds to hold at 35-40 kts with seas 29 ft over a moderate sized area at 58S 167W aimed east. On Fri AM (8/27) a secondary fetch is to develop south of the core with winds 35-40 kts aimed east with seas 27 ft at 54S 170W aimed east-northeast. Fetch is to creep east and lift north some in the evening at 40 kts with seas 29 ft at 54.75S 168.5W aimed east. On Sat AM (8/28) the gale is to track east with 40 kt west winds over the Central South Pacific with 30 ft seas at 54.25S 149.25W aimed east. In the evening 40 kt west winds to be pushing east with seas 29 ft at 56S 138.75W aimed east over the Southeast Pacific. On Sun AM (8/29) 40 kt southwest winds to be over the far Southeast Pacific with seas 33 ft at 57S 125.25W aimed east-northeast. In the evening the gale is to be east of the CA swell window and fading. Something to monitor.
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 is forecast.
Beyond 72 hours starting Thurs AM (9/2) a gale is forecast developing in the far Southeast Pacific Wed AM (9/1) producing a broad fetch of 35-40 kt south-southwest winds with seas building from 21 ft at 54S 135W aimed northeast. In the evening fetch to build to 35-40 kts over a large area aimed northeast with 26 ft at 52S 130W aimed northeast. On Thurs AM (9/2) south winds to build to 50 kts aimed north with seas 32 ft at 53.5S 125.25W aimed northeast. Something to monitor.
La Nina Slowly Rebuilding
Summary - Cool water is building across the subsurface equatorial Pacific with warm water from previous Kelvin Waves fading and present only just off Ecuador. The forecast has improved some though suggesting only a short lived high pressure bias controlling the dateline in early Fall then turning neutral. Still it seems blocking high pressure is to hold over the Gulf of Alaska through early Winter 2021-2022.
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: In 2019 warm equatorial waters were 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. A bit of a recovery tried to occur during Fall of 2019, with weak warm water building in the Nino 1.2 region, but cool water held in a pool off Peru. By April 2020 a cool pool was starting to build, forming a well defined cool tongue that evolved into La Nina, with it fully developing through July 2020. A slow dissolving of La Nina started in March 2021 with 2 Kelvin Waves sweeping east and arriving over the Galapagos in June. Weak warming set up over the equator with no cool waters present. NOAA declared La Nina dead.
LONG-RANGE PACIFIC STORM AND SWELL GENERATION POTENTIAL FORECAST
Spring/Summer 2021 = 4.0/3.5 (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 that the moderate La Nina from the Winter of 2020/2021 is on the wane and that a return to neutral ENSO state will set up over the Pacific Basin through the summer of 2021. But lingering effects of La Nina are forecast to continue over the Pacific for some time as the upper atmospheric circulation slowly transitions to an ENSO neutral state. This scenario tend to favor the Southeast Pacific, therefore favoring California over Hawaii. To counter that is the forecasted movement of the low pressure bias currently in-flight from the Maritime Continent to the West Pacific over the next 3 months. Still it will take some time for the atmosphere to fully respond, resulting in a slightly less than normal swell production forecast. A somewhat reduced number of storm days and storm intensity is expected as compared to normal over the South Pacific during the early summer season, resulting in a below normal level of swells, with swell being below normal duration and period. But by the Fall and early Winter of 2021/22, the number of storm days, intensity and duration of those storms should start improving as La Nina fades out. The status of the PDO is not known, though it appears to be returning to at least a neutral state, rather than the warm phase as previously projected thereby having no significant positive or negative effect on the long term outlook.
KWGA/Equatorial Surface Wind Analysis (KWGA - Kelvin Wave Generation Area - The area 5 degrees north and south of the equator from 170W to 135E)
Analysis (TAO Buoys): As of (8/25) 5 day average winds were strong from the east over the Eastern equatorial Pacific then strong east over the Central Pacific and moderate to strong east over the KWGA. Anomalies were light easterly over the East equatorial Pacific and light east over the Central Pacific and modest east over the KWGA. (Note: These are 5 day average winds, versus realtime, so they lag what is happening today (by about 2.5 days).
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): On (8/26) east anomalies were moderate filling the KWGA. The forecast calls for east anomalies holding at moderate strength filling the KWGA for the next week through the end of the model run on 9/2 but maybe showing signs of weakness the last day of the model run. No sign of the Active Phase of the MJO is forecast.
Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East
- MJO/WWB/Wind Projections:
OLR Models: (8/25) A near neutral MJO signal was indicated over the KWGA today biased weakly Inactive. The statistic model projects an Inactive pattern rebuilding on day 5 of the model reaching moderate strength on day 10 and holding on day 15 of the model run. The dynamic model projects the Inactive Phase building far weaker to modest strength on day 5 of the model run then fading to near neutral on day 10 and holding through day 15.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (8/26) The statistical model depicts the Active Phase was exceedingly weak over the Western Indian Ocean and forecast tracking east to the Central Maritime Continent still at very weak status 15 days out. The dynamic model suggests the Active Phase pushing slowly east to the East Indian Ocean on day 15 of the model run at modest strength.
40 day Upper Level Model (assumed to be a statistical mode and 1 week ahead of what is occurring at the surface): (8/25) A moderate Inactive Phase (dry air) was indicated over the Central Equatorial Pacific today with weak wet remnants over the far East Pacific. The Inactive Phase is to push east and into Central America on 9/14 while a weak Active Phase (wet air) is forecast developing over the KWGA on 9/4 tracking east and weakly filling the equatorial Pacific on 9/14 then moving to the East Pacific at the end of the model run on 10/4. At that time a neutral pattern is to set up over the KWGA.
4 Week CFS Model (850 mb wind): (8/25) This model depicts a neutral MJO pattern over the KWGA today but with weak east anomalies in control of the KWGA. The forecast indicates east anomalies filling the KWGA through 8/22 at moderate strength centered on the dateline and unwavering. No MJO signal is indicated for the duration of the model run.
3 Month CFS Model (850 mb wind): (8/26 - using the 4th/latest ensemble member): Today a weak Inactive Phase of the MJO was fading over the KWGA with modest east anomalies filling the KWGA. The forecast indicates the Inactive Phase is to slowly push east and out of the KWGA on 10/5 with east anomalies at modest strength holding over the KWGA through that time. A solid Active Phase is to develop while slowly pushing east starting 9/15 taking over the KWGA on 10/5 and holding through 11/5 with west anomalies steadily plodding east filling the KWGA by 10/18 and holding through 10/29 though weakening but still present through the end of the model run on 11/23. A moderate Inactive MJO pattern is to push into the KWGA on 10/25 slowly pushing east and nearly filling the KWGA at the end of the model run on 11/23 with light west anomalies still in control over the KWGA. The low pass filter indicates a high pressure bias is loosing control limited to the area south of California (with one contour line) and the low pressure bias was gone. The high pressure contour line is to hold over the far East Pacific till 8/27 then disappear only to back-build west on the dateline on on 9/7 holding that position filling the eastern portion of the KWGA through the end of the model run and building with a second contour line developing on 9/27 and holding indefinitely. A single contour low pressure bias is to develop 10/5 recentered over the Maritime Continent at 100E and solid and holding through the end of the model run. East anomalies have taken over the KWGA and are to hold east of 165E on 9/12 slowly getting shoved east as the Active Phase and west anomalies take over the KWGA mid October. This suggests a redevelopment of La Nina as we move into Fall.
CFSv2 3 month forecast for 850 mb winds, MJO, Rossby etc - Alternate link
Subsurface Waters Temps
TAO Array: (8/26) Today in the far West Pacific the 29 degree isotherm was pushing east to 178E. The 28 deg isotherm line was steady at 171W. The 24 deg isotherm was steady at 130W. Warm water has receded west and has stabilized there. Anomaly wise, warm anomalies +1-2 deg C were building in coverage in the far West Pacific pushing east to 150W. East of there mostly cool anomalies were in control at 1-2 degs below normal from 150 meters down up to 75 meters down in the east. No Kelvin Waves were obvious and cool water was building in the east at depth. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 8/21 was much the same suggesting no warm water east of 160W. A solid stream of cool water was pushing up from 150 meters down there and breaching the surface just at the Galapagos. The GODAS animation appears to be 1 week behind the TAO data but also is more detailed and accurately modeled.
Sea Level Anomalies: (8/21) Sea heights were falling over the entire equatorial Pacific with negative anomalies at -5 to -10 cms over the East equatorial Pacific between Ecuador to 160W with a core at barely -15 cms at 135W on the equator with all positive anomalies limited from 165W and points west of there. A warm water 'horseshoe' pattern was redeveloping in the West Pacific. La Nina is making a return.
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 Qualitative Analysis: (8/25) The latest images depict warm water on the equator limited to the area from Ecuador west to a point a bit west of the Galapagos (110W) produced by the last upwelling of a previous Kelvin Wave and showing signs of weakness. Markedly cooler waters were in waves between 110W to 150W and lightly cool from 150W to the dateline. An area of weak warming was gone along Chile and Peru. A more cohesive pocket of warm water was along Central America up to Southern Baja. Overall this seems to indicate the return of La Nina.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (8/25): A stream of weak cooling water was filling the area from Ecuador to 120W and in pockets west of there to 140W. No significant warming was indicated except in pockets between 120W to 145W.
Hi-res Overview: (8/25) A broad area of warmer than normal water was nearshore from Ecuador up to Central America and into Mexico but brick walled limited from 110W and points east of there. Cooler waters were on the equator from 110W to the dateline. The clear cool outflow that has been in place pushing from California southwest to the a point over Hawaii's Big Island has faded some more and just barely present. Nearshore to California from the Golden Gate southward warmer water was taking control. La Nina appears to be trying to make a resurgence an the equator but fading north of there.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (8/26) Today's temps were stable at -0.417 after falling to to -0.716 on 8/15. Before that temps were toggling around neutral 7/20-8/5 after falling to -0.411 on 7/8. Temps before that peaked at +0.213 on 6/17, the highest since 3/16 when they briefly hit +0.714 degs. The longterm trend has been towards falling back into negative territory.
Nino 3.4 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (8/26) Today temps were rising some to -0.231 after falling to -0.370 on 8/22, the bottom of a downward trend that continued for the previous 7 weeks. Previously temps peaked at 7/1 +0.332, the highest in a year. They previously reached up to +0.224 on 6/15 and before that at +0.085 on (6/1), beating the previous peak high of +0.040 on 5/3. Temps previously had been steady near -0.222 since early March. Temps bottomed out at -1.654 on 11/3. Temps have been on a steadily increasing trend.
CFSV2 Forecast for Nino3.4 Sea Surface Temp (SST) Anomalies & Current SST Anomalies
SST Anomaly Projections
CFSv2 Uncorrected Data (8/26) - Actuals per the model indicate temps were rising in early Nov 2020 after bottoming out at -1.25 degs, building to -0.01 degs in mid-June then starting a slow fade from -0.3 degs in early Aug. The forecast indicates temps continuing a slow fade into mid November dropping to -1.05 degs then starting to slowly rise to -0.80 degs in mid Jan 2022 pushing up to +0.00 degs in mid April 2022. This model suggests a return of La Nina conditions this Fall and Winter. There is no indication that El Nino will develop. The PDF Corrected forecast suggests temp falling only to -0.85 degs in Nov starting to rise slowly in Jan 2022.
IRI Consensus Plume: The Aug 20, 2021 Plume depicts temps are at -0.41 degs today, and are to fade steadily to -0.57 degrees in Oct holding into Nov, then rising to -0.33 degs in Jan and neutral in March 2022. A weak return of La Nina is expected this Fall and Winter 2021-2022.
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 - this is a lagging indicator) (8/26): The daily index was at +5.83 after peaking at +37.86 on 7/15. The 30 day average was falling to +3.11 after rising to +16.49 on 7/29 after falling to -3.36 on 6/22, the lowest in a year and beating the previous low on 6/14 of -2.08. It peaked at +19.51 on 1/14. The 90 day average was rising to +5.91 after falling to it's lowest point in a year on 6/9 at +1.06. The 90 day average peaked at +15.75 on 2/23 (clearly indicative of La Nina then). This index is a lagging indicator.
Pacific Decadal Oscillation
The PDO theoretically turned from a 16 year negative run (Jan 98-Feb 2014) in early 2014 and was positive till Dec 2019, but has been negative every since, driven by recent La Nina conditions. In May-July 2021 it was the most negative its been in the -1.80 to -2.04 range since Sept 2012 (-2.99). 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'). If anything it appears more likely we are still in the cool phase of the PDO.
See imagery in the ENSO Powertool
Stormsurf Video Surf Forecast for this week. See it Here
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NBC News - Climate Change and Surfing: https://www.nbcnews.com/mach/science/climate-change-good-surfing-other-sports-not-so-much-ncna1017131
Mavericks & Stormsurf on HBO Sports with Bryant Gumbel https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=luQSYf5sKjQ
Pieces Featuring Stormsurf:
Time Zone Converter By popular demand we've built and easy to use time convert that transposes GMT time to whatever time zone you are located. It's ion left hand column on every page on the site near the link to the swell calculator.
Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table