Tuesday, September 5, 2017
- Buoy 146 (Lanai): This buoy is down and there is no backup site and no date if or when it will return to service. Buoy 233/51211 (Pearl Harbor) is available but has a new frequency layout. We'll have to code a new program to read it's output (date TBD).
- Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 2.7 ft @ 12.8 secs with southern hemi swell 1.6 ft @ 12.9 secs from 199 degrees. Wind at the buoy was west at 6-8 kts. Water temperature 70.3 degs. At Ventura (Buoy 111) swell was 1.1 ft @ 12.7 secs from 184 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 1.6 ft @ 14.2 secs from 204 degrees. At Camp Pendleton (043) swell was 1.8 ft @ 13.7 secs from 220 degrees. Southward at Pt Loma (191) swell was 2.1 ft @ 13.5 secs from 194 degrees.
- Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 3.3 ft @ 9.1 secs with southern hemi swell 2.1 ft @ 13.6 secs from 196 degrees. Wind at the buoy was southeast 6-8 kts. Water temp 64.2 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 Tuesday (9/5) in North and Central CA local north windswell was producing surf at thigh to maybe waist high on the sets and reasonably clean with some texture on top. Protected breaks were flat and clean. At Santa Cruz southern hemi swell was hitting producing set waves shoulder high plus and clean. In Southern California up north waves were waist high on the sets and clean. In North Orange Co southern hemi swell was waist high or so but mostly breaking on the beach due to tide and clean. In South Orange Co sets at top spots were chest high with sets a little overhead and clean. In San Diego surf was waist to chest high with some bigger sections and clean. Hawaii's North Shore was flat and clean. The South Shore was chest to shoulder high on the sets at top break and clean and lined up. The East Shore was thigh high and clean with no trades in effect.
See QuikCASTs for the 5 day surf overview or read below for the detailed view.
On Tuesday (9/5) no windswell was hitting California or Hawaii. A gale developed in the Northwestern Gulf of Alaska on Sun (9/3) producing 24 ft seas aimed southeast. Small swell is on the way to CA and HI. And a tropical system in the far West Pacific tracked north generating 40 ft seas aimed northeast Sat-Sun (9/3) then turned east just south of the Aleutians late Mon (9/4) with seas fading from 33 ft, fading out over the North Dateline region Tues (9/5) with seas dropping from 30 ft. Small swell is possible from this one too for HI and CA. Looking south small southern hemi swell is fading in CA and Hi from a small gale that developed south of Tahiti on Fri-Sat (8/26) producing 28 ft seas aimed north. Beyond a gale is forecast in the far Southeast Pacific on Wed (9/6) with 40 ft barely in the CA swell window but all aimed east. Low odds of anything resulting for the United States. Nothing of interest is forecast beyond relative to our forecast area. The focus is clearly turning towards the northern hemisphere, but not really active yet.
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
On Tuesday AM (9/5) the jetstream was slightly split in the far West Pacific but still running east up on the 40N latitude line lifting gently east-northeast to a point just south of the Aleutians on the dateline with winds building to 130 kts then falling into a pinched trough in the Gulf before ridging hard north and moving into over Alaska. There was no clear support for gale development. Over the next 72 hours the trough in the Gulf is to try and hold on but flattening over time with winds still 130-150 kts through Fri (9/8) offering some support for low pressure development but nothing more while a semi split pattern holds over the Northwest Pacific not offering any support for gale development. Beyond 72 hours the core of the jet is to undulating east on generally the 45N latitude line on Sun (9/10) with winds 110-120 kts in the west and falling into a steep pinched trough in the Western Gulf building to 150 kts in the Gulf then weakening Tues (9/12) and not offering any real support for gale development over that time period.
On Tuesday (9/5) swell associated with a fetch that developed over the Northwestern Gulf was tracking southeast (see Gulf Gale below). Also a tropical system tracked north off Japan and then turned east while fading (see Extratropical Storm Sanvu below). Otherwise no local fetch was in play relative to either Hawaii or California capable of generating local windswell.
Over the next 72 hours only the systems defined above are to be of interest. No other swell producing fetch is forecast.
A low pressure system built in the Northwestern Gulf of Alaska on Sat AM (9/2) with northwest winds 25 kts building to 35-40 kts in the evening and seas on the increase. On Sun AM (9/3) northwest winds were 40 kts over a modest area with seas building to 24 ft at 47N 160W targeting mainly the US West Coast with sideband energy towards Hawaii. In the evening fetch was fading from 30 kts over a broader area and seas 22 ft at 47N 157W targeting mainly the US West Coast. Mon AM (9/4) north fetch was fading from 30 kts with a small area of 17 ft seas lingering at 47N 163W. This system dissipated after that. Small weak early season 13 sec period swell is possible for the Pacific Northwest, California and Hawaii.
Hawaii: Expect swell arrival on Wed (9/6) peaking mid-day at 3.9 ft @ 12-13 secs (5.0 ft). Swell fading Thurs (9/7) from 3.9 ft @ 11-12 secs (4.5 ft). Swell Direction: 345 degrees
North CA: Expect swell arrival on Wed (9/6) building to 3.5 ft @ 13-14 secs late (4.5-5.0 ft). Swell continues on Thurs AM (9/7) at 3.8 ft @ 12-13 secs (4.5-5.0 ft). Residuals fading Fri AM (9/8) from 3.4 ft @ 11 secs (3.5 ft). Swell Direction: 300 degrees
Extratropical Storm Sanvu
On Saturday (9/2) Sanvu was 300 nmiles east-southeast of Tokyo Japan with winds 55 kts tracking north-northeast at 20 kts producing 30 ft seas at 33N 147E. This system continued tracking north-northeast for the next few days with winds 55 kts Sat PM and seas increasing to 40 ft at 37N 151E. On Sun AM (9/3) winds were fading from 45 kts with seas 36 ft at 42N 156E, then fading in the evening with winds 40-45 kts and turning more westerly with seas fading from 31 ft at 46N 160E. Mon AM (9/4) Sanvu turned to the east with winds from the west at 40 kts and seas 35 ft at 50N 159E aimed east (barely unshadowed by the Aleutians on the 308 degree track to NCal) then turning fully east in the evening with west winds 40 kts and seas 33 ft at 49N 166E and barely unshadowed relative to the US West Coast and aimed too far east to be of much use to Hawaii. More of the same is forecast Tues AM (9/5) with west winds fading from 35 kts and seas 27 ft at 49N 172E (308 degrees NCal). A quick fade to follow. Something to monitor.
Hawaii: Expect swell arrival on Fri (9/8) pushing 2.0 ft @ 16 secs later (3.0-3.5 ft) and slow. Swell peaks later Sat (9/9) at 2.5 ft @ 13-14 secs (3.0-3.5 ft). Swell fading Sun (9/10) from 2.3 ft @ 11-12 secs (2.5-3.0 ft). Swell Direction: 320 degrees
North CA: Expect swell arrival on Fri (9/8) pushing 2.0 ft @ 18 secs later (3.5 ft) and slow. Swell peaks later Sat (9/9) at 2.8 ft @ 15-16 secs (4.0-4.5 ft). Swell fading Sun (9/10) from 2.9 ft @ 14-15 secs (4.0-4.5 ft). Swell fading Mon (9/11) from 2.8 ft @ 12-13 secs (35 ft).Swell Direction: 296-308 degrees
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
No tropical systems of interest were occurring and none were forecast.
California Nearshore Forecast
On Tuesday (9/5) a weak pressure and wind pattern was in play for all CA coastal waters with no winds in excess of 10 kts. If anything a weak low was off Pt Conception generating southeast winds for the SF Bay Area. The low is to lift north and fade Wed-Thurs (9/7) with light winds the norm. More of the same is forecast Friday except with north winds starting to build over North CA at 15-20 kts associated with high pressure building at 1024 mbs 700 nmiles off the coast there. By Sat AM (9/9) those winds to build briefly to 25 kts limited to North CA with an eddy flow over all of Central CA (south winds). The gradient is to build more on Sun (9/10) with a moderate sized area of 25 kt north winds over North CA with an eddy flow south of Pt Arena then that fetch lifting north and fading some Mon AM (9/11). Light winds to be in control of the state by Tuesday.
On Tuesday (9/2) small residual swell from a gale previously south of Tahiti was fading in Hawaii and California (see Small Central Pacific Gale below). Otherwise no swell producing fetch of interest was in play over the width of the South Pacific and no swell was in the water tracking north.
Over the next 72 hours a gale is to start building in the far Southeast Pacific on Tues AM (9/5) with a small area of 45 kt south winds developing and seas building. In the evening a storm is to build rapidly with winds near 60 kts from the southwest and seas 41 ft over a tiny area at 54S 118W. On Wed AM (9/6) the storm is to race east with 55 kt southwest winds and seas building to 49 ft at 50S 103W totally out of the SCal swell window aimed mainly at Southern Chile. This system is to race east from there in the evening and of no interest to our forecast area. Small swell is expected to radiate north possibly setting up some south angled swell for California. Something to monitor.
Also a gale is forecast for the West Tasman Sea just east of Tasmania Thurs AM (9/7) with 45 kt southwest winds and seas building. In the evening 45 kt southwest winds are to track east with seas building to 32 ft at 47S 156E. On Fri AM (9/8) 45 kt southwest winds to be approaching the south coast of New Zealand with 37 ft seas at 44S 162E. This system is to be moving inland after that. Assuming all goes as forecast solid swell could be pushing towards Fiji with filtered swell possibly radiating past there towards Hawaii.
Small Central Pacific Gale
A small cutoff gale developed south of Tahiti Thurs PM (8/24) with 35-40 kt south winds and seas building from 24 ft over a small area at 48S 160W aimed due north. On Fri AM (8/25) fetch built in coverage at 35 kts from the south and with 2 pockets to 40 kts with seas to 28 ft up at 40S 158W aimed due north. In the evening the original fetch was fading from 30-35 kts but a new fetch built south of it at 40 kts aimed north with a new area of 28 ft seas at 47S 153W and seas from the original fetch fading from 25 ft at 36S 155W. Fetch faded from 40 kts Sat AM (8/26) aimed north with seas 27-28 ft at 43S 152W. Fetch faded in the evening from 35 kts with seas fading from 28 ft at 39S 151W aimed north. A Decent swell is pushing north towards Tahiti with smaller energy for Hawaii with less energy from the US West Coast.
South CA: Residual energy on Tues (9/5) fading from 1.6 ft @ 13-14 secs (2.0 ft). Swell Direction: 208 degrees
North CA: Residual energy on Tues (9/5) fading from 1.6 ft @ 13-14 secs (2.0 ft). Swell Direction: 206 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 no swell producing weather systems are forecast.
No windswell production is expected for HI either. There is some chance for local north windswell for North and Central CA on Sun-Mon (9/11) from 25 kt north winds limited to North CA.
Beyond 72 hours no swell producing fetch is forecast.
More details to follow...
La Nina Pulsing Stronger
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 and is holding.
KWGA/Equatorial Surface Wind Analysis & Short-term Forecast:
Analysis (TAO Buoys): As of Mon (9/4) the 5 day average indicated east winds were over the entire equatorial Pacific but light over the Kelvin Wave Generation Area. Anomalies were moderate easterly in pockets over the East Pacific but light westerly over the KWGA.
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): (9/5) Moderate east anomalies were modeled over the far Western KWGA with neutral anomalies over the East KWGA. East anomalies are to hold and start building east again starting 9/7 filling the KWGA by 9/9 and holding through the end of the model run on 9/12. It now looks like the Inactive Phase of the MJO is to again start asserting itself, refueling La Nina.
Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East
Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:
OLR Models: As of 9/4 a neutral MJO pattern was in control of the KWGA. The statistical model depicts a neutral pattern to continue for the next 2 weeks. The dynamic model depicts the same thing but with a weak and building Inactive/Dry Phase setting up in the west starting on day 8 continuing through day 15.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (9/5) The ECMF model depicts the Active Phase of the MJO weak over the Maritime Continent and forecast to collapse to nothing and not changing. The GEFS model depicts the same thing.
40 day Upper Level Model: (9/5) This model depicts the Inactive/Dry Phase was exiting over the far East Pacific and modest in strength. It is to be gone by 9/10. At the same time a very weak Active/Wet MJO pattern is to be over the far West Pacific and is to push east while fading and gone over Central America on 9/27. A weak Inactive/Dry Phase is to push over the far West Pacific 10/5 tracking east through the end of the model run 10/15. This model runs about 2 weeks ahead of what happens at the surface.
CFS Model - 3 month (850 mb wind): (9/5) This model depicts a very weak version of the Inactive Phase of the MJO was over the KWGA with modest east wind anomalies over the far West Pacific. Those anomalies are forecast to rebuild over the coming weeks as the Inactive Phase tracks east over the West Pacific 9/10-9/25. After that the Active Phase of the MJO is to return starting 10/4 with weak west anomalies in control through 10/58. Then the Inactive Phase starts redeveloping the West Pacific 10/7 with neutral anomalies biased weak westerly holding through 12/4 the end of the model run. The low pass filter indicates a very weak La Nina signal is in control of the KWGA and is to hold till 9/29, then building in coverage while drifting east and out of the KWGA by the end of November. There's some sense the pattern is to start shifting east early November entirely east of the dateline. Best guess is a very weak directionless and low energy weather pattern biased towards La Nina redeveloping in Fall of 2017. It will take 5 years 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: (9/5) A pattern change set up in August, with warm water retreating west and cooler water building in the east. Today in the far West Pacific water temps were depicted at 30 degs centered at 160E. The 28 deg isotherm line has stabilized at 168W. The 24 deg isotherm is retrograding at 125W and at 75 meters deep at 140W. Anomaly wise a clear change is present in the East Pacific with warm water gone and turning neutral to weak negative +0.0 to -1.0 degs indicative of La Nina while +1.0 degree anomalies build in coverage in the West Pacific at 125 meters deep. The dividing line between cool and warm is at 160W. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 8/31 depicts the same thing, but with more cool water east and less warm water in the west. It looks like the cool water pocket is poised to erupt to the surface in the equatorial East Pacific in few weeks while east winds are pushing all warm surface waters of the equatorial Pacific to the West Pacific. The GODAS image appears to be about 1 week behind the TAO data.
Sea Level Anomalies: (8/31) Negative anomalies hold stable coverage at -5 cms from 165W to Ecuador suggesting a cool pool at depth.
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: (9/4) The latest images (1.2 3.4) indicate a clear cool pattern has developed with weak upwelling nearshore along Peru and Ecuador tracking northwest over the Galapagos and then flowing steadily west from there on the equator and well defined out to 160W. There is no breaks in the cool stream over this entire area. This looks very much like a classic La Nina signature. Cooling in the heart of the Nino3.4 region is building.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (9/3): A neutral temperature trend is along Peru then trending cool along Ecuador and out over the Galapagos building much stronger cool out to 145W. There are few if any remaining interspersed warmer pockets from the Galapagos westward. La Nina is pulsing making solid headway.
Hi-res Overview: (9/4) A clear La Nina cool stream is present on the equator from Peru up to Ecuador then west to 180W. There is no sign of warm anomalies in the Nino 1.2 or Nino3.4 regions. If anything the stream of cooler water associated with nearshore upwelling just off Peru northwest to the Galapagos is building in the past few days. Otherwise waters of all oceans of the planet are warmer than normal other than the aforementioned stream. We now assert that climatology needs to be updated to reflect the new reality of warming ocean temperatures over the entire planet.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (9/5) Today's temps were steady at -0.890, down from a warm peak of +3.0 degs on 3/18 and +1.0 degs on 5/2 and +0.6 degs on 6/20.
Nino 3.4 Daily CDAS Index Temps: Today (9/5) temps were falling at -0.569, down from +0.5 degs where it was consistently through 7/18. A clear downward trend is indicated.
CFSV2 Forecast for Nino3.4 SST Anomalies
SST Anomaly Projections
CFSv2 Uncorrected Data (9/5) The forecast has temps falling steadily from neutral (0.0 degs) in early Aug to -0.75 in early Oct and down from there to -1.35 in late Dec. Then the trend is to turn upwards rebounding to -0.25 in April 2018. This is yet another upgrade in the strength of La Nina and suggests a legit La Nina now forecast for the Winter of 2017-2018. The CFS SST images (8/28) continues to suggest a weak La Nina cool pattern building on the equator off the Galapagos in Sept and building steadily into Dec/Jan 2018. There is no source for El Nino like warming with the warm pool in the far West Pacific weak and fading.
IRI Consensus Plume: The mid-Aug Plume updated (8/20) depicts temps forecast to fade 0.0 degs in Aug, and are to hold there solid through Feb 2018 suggesting a neutral pattern in control. See chart here - link. The NMME consensus depicts the same thing with temps -0.01 degrees below normal through Jan. last month both models depicted temps at +0.3 degs above normal through the Winter. So this is a significant downgrade.
Atmospheric Coupling (Indicating the presence of El Nino in the atmosphere driven by the ocean):
Southern Oscillation Index (9/5): The daily index was positive at +22.40, and has been nearly continuous positive for months now. The 30 day average was rising some at 4.66. The 90 day average was rising at +1.69 or just north of neutral. This suggests a return to ENSO neutral conditions has taken hold.
ESPI (like SOI but based on satellite confirmed precipitation. Positive is good, negative bad): (9/5) Today's value was falling at -1.27 (up from -2.20 on 6/28) but still suggesting a turn towards La Nina. A supposed peak of this La Nina was reached on 11/2/16 at -1.94 (last year) . So the index is about as negative as it was at the peak of last years (2016) La Nina. At this time it looks like La Nina is returning for a double dip/2 year La Nina (not unusual). This index is a forerunner of what happens in the ocean by 2-3 months in developing El Nino and La Nina events.
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 = +0.04, March = +0.12, April=+0.52, May=+0.30, June=+0.19, July=-0.41. 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, May=+0.88, June=+0.79, July=+0.10. 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