Thursday, September 7, 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 3.6 ft @ 13.7 secs with southern hemi swell 1.3 ft @ 13.6 secs from 204 degrees. Wind at the buoy was north at 10-14 kts. Water temperature 70.9 degs. At Ventura (Buoy 111) swell was 0.9 ft @ 11.8 secs from 212 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 1.3 ft @ 15.5 secs from 208 degrees. At Camp Pendleton (043) swell was 1.1 ft @ 15.8 secs from 219 degrees. Southward at Pt Loma (191) swell was 1.8 ft @ 15.4 secs from 229 degrees.
- Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 5.2 ft @ 12.8 secs with Gulf swell 4.2 ft @ 12.7 secs from 301 degrees. Wind at the buoy was south 6-8 kts. Water temp 63.9 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 Thursday (9/7) in North and Central CA swell from the Gulf of Alaska was producing surf at 1-2 ft overhead and lined up, but a bit tattered from south (eddy flow) winds. Protected breaks were chest to shoulder high and clean. At Santa Cruz the same northwest swell was wrapping in producing set waves chest to shoulder high range and clean but wonky from too much tide. In Southern California up north waves were waist high on the sets and pretty torn up by northwest wind. In North Orange Co northwest Gulf swell was showing with waves waist to chest high and clean but soft. In South Orange Co sets at top spots were chest high and warbled from north wind. In San Diego surf was waist high with some bigger sections and modestly textured. Hawaii's North Shore was getting Gulf swell with waves 2-3 ft overhead and clean and lined up. The South Shore was waist to chest high with rare sections head high on the sets at top breaks and clean and lined up. The East Shore was chest high plus and lightly chopped from light east trades.
See QuikCASTs for the 5 day surf overview or read below for the detailed view.
On Thursday (9/7) swell from a gale that developed in the Northwestern Gulf of Alaska on Sun (9/3) producing 24 ft seas aimed southeast was hitting California as expected. it was also hitting Hawaii nicely. 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 right behind the Gulf swell for HI and CA. Down south a gale developed 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 from either the North Pacific or the South. But the focus is clearly turning towards the northern hemisphere.
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
On Thursday AM (9/7) the jetstream was running flat east on the 40N latitude line off North Japan over the dateline reaching a point 600 nmiles off Washington State before splitting with most energy tracking northeast up into british Columbia with some falling southeast into a weak surface low off San Francisco. Winds were 120 kts in two broad pockets but no troughs were evident offering no support for gale development. Over the next 72 hours the same basic pattern is to hold but with a ridge building on the dateline and a trough developing in the Western Gulf by Sun (9/10) but pinched, with the jet ridging hard to the northeast east of there, pushing up into North British Columbia. Winds are forecast at 110 kts almost continuous over the width of the jet. Beyond 72 hours the Gulf trough is to pinch off and collapse early Tues (9/12). But a pocket of building wind energy is to set up on the dateline later Thurs (9/14) with winds to 130 kts and the jet running generally flat east on the 45N latitude line to 160W then vaporizing. There is some potential for a trough to develop in the Gulf of Alaska beyond.
On Thursday (9/7) swell associated with a fetch that developed over the Northwestern Gulf was hitting California and Hawaii (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. A low pressure system is to try and develop in the Gulf of Alaska on Sun (9/10) but not getting much upper level support generating only 25 kt north winds targeting mainly Hawaii. No meaningful swell production is to result.
High pressure is to ridge into the North CA coast on Sat (9/9) producing a small area of 20-25 kt north winds with limited north windswell possible for North and Central CA. That fetch is build in coverage on Sunday afternoon at up to 30 kts from the north with windswell on the increase. Fetch is to be fading from 30 kts Mon AM (9/11) while lifting north, down to 25 kts in the evening and limited to South Oregon. Fetch is to fade out quickly from there. Windswell is possible for the weekend into Mon AM for North and Central CA.
East trades to build to 15 kts just east of Hawaii on Fri (9/8) perhaps generating some windswell for exposed breaks along east facing shores, but then in rapid decline early Saturday with windswell fading.
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: Swell fading Thurs (9/7) from 3.9 ft @ 11-12 secs (4.5 ft). Swell Direction: 345 degrees
North CA: 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 Thursday (9/7) 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 Central CA generating south winds for the SF Bay Area. 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 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 25-30 kt north winds over North CA with an eddy flow south of Pt Reyes then that fetch lifting north and fading from 30 kts Mon AM (9/11) to 25 kts later. Light winds to be in control of the state Tuesday-Thursday (9/14).
On Thursday (9/7) no southern hemi swell of interest was hitting California or Hawaii. Otherwise a tiny swell from the far Southeast Pacific was pushing north (see Southeast Pacific Storm below).
Over the next 72 hours no swell producing fetch is forecast.
Also a gale was trying to develop in the West Tasman Sea just east of Tasmania Thurs AM (9/7) with 40 kt southwest winds and seas building. In the evening 45-50 kt southwest winds are to track east with seas building to 32 ft at 49S 156E. On Fri AM (9/8) 45 kt southwest winds to be approaching the south coast of New Zealand with 38 ft seas at 46S 160E. This system is to be moving inland after that with seas fading from 30 ft at 45S 163E in the evening. Assuming all goes as forecast solid swell could be pushing towards Fiji with filtered swell possibly radiating past there towards Hawaii.
Southeast Pacific Storm
A gale started 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 developed building 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 raced east with 50 kt southwest winds and seas building to 47 ft at 51S 106W totally out of the SCal swell window aimed mainly at Southern Chile. This system raced 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.
Southern CA: Expect swell on Wed (9/13) at 1.1 ft @ 18 secs (1.5-2.0 ft). Swell fading Thurs (9/14) from 1.1 ft @ 16 secs 1.5-2.0 ft. Swell Direction: 180 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...
MJO is Gone - La Nina In Control
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 Wed (9/6) 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): (9/7) Moderate east anomalies were modeled over the entire KWGA. East anomalies are to hold then start building 9/9 filling the East KWGA holding through the end of the model run on 9/14. It now looks like the Inactive Phase of the MJO is to again start asserting itself, refueling La Nina, or La Nina is to pulse.
Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East
Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:
OLR Models: As of 9/6 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.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (9/7) The ECMF model depicts the Active Phase of the MJO weak and incoherent and is forecast to stay that way. The GEFS model depicts the same thing.
40 day Upper Level Model: (9/7) 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 new modest Inactive/Dry Phase is pushing over the far West Pacific 9/7 tracking east into Central America on 10/12. A weak Active Phase is to follow in the West Pacific 9/27 tracking east. This model runs about 2 weeks ahead of what happens at the surface.
CFS Model - 3 month (850 mb wind): (9/7) 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 to hold 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 10/25. Then the Inactive Phase starts redeveloping the West Pacific 10/28 with neutral anomalies biased weak westerly holding through 12/5 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: (9/7) 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 150W. 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: (9/6) 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 (9/6): A neutral temperature trend is along Peru then trending cool off Ecuador and out over the Galapagos building much stronger cool out to 160W. There are few if any remaining interspersed warmer pockets from the Galapagos westward. La Nina is pulsing making solid headway.
Hi-res Overview: (9/6) A clear La Nina cool stream is present on the equator from Peru up to Ecuador then west to 180W and building in the region between 100-130W. 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: (9/7) Today's temps were rising some at -0.595, 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 (9/7) temps were falling at -0.644, 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 (9/7) 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 (9/7): The daily index was positive at +0.60, and has been nearly continuous positive for months now. The 30 day average was rising at 6.58. The 90 day average was rising at +2.02. This suggests a return to ENSO neutral conditions trending twoards La Nina.
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