Thursday, September 14, 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 2.6 ft @ 15.9 secs with south swell 1.9 ft @ 15.5 secs from 192 degrees. Wind at the buoy was east at 4 kts. Water temperature 67.6 degs. At Ventura (Buoy 111) swell was 0.9 ft @ 15.7 secs from 176 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 1.7 ft @ 16.1 secs from 194 degrees. At Camp Pendleton (043) swell was 1.6 ft @ 16.0 secs from 213 degrees. Southward at Pt Loma (191) swell was 2.5 ft @ 15.5 secs from 181 degrees.
- Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 6.6 ft @ 9.1 secs with local windswell 5.2 @ 8.3 secs from 315 degrees and southern hemi swell 1.7 ft @ 17.1 secs. Wind at the buoy was northwest 12-14 kts. Water temp 61.9 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 (9/14) in North and Central CA local windswell was was hitting exposed breaks produce surf at waist high and trashed by northwest wind. Protected breaks were waist high and a bit lumpy from northwest wind but not chopped. At Santa Cruz small south angled southern hemi swell was hitting producing waves in the chest to shoulder high range on the bigger sets and clean but with underlying lump. In Southern California up north waves were thigh high and clean but weak and inconsistent. In North Orange Co southern hemi swell was hitting way better than expected producing waves at head high and clean and sweeping up the beach from the south. In South Orange Co sets at top spots were head high to 1 ft overhead and clean and lined up. In San Diego surf was thigh high and clean and unremarkable. Hawaii's North Shore was still rideable with waves shoulder high on the sets and clean and lined up. The South Shore was thigh to waist high and clean. The East Shore was getting east windswell at chest to shoulder high and clean with no trades.
See QuikCASTs for the 5 day surf overview or read below for the detailed view.
On Thursday (9/14) modest southern hemi swell was unexpectedly arriving in North California and stronger in Southern CA. Also locally produced north windswell was arriving at exposed north facing breaks. Swell from the southern hemi is to continue hitting for a few days produced by a gale that developed in the far Southeast Pacific on Wed (9/6) with 40 ft barely in the CA swell window aimed mostly east. Beyond a gale is forecast for the Gulf of Alaska on Sun (9/17) with 28 ft seas aimed southeast. Otherwise things are pretty quiet and forecast to remain that way. The South Pacific is asleep with no change forecast.
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
On Thursday AM (9/14) the jetstream was cohesive and running generally due east on the 40-45N latitude line tracking off off North Japan building in momentum pushing over the dateline with winds to 150 kts making it to the Western Gulf of Alaska then disintegrating. There were no troughs indicated offering no support for gale development. Over the next 72 hours the pocket of wind energy on the dateline is to build into Sat (9/16) to 170 kts falling into a developing trough in the far North Gulf of Alaska and reaching a point over North Oregon on Sun (9/17) offering some support for gale development. Beyond 72 hours the apex of the trough is to start pushing into the Pacific Northwest late Mon (9/18) with support for gale development fading out. But at the same time another steep trough is to start building just west of the dateline on Sun (9/17) being fed by 130 kt winds building to 140 kts on Mon (9/18) moving over the dateline reaching south to 35N but very steep and becoming pinched Tues (9/19) offering only limited support for gale development in lower levels of the atmosphere. But on Thurs (9/21) some incarnation of that trough is to redevelop on the dateline down at 32N being fed by 110 kt winds offering limited support for gale development.
On Thursday (9/14) no ground swell was hitting either Hawaii or California.
Over the next 72 hours low pressure that tracked east off North Japan on Tues (9/12) was tracking fast to the east and is to reach the Eastern Aleutians Fri PM (9/15) starting to build while lifting north into the far East Bering Sea with a very shallow fetch of 30 kt northwest winds trying to get traction in the extreme Northwestern Gulf of Alaska. By Sat AM (9/16) though winds are to be 45 kts in the Bering Sea they are to all be landlocked. But a shallow fetch of 35 kt northwest winds are to be reaching south into the Northwestern Gulf with seas trying to build. By evening fetch is to start growing from the Eastern Aleutians southeastward at 40 kts with seas building to 28 ft up at 54N 157W. On Sun AM (9/17) fetch is to be tracking east through the Northern Gulf at 35 kts from the west and seas 26 ft at 53N 152W. Fetch is to hold in the evening with seas 25 ft at 52N 142W. Fetch fading Mon AM (9/18) from 30 kts falling southeast off Vancouver Island and seas fading from 24 ft at 49N 136W and shadowed relative to Central CA.(322 degrees). Maybe some swell to result. Something to monitor.
For windswell relative to California: On Thurs (9/14) weak high pressure is to be ridging into North CA setting up a small area of 20-25 kt north winds over Pt Arena producing minimal local north windswell for North and Central CA. But even that is to be weak and small. The gradient is to fall south and fade on Fri (9/15) at 20 kts from the north early covering all of North and Central CA then dropping to 15 kts mid-day offering only weak raw windswell production for North and Central CA. Fetch is to build some over North CA on Sat (9/16) reaching south to Pt Reyes offering some support for windswell development then dropping to 15 kts Sunday and covering all of North and Central CA with windswell generation potential fading out.
For windswell relative to Hawaii: Trades are to start building east of Hawaii at 15-20 kts driven by high pressure at 1028 mbs positioned 1200 nmiles north of the Islands resulting in small easterly short period windswell.
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 (9/14) a small and weak gradient was over Pt Arena producing north winds at 20-25 kts falling south reaching down to San Francisco. The fetch is to build in coverage from Cape Mendocino to Pt Conception on Fri (9/15) at 20 kts. The gradient is to retract north positioned over North CA down to to Pt Reyes Sat AM (9/16) at 20 kts and then fading and falling south at 15 kts on Sun (9/17) limited mainly to Central CA. High pressure is to start building off California on Mon (9/18) with north winds building to from 20 kts early over all of Central CA and up to Pt Arena building to 25+ kts later in the day and holding Tues-Thurs (9/21). Sure looks like a La Nina wind push.
On Thursday (9/14) swell from the far Southeast Pacific was hitting California bigger than expected (see Southeast Pacific Storm below). Swell from the Tasman Sea was pushing towards Fiji and then Hawaii but well filtered (see Tasman Sea Gale below).
Over the next 72 hours no swell producing fetch is forecast.
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:Swell fading Thurs (9/14) from 1.1 ft @ 16 secs 1.5-2.0 ft. Swell Direction: 180 degrees
Tasman Sea Gale
Also a gale was developing in the West Tasman Sea just east of Tasmania Thurs AM (9/7) with 35-40 kt southwest winds and seas building. In the evening 45-50 kt southwest winds tracked east over a tiny area with seas building to 32 ft at 49S 156E. On Fri AM (9/8) 40-45 kt southwest winds were approaching the south coast of New Zealand with 36 ft seas at 46S 160E. This system moved inland after that with seas fading from 30 ft at 44S 162E in the evening. Moderate swell is pushing towards Fiji with filtered swell possibly radiating past there towards Hawaii.
Fiji: Expect swell arrival on Mon (9/11) 12z GMT at 6 ft @ 17 secs (10 ft Hawaiian) building to 8.4 ft @ 16 secs (13 ft Hawaiian) near 0Z Tues (9/12). Swell slowly fading from there down to 8.4 ft @ 15 secs (12.5 ft Hawaiian) near 12z on Tuesday and down from there. Swell Direction: 205 degrees
Hawaii: Expect swell arrival on Sat (9/16) building to 1.6 ft @ 15-16 secs later (2.5 ft). Swell fading Sun (9/17) from 1.5 ft @ 14-15 secs early (2.0 ft). Swell Direction: 215 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 high pressure is to take over the Gulf of Alaska starting Mon (9/18) shutting down any hope for gale development.
A gale low is forecast developing on the dateline Sun (9/17) producing north winds of 35-40 kts then falling south Monday and fading from 30 kts but not aimed at our forecast area. No swell to result.
A local fetch of north winds are to be present over North and Central CA on Mon (9/18) at 15-20 kts producing very limited north windswell down into North and Central CA. On Tues (9/19) that fetch is to build to 25-30 kts focused over Pt Conception and Central CA lifting north and fading to 20 kts Wed (9/20) holding position Thurs (9/21) over Central CA. Limited windswell production potential focused mainly on southern Central CA down into Southern CA.
For Hawaii trades are to continue at 15 kts from the east Mon (9/18) building in coverage on Tues (9/19) extending the whole way from California to Hawaii with a core to 20 kts continuing into Thurs (9/21). Good odds for windswell development forecast.
Beyond 72 hours no swell producing fetch is forecast.
More details to follow...
La Nina Building Solidly
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 (9/13) the 5 day average indicated east winds were over the entire equatorial Pacific and strong over the Kelvin Wave Generation Area. Anomalies were modest easterly in pockets over the East Pacific and moderate to strong easterly over all the KWGA.
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): (9/14) Strong east anomalies were modeled over the core of the KWGA. Strong east anomalies are to continue filling the East KWGA holding through 9/17, then starting to fade through 9/19, the weak easterly through the end of the model run on 9/21. The Inactive Phase of the MJO is refueling La Nina, either that or La Nina has taken over, completely squashing the MJO. Either way, this is not the pattern we wish for.
Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East
Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:
OLR Models: As of 9/13 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): (9/14) 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: (9/14) This model depicts the Inactive/Dry Phase was strong over the East Pacific tracking east expected to fade over Central America on 9/29. A weak Active Phase is building in the West Pacific tracking east reaching Central America into 10/19. A modest Inactive Phase is to follow in the West Pacific 10/9 easing east into the end of the model run on 10/24. This model runs about 2 weeks ahead of what happens at the surface.
CFS Model - 3 month (850 mb wind): (Has not updated since 9/10) This model depicts a very weak version of the Inactive Phase of the MJO fading 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 a very weak version of the Active Phase of the MJO is to return starting 10/12 with weak west anomalies in control through 11/5. Then the Inactive Phase starts redeveloping the West Pacific 10/30 with neutral anomalies biased weak westerly early holding through 12/8 with east anomalies starting to develop. 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: (9/14) A pattern change set up in August, with warm water retreating to the 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 167W. The 24 deg isotherm continues retrograding west to 130W today 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 weakly negative +0.0 to -1.0 degs at the surface and to -4 degs at depth at 120W indicative of La Nina. Warm anomalies are isolated to the West Pacific at +1.0 degrees down to 100 meters deep. The dividing line between cool and warm is at 160W. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 9/10 depicts the same thing, but with more cool water east and less warm water in the west. It looks like the cool water pocket at depth in the East Pacific is poised to erupt to the surface while east winds push 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: (9/10) Negative anomalies are building at -5 cms from 165W to Ecuador with a large pocket of -10 cm anomalies now present between 105W-160W suggesting a building cool pool at depth. This is not good.
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: (9/13) The latest images (1.2 3.4) indicate a clear cool pattern has developed on the equator. Upwelling is nearshore along Peru and Ecuador tracking solidly northwest then building over the Galapagos and 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 (9/13): A neutral temperature trend is along Peru then trending cool off Ecuador and out over the Galapagos to 160W. There are few interspersed warmer pockets from the Galapagos westward. La Nina is pulsing making solid headway.
Hi-res Overview: (9/12) A clear La Nina cool stream is present starting off Southern Chile pushing north up Peru then turning northwest off Ecuador (light cool) then stronger while tracking west from the Galapagos to 180W and moderate strong and building in the region between 90-140W. This pattern outlines the South Pacific high pressure system well which is assumed to be stronger than normal. There is no sign of warm anomalies in the Nino 1.2 or Nino3.4 regions. 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: (9/14) Today's temps were rising some at -0.075, 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 (9/14) temps have bottomed out at -0.797, down from +0.5 degs where it was consistently in the Spring through 7/18. A clear downward trend is indicated.
CFSV2 Forecast for Nino3.4 SST Anomalies
SST Anomaly Projections
CFSv2 Uncorrected Data (9/14) The forecast has temps falling steadily from -0.5 degs early Sept to -1.0 in early Oct and down from there to -1.5 in late Dec. Then the trend is to turn upwards rebounding to -0.5 in April and neutral in June 2018. This suggests a legit La Nina now expected for the Winter of 2017-2018. The CFS SST images (9/11) continues to suggest a modest La Nina cool pattern building on the equator off the Galapagos in Sept and building steadily into Jan/Feb 2018. A full on La Nina is setting up.
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 (9/14): The daily index was positive at +11.23, and has been effectively continuous positive for months now. The 30 day average was rising at 7.61. The 90 day average was rising at +3.70. This suggests a turn towards La Nina.
ESPI (like SOI but based on satellite confirmed precipitation. Positive is good, negative bad): (9/5) This index has not been updated since 9/5. At that time the 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= -0.50, Aug= -0.68. This continues to look like the warm phase of the PDO discounting the recent La Nina dip. 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