Thursday, September 28, 2017
- Buoy 106 (Waimea): Seas were 4.1 ft @ 11.1 secs with swell 2.7 ft @ 10.3 secs from 345 degrees.
- Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 2.0 ft @ 10.0 secs with windswell 1.3 ft @ 11.1 secs from 188 degrees. Wind at the buoy was north at 0-2 kts. Water temperature 66.7 degs. At Ventura (Buoy 111) swell was 1.3 ft @ 9.9 secs from 242 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 1.5 ft @ 10.3 secs from 236 degrees. At Camp Pendleton (043) swell was 1.2 ft @ 10.9 secs from 205 degrees. Southward at Pt Loma (191) swell was 1.8 ft @ 11.6 secs from 192 degrees.
- Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 3.0 ft @ 10.8 secs with local north windswell 1.8 @ 9.6 secs from 261 degrees. Wind at the buoy was northwest 10-12 kts. Water temp 61.7 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 (9/28) in North and Central CA local north windswell was producing waves at exposed breaks in the thigh to maybe waist high range and clean but foggy. Protected breaks were knee to thigh high and clean. At Santa Cruz there was no rideable surf. It was flat and clean. In Southern California up north set waves were thigh high or so and clean. In North Orange Co set waves were thigh high and clean with fog. In South Orange Co waves were thigh to waist high and weak but clean. In San Diego surf was knee to maybe thigh high and clean. Hawaii's North Shore was getting small north windswell at chest to shoulder high at best breaks and clean and reasonably lined up. The South Shore was near flat with sets thigh high and clean. The East Shore was getting east windswell at thigh to waist high and chopped early from east-northeasterly trades.
See QuikCASTs for the 5 day surf overview or read below for the detailed view.
On Thursday (9/28) southern hemi swell was in the water pushing northeast from a gale that developed southeast of New Zealand on Wed (9/27) generating up to 38 ft seas aimed mostly east and then started lifting northeast and is to lift fully north on Fri (9/29) with 35 ft seas targeting from California southward. Late season southern hemi swell is looking very likely. In the northern hemisphere the models continue to suggest a cutoff low developing north-northwest of the Hawaiian Islands Fri-Sun (10/1) generating a small area of 25 ft seas aimed due south increasing the likelihood of swell energy radiating towards Hawaii for early next week. And locally generated north windswell is expected to be generated for North and Central CA starting Sat (9/30) through Wed (10/4). For Hawaii east windswell is possible starting Tues (10/3) and heading up from there. So overall, there's some promise in the forecast.
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
On Thursday AM (9/28) the jetstream was ridging hard northeast over the Kuril Islands then turned east and weakened before reaching the Aleutian Islands falling down to 43N on the dateline forming a weak trough before the jet tracked east into the Central Gulf of Alaska while building some with winds to 140 kts forming a second weak trough there. Then the jet ridged hard north up into the Central Canadian Coast. There was limited support for gale development in the Gulf trough and in the dateline trough, but nothing exceptional. Over the next 72 hours the dateline trough is to get infused with 120-130 kts winds from the north, but is also to be pinching off while diving south reaching a point 300 nmiles northwest of Hawaii by Sun AM (10/1) offering very limited support for gale development. The trough in the Gulf is to be tracking east moving inland over North Oregon on Fri (9/29) not offering anything in terms of support for gale development. Beyond 72 hours the Hawaiian trough is to fully cut off from the main jetstream flow but is to continue circulating 300 nmiles north of Hawaii into Tues (10/3) supporting low pressure development. Otherwise the jet is to be pushing firm off North Japan on Tues (10/3) with winds 140+ kts while lifting gently east-northeast reaching the intersection of the dateline and the Aleutians then weakening over the Eastern Aleutians and limping into North Canada with no troughs indicated offering no support for gale development. Into Thurs (10/5) the pattern is to get only more pronounced with the jet effectively moving north tracking over the Aleutians with winds building to 170 kts and offering no support for gale development.
On Thursday (9/28) no groundswell was hitting either Hawaii or California. No locally generated north windswell was present along the North and Central California Coast. Weak northerly windswell of indeterminate source was hitting the North Shore of Oahu.
Over the next 72 hours a cutoff low pressure system is to be developing 1200 nmiles northwest of Hawaii on Thurs (9/28) easing east and is to start producing up to 35 kt north and northeast winds on Fri AM (9/29) and starting to get traction on the oceans surface. By evening north winds are to build to 40-45 kts over a tiny area at 40N 168W with seas 25 ft at 40N 168W aimed just a bit west of Hawaii. On Sat AM (9/30) north fetch is to hold decently at 40 kts over a small area aimed south with seas 24 ft at 40N 168W aimed like before. Fetch is to start falling south in the evening at 35-40 kts with 25 ft seas at 38N 167W or 1000 nmiles out from Oahu. On Sun AM (10/1) fetch is to be fading from 30 kts while falling south and loosing coverage with seas 19 ft at 36N 167W. there. The low is to dissipate from there.
Maybe some decent swell to radiate south towards Hawaii starting later Monday (10/2). .
For windswell relative to California: High pressure at 1024 mbs is to start building 400 nmiles off North CA on Sat (9/30) generating a local pressure gradient and north winds building from 25 kts early along North and Central CA pushing up to 30 kts over North CA later with raw windswell on the increase. Sunday the gradient is to hold but with the focus lifting north some with 30 kts north winds over North CA and 25 kts down to Pt Conception but 150 nmiles off the coast there. Windswell building and raw. The gradient is to build even more on Mon (10/2) with 35 kt north winds over nearshore waters near Pt Arena and 25 kts down to Pt Conception with windswell up some and still raw.
For windswell relative to Hawaii: East trades are to remain below the 15 kt threshold east of the Islands through Fri (9/29) offering no support for windswell production. But by Sat (9/30) high pressure is to start building off of California and starting to produce east winds at 15 kts in a pocket about 300 nmiles east of the Big Island continuing through Mon (10/2). Very limited support for east windswell radiating into exposed east facing shores of the Hawaiian Islands.
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 (9/28) a weak pressure and wind pattern was in control of California nearshore waters. Friday (9/29) weak high pressure is to start building well west of Central CA with north winds building to 15 kts later over all North and Central CA nearshore waters. North winds are to again start building Sat AM (9/30) as high pressure builds to 1024 mbs just 400 nmiles off Cape Mendocino at 20-25 kts from Cape Mendocino to Pt Conception pushing near 30 kts over North CA. The gradient is to build in coverage Sunday with 30 kt north winds from Cape Mendocino southward to Pt Reyes nearshore and 25 kt north winds 100 miles off the coast down to Pt Conception with 15 kt north winds nearshore. Monday the gradient and north winds are to hold if not build to 35 kts over Pt Arena and 25 kt north winds down to Pismo Beach over nearshore waters. Tuesday (10/3) the gradient is to relax some but still producing 25 kts north winds from the Oregon boarder south to 125 nmiles off Pt Conception and a weak wind pattern nearshore from San Francisco southward mid-morning. Wednesday the gradient is to be fading with north winds 15-20 kt north winds are to be in pockets over North CA and off the coast of Central CA but generally light nearshore. Thursday a new high pressure core is to be building into the Gulf at 1036 mbs with north winds 15-20 kts over North CA but less nearshore but rebuilding as the high pushes east in the evening at 25+ kts over North CA.
On Thursday (9/28) swell from the South Pacific was starting to radiate northeast towards California and Hawaii (see South Pacific Gale below).
Over the next 72 hours an improving picture is forecast.
South Pacific Gale
On Wed AM (9/27) a gale started building southeast of New Zealand with winds 40-45 kts from the southwest getting traction on the oceans surface with seas building from 32 ft at 60S 179W and north of the Ross Ice Shelf. In the evening evening the gale built while tracking east with a solid fetch of 45 kt southwest winds and seas up to 38 ft at 59.5S 165W aimed at the US West Coast well with sideband energy to Hawaii. Fetch started lifting north Thurs AM (9/28) with 40-45 kt south to southwest winds building in coverage with 36 ft seas over a solid area at 54.5S 150.5W and lifting northeast. In the evening a solid fetch of south winds is to be building at 40 kts over a 1200 nmiles fetch area with 35 ft seas at 50S 142W aimed at the US West Coast down into Peru. Fetch is to fade and lifting north Fri AM (9/29) at 40 kts with 35 ft seas at 45S 136W with a small core at 36 ft at 53S 132W. Fetch is to be fading in the evening from 35 kts from the south and still lifting north with seas fading from 34 ft at 42S 132W. Sat AM (9/30) residual 30 kt south fetch is to be dissipating with seas fading from 30 ft way up at 37S 130W. Solid southerly swell is possible from the US West Coast down into Mexico if all goes as forecast. Limited sideband swell possible for Hawaii.
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 groundswell producing weather system are forecast over the North Pacific.
For California high pressure is to continue off the North CA coast on Tues (10/3) with a broad area of 25 kts north winds but starting to pull away from the coast some. Wednesday the gradient is to pulse again with north winds 25-30 kts early but an eddy flow setting up nearshore over Central CA with windswell still solid and cleaner. The gradient is to start fading on Thurs (10/5) from 15-20 kts and moving west from the coast with windswell fading out and local conditions improving early, but then new high pressure is to be moving into the Eastern Gulf at 1036 mbs ridging towards the North CA Coast with north winds back to 25 kts late and windswell heading up.
For Hawaii trades are to be start building in coverage on Tues (10/3) as high pressure builds off California with east winds developing more in the highs south quadrant almost near continuous from California to a point 200 nmiles east of the Big Island. Continuous coverage at 15 kts is expected on Wed AM (10/4) with windswell increasing in size and then heading up more on Thurs (10/5) as winds build in the fetch to 20 kts continuously and moving within close proximity of Hawaii. Improving odds for raw east windswell is possible.
Beyond 72 hours there's also some suggestions of another small gale developing under New Zealand on Mon (10/2) with 40 kts southwest winds and 32 ft seas at 54S 170E. Something to monitor.
More details to follow...
Subsurface Cool Pool Erupting in Equatorial East Pacific
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 (9/27) the 5 day average indicated east winds were over the entire equatorial Pacific and strong over the Kelvin Wave Generation Area. Anomalies were neutral over the East Pacific but moderate easterly over the entire KWGA.
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): (9/28) strong east anomalies were modeled over the core of the KWGA. East anomalies are to hold strong through 9/29 then fading to moderate and holding through the end of the model run on 10/5. This is not the Inactive Phase of the MJO, but is a full pulse of La Nina completely squashing the MJO. This is not conducive to storm development in the greater Pacific Basin.
Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East
Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:
OLR Models: As of 9/27 a neutral MJO pattern was in control of the KWGA. The statistical model depicts a dead neutral pattern holding for the next 2 weeks. The dynamic model depicts the same thing but with a weak Inactive/Dry pattern trying to develop in the far West Pacific the last 5 days of the model run.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (9/28) The ECMF model depicts the Active Phase of the MJO weak and incoherent and is forecast to stay that way. The GEFS model suggests it building over the Atlantic 10 days out.
40 day Upper Level Model: (9/28) This model depicts a weak Inactive/Dry Phase over the Central and East Pacific and it's to track east into Central America on 10/13. A dead neutral pattern is to take hold thereafter in the west on 10/11 holding through the end of the model run on 11/7. This model runs about 2 weeks ahead of what happens at the surface.
CFS Model - 3 month (850 mb wind): (9/28) This model is trying to spin up after crashing on 9/18. It depicts a strong version of the Inactive/Dry Phase of the MJO building over the KWGA with the Active Phase moving east and out of the KWGA. Neutral anomalies are indicated over the far West Pacific (that is not true). Weak east anomalies are to build as the Inactive Phase tracks east over the West Pacific through 10/17. After that a very weak pattern is forecast through 11/1 with weak east wind anomalies forecast. After that the the Active Phase builds 11/4 with weak to modest west anomalies developing and holding control holding through 11/25, fading with a weak Inactive Phase building with west anomalies still in control through the end of the model run on 12/25. The low pass filter indicates a very weak La Nina signal is in control of the KWGA and is to hold till 10/28, then building in coverage but quickly drifting east and out of the KWGA by the end of November while a El Nino like signal shifting from the Indian Ocean strongly east into and covering the KWGA by 12/25. There's some sense the La Nina pattern is to start shifting east early November entirely east of the dateline by late December. This is consistent with other data. Best guess is a very weak directionless and low energy weather pattern biased towards La Nina redeveloping in Fall of 2017 holding into December, then vaporizing in March with a neutral ENSO signal developing. It will take about 5+ years for the Pacific to recharge from the 2014-16 El Nino before another El Nino develops.
CFSv2 3 month forecast for 850 mb winds, MJO, Rossby etc
Subsurface Waters Temps
TAO Array: (9/28) 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 had fallen to 29 degs centered at 160E. The 28 deg isotherm line is steady at 170W. The 24 deg isotherm is stable at 125W today but shallow at 60 meters deep at 140W. Anomaly wise a clear change is present in the East Pacific with warm water gone and instead neutral to weakly negative +0.0 to -1.0 degs at the surface and up to -2.0 degs at depth at 140W indicative of La Nina. Warm anomalies are isolated to the West Pacific at +1.0 degrees down to 100 meters deep with the dividing line between cool and warm at 168W. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 9/20 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 erupting to the surface near the Galapagos 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: (9/20) Negative anomalies are in control at -5 cms from 170W to Ecuador with a large pocket of -10 cm anomalies present between 110W-160W and a cooler pocket at -10 cm at 135W 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: (9/27) The latest images (1.2 3.4) indicate a clear cold pattern has developed. Upwelling is strong nearshore along Peru and Ecuador and tracking northwest continuing in density over the Galapagos and flowing steadily west from there on the equator out to 100W, then weakening slowly 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 (9/27): A neutral temperature trend is along Peru off Ecuador and the Galapagos. West of there on the equator equal sized alternating cold and warm pockets are indicated out to 130W.
Hi-res Overview: (9/27) A clear La Nina cool stream is present starting off Southern Chile pushing north up Peru and building, then turning northwest off Ecuador peaking while tracking west from the Galapagos to 110W, then moderating and continuing to the dateline. This pattern outlines the South Pacific high pressure system well which is assumed to be stronger than normal. It is assumed cool water at depth is erupting to the surface with the breach point near the Galapagos. 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: (9/28) Today's temps were steady at -1.372, down markedly from 2 weeks ago.
Nino 3.4 Daily CDAS Index Temps: Today (9/28) temps are rising slowly at -0.415, having bottomed out on 9/12 at -0.898. The long arc suggests a clear downward trend.
CFSV2 Forecast for Nino3.4 SST Anomalies
SST Anomaly Projections
CFSv2 Uncorrected Data (9/28) The forecast has temps falling steadily from -0.6 degs early Sept to -0.7 in early Oct and down from there to -1.55 in Dec. Then the trend is to turn upwards rebounding to -0.35 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 (9/26) continues to suggest a moderate La Nina cool pattern building on the equator off the Galapagos in Oct and building steadily into Feb 2018. A full on La Nina is setting up.
IRI Consensus Plume: The mid-Sept Plume updated (9/19) depicts temps forecast to fade -0.4 degs in Sept, and fading to -0.6 degs in Nov, slowly rising from there turning neutral in April 2018. See chart here - link. The NMME consensus for Sept average indicates temps -0.75 degrees below normal Nov-Jan 2018 then rebounding to normal in April. It sure looks like La Nina is on the way. The CFSv2 is the outlier, colder than all other models. Still, given all the oceanic signals, we a tending to side with it more than the other models.
Atmospheric Coupling (Indicating the presence of El Nino in the atmosphere driven by the ocean):
Southern Oscillation Index (9/28): The daily index was positive again at 11.53. The 30 day average was rising at 4.76. The 90 day average was rising at +5.21. This suggests a turn towards La Nina.
ESPI (like SOI but based on satellite confirmed precipitation. Positive is good, negative bad): (9/28) The index was falling again at -1.44 (up from -2.20 on 6/28/17 but still suggesting a turn towards La Nina). Last years La Nina reached -1.94 on 11/2/16. We're deeper than that now. 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