Tuesday, December 13, 2016
- Buoy 106 (Waimea): Seas were 6.2 ft @ 9.1 secs with swell 3.0 ft @ 13.4 secs from 320 degrees.
- Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 2.0 ft @ 10.8 secs with swell 1.1 ft @ 10.3 secs from 273 degrees. Wind northwest 4-8 kts. Water temperature 62.1 degs. At Ventura swell was 1.0 ft @ 10.5 secs from 269 degrees. At Santa Monica swell was 0.8 ft @ 11.6 secs from 265 degrees. At Camp Pendleton swell was 0.6 ft @ 12.4 secs from 244 degrees. Southward at Pt Loma swell was 1.3 ft @ 9.7 secs from 271 degrees.
- Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 5.6 ft @ 9.9 secs with swell 4.3 ft @ 9.4 secs from 309 degrees. Wind south 4 kts at the buoy. Water temp 54.5 degs.
46006, 46059, Hi-res Buoys
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 (12/13) in North and Central CA minimal background swell was producing waves in the chest to shoulder high range on the sets and clean early at top breaks. At Santa Cruz the same swell was producing waves in the knee to thigh high range and clean and slow. In Southern California up north surf was flat and clean. It was unrideable. Down in North Orange Co set waves were maybe knee high and clean breaking on the beach. In San Diego surf was knee high and clean. Hawaii's North Shore was getting limited swell from the Kuril Islands at chest high on the sets at top breaks and a bit warbled early. The South Shore was flat and clean. The East Shore was getting east windswell with waves waist high or so and heavily textured from light north winds.
See QuikCASTs for the 5 day surf overview or read below for the detailed view.
Swell from a modest gale that developed off the Central Kuril's on Fri (12/9) with 31 ft seas aimed east was poised to hit Hawaii. A broader one pushed off the Southern Kurils on Sun-Tues (12/13) with 22-23 ft seas aimed east and reaching the dateline favoring Hawaii. looking beyond the models have improved the forecast suggesting the storm pattern might improve some. A storm is forecast Wed-Thurs (12/15) with 41 ft seas over the Northern Dateline region aimed northeast. Another gale is to develop in the extreme North Gulf of Alaska Sun-Tues (12/20) producing up to 40 ft seas aimed east. The jetstream is forecast to become consolidated a week out with the Inactive Phase of the MJO fading and a weak version of the Active Phase moving into the West Pacific long term.
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis.cgius forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
On Tuesday AM (12/13) the jetstream was reasonably consolidated pushing east off Japan with winds 150-160 kts in two modest pockets and forming a trough well off Kamchatka and almost to the north dateline region providing support for gale development. The jet .cgiit roughly at 160W with the northern branch tracking north into the North Bering Sea and the southern branch falling south over Hawaii, still forming a large hole just east of there. At 140W the two streams merged over the Eastern Gulf with winds to 130 kts tracking east and pushing inland over North Oregon. Only the trough over the Northwest PAcific held any support for gale development. Over the next 72 hours the dateline trough is to is to start getting pinched on Wed (12/14) and fading but wind energy is to build significantly to 160 kts tracking consolidated to the east-northeast from South Japan to the dateline and building, up to 180 kts on Fri (12/16) holding the .cgiit point at 160W. A trough from it is to be pushing through the Bering Sea. Beyond 72 hours wind energy is to continue tracking east pushing into the Gulf of Alaska by Sun (12/18) with winds still 180 kts forming a broad trough tracking over the Aleutian Islands with the .cgiit point finally starting to move east to about 150W and then pushing into British Columbia by early Tues (12/20). At that time a consolidated flow is to in control tracking over Japan across the dateline and then pushing into the Pacific Northwest on Tues (12/20) but with wind speeds fading some. A broad gentle trough is to be setting up over the dateline.
On Tuesday (12/13) a small swell from a gale that pushed off the Kuril Islands was fading in Hawaii (see Small Kuril Storm below). And another small swell was pushing towards Hawaii from a broad gale that tracked off the Kurils to the dateline (see West Pacific Gale below). Also northeast windswell is in the mix for the Islands. Beyond a more solid system is forecast developing off the Kurils tracking northeast (See Solid Kuril Storm below)
Over the next 72 hours a cutoff low developed 750 nmiles northeast of the Islands Mon PM (12/12) producing 35 kt northeast winds and seas to 20 ft at 31N 151W. 30 kt northeast winds to hold Tues AM (12/13) with 18 ft seas at 30N 150W targeting Hawaii well. More of the same is forecast in the evening but with seas fading from 18 ft at 30N 147W and the low sinking south some. The low is to slowly fade through the day Wed (12/14) still producing limited northeasterly windswell.
Hawaii: Expect windswell arrival on Wed AM (12/14) building to 5 ft @ 11-12 secs (5.5-6.0 ft) holding through the day. Swell fading on Thurs (12/15) fading from 4.5 ft @ 11 secs (5.0 ft). Swell Direction: 20-30 degrees.
Another cutoff low is to form 450 nmiles north of Hawaii on Thurs AM (12/15) producing 30 kt north winds with seas building. In the evening fetch is to build to near 40 kts over a tiny area aimed directly at the Islands with seas building from 22 ft at 28N 162W (300 nmiles NNW of Kauai). Fetch to hold into Fri AM (12/16) at 35 kts with seas 18-20 ft at 29N 160W. This system is to remain stationary fading slowly into Sat AM (12/17) with seas slowly fading to 17 ft at 28N 161W. Large raw local north windswell possible for Maui and the Islands west of there.
Small Kuril Storm
On Thursday AM (12/8) another gale organized just off North Japan with a small area of 35 kt north winds developing. In the evening the gale lifted northeast while building to storm status with a tiny area of 55 kt northwest winds starting to get traction on the oceans surface with seas building to 26 ft over a tiny area at 42N 163E. On Fri AM (12/9) fetch was fading fast from 40 kts from the northwest while lifting northeast with 33 ft seas at 42N 169E (313 degs HI). Fetch faded from 40 kts in the evening with seas fading from 27 ft over a small area at 44N 174E (320 degs HI). This system dissipated Sat AM (12/10). Limited swell for Hawaii is possible.
Hawaii: Swell fading Tues AM (12/13) from 2.8 ft @ 13-14 secs early (3.5-4.0 ft). Swell Direction: 313 degrees
West Pacific Gale
A gale developed just off the Southern Kuril Islands on Saturday PM (12/10) with 40 kt northwest winds starting to get traction on the oceans surface there with seas building from 24 ft at 44N 153E. On Sun AM (12/11) 35-40 kt west winds continued making some slightly eastward progress with seas building in coverage at 25 ft at 44N 157E. In the evening fetch faded from 30-35 kts with seas 20 ft at 43N 160E aimed east well at Hawaii. On Mon AM (12/12) 30- 35 kt northwest winds redeveloped over a broader area with seas building to 23 ft back at 43N 158E. 30-35 kt northwest winds tracked east in the evening over a broad area with seas still 23 ft at 40N 167E targeting Hawaii well. Fetch was holding while lifting northeast at 30 kts Tues AM (12/13) with seas holding at 23 ft at 42N 175E targeting Hawaii well. Fetch is to lift north in the evening with the core of the gale in the Bering Sea and 35 kt northwest winds south of the Western Aleutians with seas fading from 22 ft over a broad area at 45N 175E. This fetch is to move fully into the Bering Sea after that. Small but long lasting swell possible for Hawaii.
Hawaii: Expect swell arrival on Thurs (12/15) at sunset building to 2.1 ft @ 15 secs (3.0 ft). Fri (12/16) swell is to build through the day to 8.2 @ 14 secs later (11.0 ft). Swell fading Sat (12/17) from 4.5 ft @ 13 secs (5.5-6.0 ft). Residuals on Sun (12/18) fading from 2.8 ft @ 12 secs (3.0-3.5 ft). Swell Direction: 320-325 degrees
Solid Kuril Storm
A small storm is forecast developing well off the Kurils on Wed PM (12/14) tracking northeast with winds 45 kt from the west and seas building to 30 ft at 44N 163E. On Thurs AM (12/15) winds to build to 55 kt from the west but positioned just south of the Central Aleutians on the Dateline with 44 ft seas at 49N 172E targeting mainly the Pacific Northwest and the Central Aleutians. Seas to build to 42 ft at 18Z at 50.5N 178E as the fetch moves over the Aleutians. In the evening fetch is to be fading from 50 kt from the west with seas fading from 45 ft at 51N 179E targeting mainly the Pacific Northwest. This system is to fade out after that Fri AM (12/160 with winds dropping from 40 kts just south of the Aleutians and seas fading from 35 ft at 51N 175W. Limited sideband swell is possible for Hawaii with better energy tracking towards the Pacific Northwest.
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
No tropical systems of interest are being monitored.
California Nearshore Forecast
On Tuesday AM (12/13) weak high pressure was off Southern CA with low pressure building off Central CA producing weak east winds at 5-10 kts early but south winds are to be building in mid-day at 10-15 kts for Central CA. Rain developing late afternoon from Monterey Bay northward. 3 inches of snow for Tahoe early evening. On Wednesday the low is to move up to the North CA coast with south winds 15 kt from Monterey Bay northward and up to 25 kts near Pt Arena. Rain from the north side of the Golden Gate northward and heavy for Cape Mendocino. Snow for higher elevations of Tahoe. A stronger and new low pressure system is to be moving onshore later Thurs (12/15) focused on San Francisco with south winds 25 kts south of the low and northeast 25 kts north of there. Heavy rain from San Francisco northward and precip down to San Diego. Snow starting for Tahoe at noon building into the evening and heavy after midnight. 38 inches of accumulation for Kirkwood by Fri AM, 24 inches for Squaw and 34 inches for Mammoth. Friday (12/16) high pressure moves in with north winds 20 kts down into even Southern CA. Snow showers fading for the Sierras with maybe 1 inch more accumulation. North winds continue on Saturday (12/17) at 20 kts but Southern CA becoming protected. High pressure is to hold on Sunday and start ridging into Oregon with winds north-northeast 10-15 kts from North and Central CA fading to 10-15 kts on Monday fading to calm on Tuesday.
No swell of interest was in the water and no swell producing fetch of interest was occurring.
Over the next 72 hours no swell producing fetch of interest is forecast.
South Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
Marine weather and forecast conditions 3-10 days into the future
Another gale is forecast developing Sat AM (12/17) in the Northwestern Gulf of Alaska with 45 kt northwest winds and seas on the increase. In the evening winds are to be building to 55 kt from the west just south of the Eastern Aleutians with 36 ft seas at 50N 168W over a modest sized area. On Sun AM (12/18) fetch is to move over the east most Aleutians at 45 kts with seas fading from 35 ft at 54N 160W.
Another small system is to be right behind tracking through the Western Gulf Sun PM (12/18) with 45 kt west winds over a small area with seas 32 ft at 43N 163W. On Mon AM (12/19) the gale is to be racing east with 45 kt west winds positioned in the Northern Gulf with seas 31 ft at 49N 148W. It is to finally stall in the evening with 50 kt wes winds just off north Canada with seas 40 ft at 54N 141W and east of the NCal swell window.
Another smaller system is to be behind it.
Beyond 72 hours no swell producing fetch of interest is forecast.
More details to follow...
Inactive MJO Fading
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 equatorial Pacific it is in control of, and in it's Active Phase by slack if not an outright reversal of trade winds and enhanced 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.cgianet, 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 help support the formation of El Nino. During the Inactive Phase the jet stream tends to .cgiit resulting in high pressure and less potential for swell producing storm development. 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: The 2014-2016 El Nino is gone. La Nina has developing but generally weak.
KWGA/Equatorial Surface Wind Analysis & Short-term Forecast:
Analysis (TAO Buoys): As of Monday (12/12) east winds were over the entire equatorial Pacific but dead calm over the Kelvin Wave Generation Area. The KWGA is on the equator from 135E-170W and 5 degs north and south. Anomalies were weak over the equatorial East Pacific but weak westerly over the KWGA. This is a very good turn of events. Previously east anomalies were attributable to La Nina and are modulated by the MJO.
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): Modest east anomalies were modeled over the KWGA. The forecast suggests west anomalies are to build starting 12/17 at modest strength holding through 12/20 if not building some. The first real easterly wind burst from this La Nina started on 9/23 and continued into 12/13, but might be coming to an end. Still, to be conservative we are thinking it will not end anytime soon but rather will just pulse, stronger at times, then weaker, attributable to La Nina, and modulated by the MJO.
Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East
Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:
OLR Models: As of 12/12 no MJO signal was present in the equatorial Pacific. The statistic model projects a weak Active Phase developing in the West Pacific slowly moving east 15 days out but still not reaching the dateline. The dynamic model depicts much the same outcome.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (12/13) The ECMF model indicates the Active Phase of the MJO was weak and indiscernible and is to hold that way until 1 week from now, when it is to weakly appear in the West Pacific. GEFS model depicts the same thing.
40 day Upper Level Model: (12/13) This model depicts a modest Active Phase of the MJO moving into the West Pacific and it is to move east into Central America while weakening on 1/2. A stronger Inactive Phase is to develop behind that in the West Pacific on 12/30 tracking east to the East Pacific 1/22. This model runs about 2 weeks ahead of what happens at the surface.
CFS Model - 3 month (850 mb wind): (12/13) This model depicts a weak Inactive MJO signal over the east KWGA/dateline with neutral anomalies in control. It is to fade on 12/29 with the Active Phase building in the West Pacific moving to the dateline through 1/22. A weak inactive Phase is to follow 1/23-1/30 with the Active Phase behind that. No solid east or west anomalies are forecast. Overall the MJO signal is projected to be very weak and this pattern is to hold as we move deeper into Winter. We suspect La Nina is having the effect of dampening the MJO, and producing weak east anomalies in the KWGA but not producing an outright bias towards the Inactive Phase of the MJO. Likewise the MJO is serving to dampen the effects of La Nina when in the Active Phase.
CFSv2 3 month forecast for 850 mb winds, MJO, Rossby etc
Subsurface Waters Temps
TAO Array: (12/13) Actual temperatures remain stratified with warm water in the West Pacific at 30+ degs C (reaching east to 165E) and the 28 deg isotherm line reaching to 176W and steep, suggesting a hard break between warm water in the west and cool water in the east at depth. This is expected with La Nina in.cgiay. Anomaly wise, warm anomalies at +1-2 degs rule from the West Pacific to 180W. Neutral to weak negative anomalies are east of there to Ecuador at no more than -1.0 degs, and static at depth. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 12/9 depicts this pocket of of cooler water -1-2 degs below normal in the East Pacific and getting weaker. La Nina is in control of the ocean at depth, but not strongly so and weakening.
Sea Level Anomalies: (12/9) Negative anomalies at -5.0 cm with a few small pockets to -10 cm rule the equatorial Pacific from Ecuador to the dateline and 5 degs north and south. This is an upgrade from months past where anomalies were up to -10 cm and suggest La Nina is loosing it's grip 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: (12/12) The latest images (1.2 3.4) indicate a thin cool pool of water along the immediate coast of Peru but it is contained there migrating nowhere. Warm water is developing solidly just off the coast there and reaching up into Ecuador and the Galapagos. A cool bubble that reached up to Costa Rica and out to the Galapagos is retreating fast with warmer pockets developing all through it and almost loosing identity. A thin cool stream was in.cgiay from the Galapagos out to 110W, much smaller in coverage than weeks past. A broader area of cool temperatures remains from 120W westward to 160W but appears to be fading. La Nina is loosing some control of surface waters of the Central Pacific and now also the East Pacific.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (12/12): A warming trend continues along Chile and Peru and is reaching up to Ecuador strongly and onward to Costa Rica. Warming holds out to 100W with no cool pockets remaining. West of there a neutral trend was exhibited with pockets of warming and cooling waters present but much weaker than in months past. The cool pattern in the Central Pacific is nowhere near as prominent as weeks and months previous and is weakening strongly in the East.
Hi-res Overview: (12/12) A La Nina cool pool is present over the equator from the Galapagos west to 170E and broadest south of Hawaii. La Nina is holding coverage in the west and loosing coverage in the east.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (12/13) Today's temps are building to +0.421.
Nino 3.4 Daily CDAS Index Temps: Today (12/13) temps were falling at -0.607 coming off a recent peak on 12/6. Temps are oscillating warm to cool and back in 2-3 week cycles within a range from -0.3 to -1.0 degs.
CFSV2 Forecast for Nino3.4 SST Anomalies
SST Anomaly Projections
CFSv2 Uncorrected Data (12/13) This model suggests La Nina held from July thru Oct in the -0.55 deg range rising to -0.5 on Nov 1 and up to 0.25 degs on Dec 1. The forecast has temps steady from here forward with temps at -0.25 till May, then slowly rising from there to neutral in August. This indicates the peak of La Nina is over and a return to normal temps is expected in the summer.
IRI Consensus Plume: The mid-Nov Plume depicts temps have reached their peak minimum at -0.6. A slow increase in temps is forecast thereafter to -0.4 in Jan 2017 and neutral in April, starting to turn weakly positive after that to +0.1 in June. This is consistent with last months forecast and barely in La Nina territory. See chart here - link.
Atmospheric Deco.cgiing (Indicating the presence of El Nino in the atmosphere driven by the ocean):
Southern Oscillation Index (12/13): The daily index was falling some at -2.91 today. It was well negative for most of October, then turned weakly positive for most of Nov other than a deep negative dive near 11/17 before returning to neutral. The 30 day average was rising slightly at -0.77. This suggests the Inactive Phase of the MJO is in control now driving the SOI upwards. The 90 day average was falling at +1.41. La Nina is trying to hang on, but not strongly.
ESPI (like SOI but based on satellite confirmed precipitation. Positive is good, negative bad): (12/13) Today's value was falling more at -1.21. A peak low was reached on 11/2 at -1.94 the deepest it had been so far in this event suggesting La Nina was getting better established. But that is changing, with it moving generally upwards (a better direction) and suggesting La Nina is fading.
Pacific Decadal Oscillation: The PDO continues positive, though much weaker lately (as expected with La Nina setting in).
Per NOAAs index recent values (Jan-Oct) are: +0.79, +1.23, +1.55, +1.59, +1.42, +0.76, +0.12 then falling to -0.90, -1.09 and -0.88 in Oct.
The Washington EDU index (Jan-Oct) are: +1.53, +1.75, +2.40, +2.62, +2.35, +2.03, +1.25 +0.52, +0.45 and +0.56 in Oct.
The PDO turned from a 6 year negative run (2008-2013) in early 2014 and has been positive until Aug 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 suggests that could be a real possibility. We've been in the negative phase since 1998 through at least 2013 (15 years). 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