to the newest component of the Stormsurf suite of surf weather forecasting
tools: MWx Pro or short for 'Marine Weather
- Professional'. It is a pro-grade set of tools
designed to gain quick access to current and forecast
marine weather conditions.
Pro tools can be found on the homepage of our site. Upon
entering Stormsurf.com you are greeted with a picture of the
planet, with 57 labeled 'hot spots' that that when selected,
provide detailed content for that area of the planet. There are
two types of hot spots, little white ones and larger ones highlighted
in red. The little ones drill-down to a specific stretch of coast
(like Central Florida East Coast, or Great Britain etc). We call
these 'locals'. Clearly not every stretch of beach on the planet
is represented. We made a business decision to select those area
that have the highest instance for significant traffic. The larger
red ones cover large areas of water, like the North Pacific,
South Atlantic etc. We call these 'hemispherics'. For an area
not covered by a local report, use the hemispheric hot-spots.
They are intended to provide a wide-angle view of a swell producing
area, but in a pinch can be used to provide a good sense of local
conditions too. Now let's take a look at the 'big picture'.
Menu: Mouse over the tabs at the top of the image to view
global wave and weather conations. Or click either the white
or red hotspots to dig into Local or Hemispheric data.
the home page there are also 6 tabs which run across the top
of the hotspot/globe image in the middle of the page. Each tab
focuses on providing a quick-look low-bandwidth image based view
of a specific element of the planets marine weather. Included
are: Significant Wave Height (labeled 'Sea'), Peak Swell Period,
Wind Speed and Direction, Surf (the height of waves as they break
onshore, be it a continent or offshore island), Atmospheric Surface
Pressure and Wind, and a Jetstream chart for gathering an understanding
of how the upper level of the atmosphere contributes to gale
and storm formation at the oceans surface. For a detailed discussion
on the production and underlying science of these images go here:
text link in the tab connects to a Macromedia Flash animation
(free Flash Player plugin required), similar to any other found
on Stormsurf. The animations are built to provide a quick overview,
so are in 12 hour increments (rather than the usual 6 hr
increments). The usual 'control panel' is provided in the upper
left hand corner of each animation to stop, step or reverse
the playback. In the tab there is also an icon to the right
of each text link, which in-turn links to the 00hr image in
the animation. It's provided so you can copy and send it
to a friend (on a MS Windows machine just right click on the
image and select the 'copy' image - then paste it to your hard
drive or desktop).
return to the main menu (the picture of the planet with a wave
breaking over it and white/red hotspots),
just click on the red 'Menu' button centered just above the 'tabs'.
pages: Click on the hotspot
chart to activate it, then mouse over
any of the hot spots. A dialogue box should appear which
describes the area bounded by the hot spot (works for all
browsers). There is some overlap between regions, so if the
area you're interested in is on the periphery of one, you
can try a nearby neighbor to possibly get more info. Click
on the hotspot of your choice, and a new page is displayed.
All the 'local' pages are laid out the same, but
the content (number of icons) changes based on available
data. For example, some areas have buoys, some have
buoy forecasts, while others don't. The overriding goal was
to provide sufficient detail to make solid educated decisions
regarding surf conditions, but not provide so much detail
as to completely overwhelm the reader. Still, we probably
provided a little too many options for some regions. The
mainland US has a wealth of information available which should
come as no surprise since the vast majority of meteorological
data provided to the global weather community comes from
government funded projects out of the States. Likewise the
areas of the Indian Ocean have far less meteorological options.
in every instance we've tried to provide the most we can
within reason and based on availability.
Note: To return to the 'home page' at any time, just click
on the rotating globe located on the upper left hand corner of
every page in the site. You can use the Back button on your browser
too, but you might have to go back through alot of data (depending
on how many options you viewed on that page) before returning
to the home page/main menu.
Menu: Mouse over the tabs at the top of the image
to view animated wave and weather conditions. For specialized
views, try the icons at the bottom of the page.
you click on one of the larger red hotspots a new page is displayed
depicted either the North or South Atlantic, Pacific or the Indian
Ocean. Once loaded, the default image displayed is of
00hr Surf Height. Across the top of the frame in
the center of the page are 6 tabs, each providing an option to
view oceanic or atmospheric imagery. The same convention
is used here as on the global chart on the home page, namely
text links for navigating to animations and icons for getting
to the 00hr still images for archiving. All the same variables
(Significant Wave Height, Swell Period, SLP/Wind, etc) are provided
here as on the global view, but this time with full 6 hr increment
resolution. In addition a second row of 6 tabs is provided directly
below the first provided access to additional information. A
hindcast animation (a compilation of all the 00hr images for
the past 180 hours in 6 hr increments) is provided for Significant
Wave Height and Surface Pressure and Winds. These are most helpful
for understanding the conditions that generated swell which is
already in the water either hitting your break or moving towards
a target of interest. In addition a precipitation forecast animation
and 06hr image is provided to get a sense of whether it will
be raining (or snowing) upon swell arrival. Notice prescription
is overlayed on a topographic view of land. We're hoping to
dramatically upgrade that presentation shortly.
Below the main
image frame is another set of 6 icons/options. The first 3 are
what we called filtered wavemodels, in that we are filtering
out some of the data to provide a clearer view of significant
activity. The overriding filter is set to depict conditions capable
of generating a 13 second period swell. Those conditions generally
are, Significant Seas of 17 feet or greater, Swell Period 13
secs or greater, and Wind 35 kts or greater. Click the animations
and compare to the unfiltered equivalent animations from the
top of frame and the effect is apparent. Finally three
Orthographic projection animation of the unfiltered Sea, Period
and Wind data is provided. The Orthographic projection eliminates
the distortion (illusion of things being larger than they really
are) typical found in the north and south as compared to the
standard Mercator projections. Use of these projections significantly
reduces ones need to mentally superimpose great circles to sense
where a swell is heading.
Menu: Mouse over the tabs at the top of the image to view
animated wave and weather conditions, or click the links on
the second row of tabs to view forecasts for a specific location.
To drill down into any specific location,
try the icons at the bottom of the page.
are the meat of our new addition to Stormsurf. If you click
on one of the small white hotspots off our homepage, a new page
is displayed depicted information for the region of your choosing.
It is laid out much the same as the hemispherics with default image
being 00hr Surf Height. Across the top of the frame is the standard
6 tabs providing options to view oceanic and atmospheric imagery
for the region. All the same variables (Significant Wave Height,
Swell Period, SLP/Wind, etc) are provided. In addition the following
new data is provided:
Forecasts The second row of 6 tabs provides access to automated
Text Forecasts for select locations within the region. This is
all new content not found anywhere else in the site. The forecast
is in 6 hour increments from the current time out 180 hours (7.5
days). Time is in GMT (click here and
go to the bottom of the page for info on converting GMT to local
time). Included for each time period is: Date/time, estimated
surf height, swell height, significant sea height, period, direction
(direction the swell is coming from using compass headings i.e.
N = 0 degrees, E = 90 degrees, S = 180 degrees and W = 270 degrees),
wind direction and speed. This is a simple text based tool for
getting a sense of what the surf will be like for breaks in the
location 1 week in advance. This data all comes directly off
the Wavewatch 3 wavemodel grib file. A discussion about what
a 'grib' is can be found in the link above too. Wherever possible
a regional grib file is used as the source due to it's higher
resolution (0.25 X 0.25) including in the West: Central America
up to Canada and out to Hawaii, and in the East: Northern Brazil
up to Nova Scotia including Gulf of Mexico out to the mid-Atlantic.
All other locations including Europe, South Africa, South Pacific,
Australia and the Indian Ocean use the lower resolution Global
grib (1.0 X 1.25 deg resolution). Though not as high a fidelity
as the US bound sites, it's better than nothing. The actual measurement
point is defined in the top of each text forecast and is not
right on the coast, but a little bit offshore. Site selection
was heavily based on which grib points are closest to shore.
So some heavily populated locations may be excluded because there
was no data available close to the coast. Use the link above
(in this paragraph) to get a sense of how much data is missing
near the coast from any of the Wavewatch 3 wave products. Newer
versions of the model are becoming available as we write this
(10/2007) and we'll be switching over to them as time permits.
But in all these provide a good high level forecast and are a
great tool for those international locations where no buoy forecasts
are available. Also, the big advantage these have over buoy forecasts
is that they include wind forecasts.
the main image frame is another table packed with many options.
All are detailed here, though not all are present on every local
page (because not all data is available for all locations).
Animations: These are the bridge between
the locals animation and the Hemispherics, providing a wider
view of the area but not all encompassing. Different perspectives
have their advantages (and disadvantages). Wherever possible
the usual 6 oceanic and Atmospheric variables are displayed
(Sea, Period, Wind etc.). Jetstream is not included but replaced
by precipitation as the jetstream becomes nearly irrelevant
at the micro level where precipitation becomes more of interest.
For the East Coast and Gulf of Mexico some
filtered animations are provided focusing on the 9 &
13 secs period intervals.
icons link you to current and recent buoy
observations. This is a great way to determine what the surf
is doing now and to look back and see what it has done in the
past 12-72 hours. Buoy name and numbers are assigned by the
National Buoy Data Center (NDBC) and Coastal Data Information
Program (CDIP). The data provided is a subset of that included
on our detailed buoypages.
Up to three
icons are provided depending on the location of the buoy. More
info concerning the buoys can be found here.
text view of current weather conditions at the buoys is available.
This is actually the display we will be using in our yet
to be released cell phone buoy service. Included is the
Buoy ID, Significant Wave Height (Sea Hght), our custom
spectral decoding of the primary swell height (Swell Hght),
the period of that swell (Swell Per), estimated surf height
based on the primary swell height and period (Surf Hght),
the direction the wind is blowing from (in degrees: N
= 0, E = 90, S = 180, W = 270 etc), and other pertinent
self-explanatory information. If you look carefully, a
link is provided at the bottom of the display 'prev'
to enable you to go back in-time in one hour increments
a total of 12 hours. You can also step forward to return
to the present using the 'next' option. If you're sharp
you can view the proprieties of this page then load that
URL into your web enabled cell phone browser to view any
NOAA or CDIP buoy on the go. We'll eventually build user
Height History: Clicking the next icon in the buoy section
displays a simple bar graph of the surf height over the past
72 hours. This is the same surf height provided in the Text
Report (above). It is available only for buoys
that provide spectral data (normally limited to NOAA
and CDIP buoys, not those of non-US governments).
Density Graph: For those buoys that provide spectral
data, we display the spectral density graph found on our
detailed buoy pages. This graph provides a quick-look at
where energy spikes are concentrated across the frequency
range. Peaks in the graph represent possible swell trains.
The longer the period and higher the size, the larger the
you want to view where the buoys are located relative to
your beach, check out the 'map' link provided on the far
left-hand side of the row containing the buoy links.
Mouse over the buoys to view the Text Reports.
Buoy Forecasts: These
icons link you to graphical surf and swell forecasts (i.e.
what the surf will be in the future - not to be confused
with what it is now). This data is a product of the Wavewatch
III wave model, and therefore is subject to all the benefits
and limitations of that model. That is, it is the highest resolution
view of expected swell trains converging on a single point
(up to 5 swells at any one time). The big limitation is it
is most prevalent in the US, but not so much elsewhere.
And no wind data is provided. Hence we provide the Text Forecasts
to fill the hole. And the buoy forecasts are not always available
for every location that a physical buoy is placed. We
did our best to pair them up within reason. More details about
buoy forecasts can be found here.
Height: The first graph depicts the expected surf height
based on the interaction of swell height and period generically
scaled. As always, if there is significant shadowing from
offshore islands or drag from shallow waters, surf height
will be something less than depicted. Likewise favorable
bathymetry can produce waves higher than depicted.
Swell: This second graph depicts the high of the primary
swell (bars), it's period (dots - be sure to use the scale
on the right hand axis) and direction the swell is coming from
(see text below the bar).
Forecast - Wave and Wind Graphs: These are graphic representations
of the data presented in the Text Forecasts, for
those more graphically inclined. There are two images
available, one for Surf and the other for Wind.
The Surf image is a classic bar graph with the height depicted in
red bars scaled up the y axis and time running across the
bottom x axis (starting at present at the far left). Swell
height is superimposed in small unfilled yellow circles and
peak period is represented by the filled blue circles. Please
note that the scale for the period values runs up the right
y axis while the scale for surf and swell height runs up
the left y axis. Time is in GMT with 00Z starting at the
labeled tick marks.
The Wind image is a typical point-plot graph with wind speed (in knots)
depicted by the red dots and speed running up the y axis
while time runs across the bottom x axis (miles per hours
X 1.15 = kts). All the same conventions apply
as in the previous image. The big difference here is the
addition of a unique wind direction and speed indicator depicted
by the arrows running across the bottom of the graph. The
stronger the wind speed, the longer the arrow. The arrow
points in the direction the wind is blowing with north being
the top of the page, south the bottom, east to the right
and west to the left (just like looking at a map). So a long
arrow pointed to the lower right corner of the page
represents strong northwest winds, while a tiny arrow pointed
straight up represents light south winds. The exact speed
can be determined by reviewing the red dots. Pretty cool!
than building the tide charts ourselves, we've linked to
a very well respected educational site at the University of
South Carolina. They have a huge database of worldwide tides,
so it was an obvious choice. Tides are provided for whatever
site was nearest the location of the text/location forecasts.
In some instances outside the US you'll notice a rather wide
disparity between those locations. Tides are not available
for all locations worlds wide (sometime due to politics),
and once you start looking at the complexity of the coast you'll
see there are literally an infinite number of possible tide
measurement locations. We did the best we could with limited
resources. If you have better resource for a specific location
(that can fit in the frame and is not copyrighted) please pass
the exact URL along and we'd be happy to included it.
we provide a catch-all bin of useful information. A infrared
satellite image of the region is typically provided, sometimes
better in some locations than other. Also a Great
Circle chart (or two) is included so you can assess whether
wind energy is actually aimed towards your break. More info
can be found here: Great
Circles. Finally 'Jump To' links provide quick navigational
access to other key information buried within the site. Typically
it 'jumps up/zooms out' to a hemispheric view of your region,
or links to a QuikCAST or detailed Surf Forecast.
are proud of the addition of MWx Pro to our site
and hope you find it useful. It is intended to provide quick
access to pertinent marine weather information so you can get
what you need and move on. Not everything we offer can be found
here, so if you need more detail, just follow the links on
the navigation bar near the top of every page. If you have
any problems or find things that either don't work or don;t
make sense, please let us know and we'll get right on it. Thanks
for spending time at Stormsurf.