Tuesday, January 2, 2018
- Buoy 106 (Waimea): Seas were 5.3 ft @ 12.5 secs with swell 3.2 ft @ 13.1 secs from 319 degrees.
- Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 1.5 ft @ 15.9 secs with swell 0.9 ft @ 15.5 secs from 273 degrees. Wind at the buoy was east at 2-4 kts. Water temperature 61.0 degs. At Ventura (Buoy 111) swell was 1.1 ft @ 15.3 secs from 219 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 1.0 ft @ 15.3 secs from 232 degrees. At Camp Pendleton (043) swell was 0.8 ft @ 15.7 secs from 241 degrees. Southward at Pt Loma (191) swell was 1.4 ft @ 15.5 secs from 265 degrees.
- Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 4.5 ft @ 12.5 secs with swell 3.6 ft @ 13.0 secs from 279 degrees. Wind at the buoy was east at 4-6 kts. Water temp 57.7 degs.
See 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 Tuesday (1/2) in North and Central CA new background swell from the Western Pacific was hitting occasionally producing waves in the the head high range and clean and lined up early but inconsistent with light offshores in effect. Protected breaks were flat with rare waist high sets and clean. At Santa Cruz surf was waist to maybe chest high rarely and clean but swamped by tide and inconsistent. In Southern California up north surf was flat and clean. In North Orange Co surf was waist high on the sets and clean and breaking on the beach. South Orange Country's best breaks were flat and clean. In San Diego surf was knee high and clean and breaking on the beach. Hawaii's North Shore was getting westerly swell from the West Pacific too at head high to 1 ft overhead on the sets and clean and lined up but slow. Bigger at top breaks. The South Shore was knee to waist high and clean. The East Shore was getting northeast windswell at knee high and chopped from moderate east wind.
See QuikCASTs for the 5 day surf overview or read below for the detailed view.
On Tuesday (1/2) swell from a broad but very ill-defined system that pushed off the Southern Kuril's Tues-Wed (12/27) with 22-23 ft seas aimed east not making much easterly headway was hitting Hawaii and California. Another gale formed from the remnants of this system Sun-Mon (1/1) lifted from west of the Dateline up into the Northern Gulf producing 30-32 ft seas aimed east. That swell to hit Hawaii later today. And another gale to follow further south off Japan moving to the dateline Tues-Fri (1/5) with 32 ft seas initially fading to 20 ft later aimed east. Yet another system to follow on the Northern Dateline Sun (1/7) with 36 ft seas aimed east with remnants beyond producing 26 ft seas aimed east. But no solid well organized storms are charted.
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
On Tuesday AM (1/2) the jetstream was pushing solidly east over Japan with winds to 190 kts reaching to the dateline with winds rebuilding there to 150 kts and consolidated to 150W then splitting with the northern branch pushing northeast up into Northern Canada with the southern branch falling southeast over Hawaii then splitting again with a portion of it moving towards the equator and the rest pushing up into Southern CA. A trough was embedded in the main flow midway between Japan and the dateline offering good support for gale development. Over the next 72 hours through Fri (1/5) wind energy currently over Japan is to build east over the dateline and arching up into the Northwestern Gulf of Alaska at 160 kts with the trough moving to the Northern Dateline region offering good support for gale development there. Beyond 72 hours more of the same is forecast until Sun (1/7) when the jet is to start splitting on the dateline while wind energy builds again over Japan to 190 kts forming a trough over the Northern Dateline region Mon (1/8) offering some support for gale development. is to be holding fading in the Gulf of Alaska but a trough is supposed to be developing in the Northwestern Gulf lifting northeast into later Tues (1/2) offering some limited support for gale development but starting to pinch off on Tues (1/9) while moving into the the Northwestern Gulf of Alaska. At that time winds to still be 190 kts pushing off Japan while and extremely muddled flow is in place from 165W into the US West Coast. The main flow is to be undulating north of HAwaii and then into a weak trough 600 nmiles west of Southern CA pushing over Central CA offering some weak support for precipitation there.
On Tuesday (1/2) swell from a weak gale that developed off Japan was hitting Hawaii and the US West Coast (See Japan Gale below). Also swell from a gale that developed over the dateline pushing northeast was poised to hit Hawaii and pushing towards the US West Coast (See Dateline Gale below).
Over the next 72 hours another gale is forecast developing off Japan on Tues AM (1/2) with 40 kts northwest winds and seas building from 28 ft aimed east at 37N 156E. In the evening 40 kt west fetch is to be tracking east with seas building to 31 ft over a small area at 37N 162E aimed east. The gale is to start building in coverage west of the dateline Wed AM (1/3) with additional 40 kts west winds and seas building to 33 ft at 38N 168E targeting Hawaii well. The gale is to fragment in the evening while lifting northeast with west winds 35-40 kts in a pocket south of the core and seas fading from 28 ft there at 34N 172E. On Thurs AM (1/4) the core of the gale is to be over the North Dateline region while fetch lags well south of there on the dateline at 35-40 kts from the west and southwest with seas fading from 30 ft at at 33N 175E. 35 kt west winds to be pushing northeast in the evening with 26 ft seas at 38N 175W targeting Hawaii well. Fri AM (12/5) the gale is to be fading well to the north over and north of the Eastern Aleutians with winds 30-35 kts south of there with seas from the original fetch fading from 23 ft at 42N 171W targeting Hawaii and the US West Coast. This system is to fade from there. Something to monitor.
On Mon AM (12/25) a gale was tracking east from the Kuril Islands with 40-45 kt west winds barely pushing into open waters of the Northwest Pacific with seas 26 ft at 42N 148E aimed east. In the evening fetch built some in coverage at 40 kt from the west and barely clear of the Southern Kuril Islands with seas building from 28 ft at 43N 150E aimed northeast. On Tues AM (12/26) that fetch was fading while a new fetch developed pushing west off North Japan at 35 kts and not jet getting traction on the ocean. In the evening fetch was fading from 35 kts over the same area aimed east with seas 24 ft at 38N 150E. More of the same occurred Wed AM (12/27) with 24 ft seas at 36N 150E. More of the same in the evening with 30 kt west winds and 23 ft seas at 35N 155E. This system continued fading Thurs AM (1/28) with 22 ft seas at 34N 160E then faded from there. Not much is expected to result, maybe background 13 sec period swell for Hawaii.
Hawaii: Expect swell fading Tues (1/2) from 4.2 ft @ 14 secs (5.5-6.0 ft) and being overtaken by new swell from the Dateline (see below). Swell Direction: 310 degrees
A gale developed in association with the broad trough over the dateline Sun AM (12/31) with 40 kt northwest winds over a small area on the dateline and 25 ft seas at 35N 177E aimed east. In the evening winds built to 45 kts from the west over a small area with seas building to 33 ft at 39N 170W. On Monday AM (1/1) the gale was lifting northeast in the Western Gulf with 45 kt west winds generating a moderate area of 31 ft seas at 45N 158W. In the evening winds are held while tracking northeast at 45 kts over a small area in the Northern Gulf aimed northeast with 31 ft seas holding at 52N 152W. This system was fading Tues AM (1/2) in the Northern Gulf with winds fading from 40 kts and seas 32 ft up at 57N 150W impacting Alaska directly. Sell is radiating east with sideband energy towards Hawaii and more direct but distant energy towards California.
Hawaii: Expect swell arrival on Tues (1/2) building to 6.2 ft @ 15-16 secs at sunset (9.5 ft). Swell fading overnight dropping Wed AM (1/3) from 5.3 ft @ 13-14 secs (7.0 ft). Residuals on Thurs AM (1/4) fading from 3.6 ft @ 13 secs (4.5 ft). Swell Direction: 315 degrees
North CA: Expect swell arrival on Tues PM (1/2) after sunset and slowly building peaking Wed AM (1/3) at 5.6 ft @ 15 secs (8.0 ft) and holding through the day. Swell slowly fading Thurs AM (1/4) from 5.6 ft @ 14-15 secs (8.0 ft). Residuals on Fri AM (1/5) from 5.0 ft @ 13 secs (6.5 ft). Swell Direction: 295 degrees.
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
No tropical systems of interest were being monitored.
California Nearshore Forecast
On Tuesday AM (1/2) high pressure at 1042 mbs was inland over the Great Basin ridging west off British Columbia and the Pacific Northwest generating a light offshore flow for all of California with clear skies in control. A cutoff low was 700 nmiles west-southwest of Southern CA. Wednesday (1/3) the low is to ease northeast with southeast winds 10 kts for Santa Barbara up into Central CA and building to near 20 kts from Monterey Bay north to Cape Mendocino late afternoon. Light rain expected from Santa Barbara northward starting late afternoon. Rain from Tahoe northward starting at 10 PM. Thurs (1/4) the low is to be lifting north 400 nmiles off the coast with south winds 15 kts for all of North and Central CA with light rain from Monterey Bay northward and rain for Tahoe too. Fri (1/5) the low is to be off Oregon with southwest winds 20 kts for Cape Mendocino early but south 10 kts south of there to Pt Conception and fading late with patches of light rain holding from Monterey Bay northward. Sat (1/6) weak high pressure starts building into the SF Bay Area with north winds 10 kts early and 15 kts down into the Morro Bay area. Maybe some light snow for Tahoe early otherwise dry except for Pt Arena northward with light rain most of the day there. Sunday (1/7) north winds is expected at 10 kts for North CA and 15 kts for Central CA. Rain for Pt Arena northward. Monday high pressure moves inland with a light offshore flow forecast for the state and dry conditions. Tuesday (1/9) another cutoff low develops 600 nmiles off Southern CA with south winds 5-10 kts for Southern CA up into Central and North CA.
No swell producing winds of interest were occurring.
Over the next 72 hours no swell producing weather systems of interest are forecast.
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 another gale is to start forming in the West Pacific off North Japan on Sat PM (1/6) generating a small area of 40 kts southwest winds. On Sun AM (1/7) northwest winds to build to 55 kts over a tiny area aimed southeast while the gale lifts northeast with seas 33 ft over a tiny area at 42N 166E. The gael is to track northeast in the evening with winds still 55 kts and 45+ kts over a solid area with 45 ft seas at 45N 175E aimed east. On Mon AM (1/8) the gale is to continue tracking northeast and over the North Dateline region with 45 kt northwest winds and seas fading from 36 ft at 47N 179E aimed east at the US West Coast. In the evening the gale is to be moving into the Bering Sea with 45 kt west winds over a decent area south of the Central Aleutians with 34 ft seas fading free and clear just south of the Aleutians at 50N 177W. Winds fading from 40 kts Tues AM (1/9) with seas fading from 33 ft south of the Central Aleutians at 50N 178W aimed east. This system is to be gone from there.
Perhaps another gale is to develop off the Kuril Islands on Tues PM (1/9) with 40 kt west winds aimed east with seas building. Something to monitor.
Beyond 72 hours no swell producing weather system nor fetch is forecast.
More details to follow...
Inactive MJO Building
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 but then in July east anomalies started building in the KWGA and have not stopped, with cold water upwelling over the the Nino1.2 and 3.4 areas, indicative of La Nina. So it appears now a double dip La Nina is setting up and is to continue through the Winter and Spring of 2017-2018.
KWGA/Equatorial Surface Wind Analysis & Short-term Forecast:
Analysis (TAO Buoys): As of Mon (1/1) 5 day average winds were from the east over the entire equatorial Pacific including the Kelvin Wave Generation Area. Anomalies were neutral over the East Pacific but moderate easterly over the entire KWGA.
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): (1/2) Moderate east anomalies were modeled over the entire KWGA. This pattern is to amplify over the next 5 days with moderate to strong east anomalies over the entire KWGA and hold through 1/8, then fading slightly at the end of the model run on 1/9. The Inactive Phase of the MJO looks to be building per this model.
Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East
Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:
OLR Models: As of 1/31 a moderate Inactive/Dry Phase was over the West Pacific. The statistical model depicts the Inactive/Dry Phase slowly easing east and pushing to the dateline over the 15 day run while weakening. The dynamic model depicts a variation on the same theme, but with the Inactive Phase building stronger over the next 15 days.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (1/1) The ECMF model depicts the Active Phase of the MJO modest in strength over the Indian Ocean and is to continue slowly easing east through the Indian Ocean 15 days out. The GEFS model suggests the same thing but with it stronger.
40 day Upper Level Model: (1/2) This model depicts a weak Inactive/Dry MJO pattern over the West Pacific and its to slowly ease east into Central America 2/11. A weak Active/Wet pulse is to follow in the west on 1/16 making little headway and dissipating. Another stronger Inactive Phase is to follow in the west on 1/27 fading while moving east through the end of the model run on 2/11. This model runs about 1 week ahead of what happens at the surface.
CFS Model - 3 month (850 mb wind): (1/2) This model depicts the Inactive/Dry pattern developing over the KWGA with east anomalies in control of the entire KWGA. The Inactive Phase of the MJO is to build over the dateline holding through 1/16/18 with east anomalies holding over the entire KWGA then starting to retreat 1/18 with west anomalies building into the far Western KWGA. On 1/25 the Active Phase is to take control in the West Pacific holding through 2/22 with weak west anomalies strengthening some in the core of the KWGA and pushing east with east anomalies fading in coverage and moving progressively further east and gone by 2/11. A weak Inactive Phase is to follow in the West KWGA on 2/28 holding through the end of the model run on 3/31 but west anomalies holding in the KWGA. The low pass filter indicates a modest low pressure bias over the west KWGA to 165E and is hold till 2/23, then start moving east reaching the dateline 3/13 with a high pressure bias over the East KWGA at 175E and is to move east and out of the KWGA by 3/1/18. Even so, no significant oceanic change is expected as a result of this until at least May 2018.
CFSv2 3 month forecast for 850 mb winds, MJO, Rossby etc
Subsurface Waters Temps
TAO Array: (1/1) The overview pattern is that warm water has retreated to the west and cooler water is in control in the east. Today in the far West Pacific water temps are 29-30 degs in the far West Pacific at 160E. The 28 deg isotherm line is steady at 179W and steep (meaning there is a headwind of cooler water pushing into it from the east). The 24 deg isotherm was weak and steady at 125W and shallow at 50 meters deep at 140W. Anomaly wise it is clear that in the East Pacific warm water gone and instead modestly negative temperatures are at the surface and down to -2 degs C down 150 meters filling the area between Central America to 180W indicative of La Nina. Warm anomalies are isolated to the West Pacific at +3.0 degrees down 100-150 meters deep with the appearance of pushing east with the dividing line between cool temps and warm temps at depth is 140W down 150 meters. Maybe a Kelvin Wave is developing from the Active Phase of the MJO/WWB that ran 12/15-12/27. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 12/29 depicts a large area of cool water filling the subsurface East Pacific (-2.5 degs) but not as cool as the past months and erupting to the surface almost continuously between Ecuador to 170W with warm anomalies at +4 degs in the west. The cool pool appears to be slowly discharging to the surface and loosing density and intensity at depth.
Sea Level Anomalies: (12/29) Negative anomalies are in control at -5 cms over the entire equatorial East Pacific with a core of -10 cm anomalies present between the Galapagos to 155W with no breaks and 2 small pockets to -15 cms.
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: (1/1) The latest images (1.2 3.4) indicate a cool pattern remains in control. Upwelling is holding along Peru and Ecuador with weak warm anomalies shallow near the coast of Chile and Southern Peru. Stronger cool anomalies are tracking west on the equator from the Galapagos out to 140W with a reasonably well defined cool pool evidenced over the entire region. No warm anomalies are indicated within 3+ degs north or south of the equator over the entire region.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (1/1): A warming trend continues along Chile and Peru, and in some pockets on the equator from the Galapagos out to 140W. There was a smaller number of pockets of cooling water interspersed over the same area. A warming trend was developing.
Hi-res Overview: (1/1) Regardless of the short term warming trend indicated above, a clear La Nina cool stream is present starting off Southern Chile and up the coast of Peru and Ecuador then building in coverage and intensity pushing west over the Galapagos and peaking, then slowly fading out to 180W. 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 Nino 3.4 regions. A mature La Nina has evolved.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (1/2) Today's temps were steady at -1.357 degrees, rebounding some after bottoming out on 12/23 at -2.1 degs, a third near peak negative reading. The lowest point so far in this La Nina was -2.248 degs reached on 11/5. And that low point was lower than the previous coldest point reached on 10/11 at -1.9 degs.
Nino 3.4 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (1/2) Today temps were falling some at -1.020 degs. On (12/7) temps hit a record low at -1.219, just below the previous coldest peak so far this La Nina on 11/22 at -1.156. And the third previous low peak was reached at -1.1 on 11/23. The long arc suggests a solidifying cold pattern. La Nina is in control.
CFSV2 Forecast for Nino3.4 SST Anomalies
SST Anomaly Projections
CFSv2 Uncorrected Data (1/2) The forecast depicts temps bottomed out at -0.80 in early Dec and are to hover at -0.60 degs through Feb. A weak upward trend is to set up beyond with temps reaching -0.5 in April and -0.35 degs in June and holding there. This suggests the peak of La Nina has occurred and it is to be fading into the summer of 2018.
IRI Consensus Plume: The mid-Nov Plume updated (12/8) depicts temps bottomed out at -0.7 in early Nov and are to hold into Dec then slowly rising, to +0.0 in May and +0.3 in July2018. See chart here - link The NMME consensus for Nov average indicates temps -0.9 degrees below normal Nov-Jan 2018 then rebounding to normal in April. It looks like La Nina is peaking out now. The CFSv2 is now in the middle of that pack.
Atmospheric Coupling (Indicating the presence of El Nino in the atmosphere driven by the ocean):
Southern Oscillation Index (1/2): The daily index was rising at +11.551 today. The 30 day average was rising at -3.00. The 90 day average was falling at +5.47. This suggests La Nina is in control.
ESPI (like SOI but based on satellite confirmed precipitation. Positive is good, negative bad): (1/2) The index was steady now at -1.11. The trend suggests La Nina has lost some of its grip. Last years La Nina reached -1.94 on 11/2/16 and then fell to -2.20 on 6/28/17. It held pretty negative after that but has been rising some as of late. 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 is weakly negative, but not as much as one would expect with La Nina in play.
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, Sept = -0.28, Oct=-0.60, Nov = -0.52. This continues to look like the warm phase of the PDO, even with La Nina, because the warm PDO appears to be dampening the effects of La Nina. 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, Aug=0.09, Sept = 0.32, Oct=0.05 . 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