Wednesday, January 25, 2017
- Buoy 106 (Waimea): Seas were 13.0 ft @ 16.7 secs with swell 10.4 ft @ 16.4 secs from 313 degrees.
- Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 3.7 ft @ 12.0 secs with swell 2.8 ft @ 10.5 secs from 250 degrees. Wind west 8-10 kts. Water temperature 58.3 degs. At Ventura swell was 2.1 ft @ 11.3 secs from 278 degrees. At Santa Monica swell was 2.7 ft @ 12.4 secs from 260 degrees. At Camp Pendleton swell was 1.1 ft @ 13.1 secs from 244 degrees. Southward at Pt Loma swell was 2.9 ft @ 12.8 secs from 276 degrees.
- Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 6.6 ft @ 10.5 secs with swell 4.9 ft @ 9.6 secs from 294 degrees. Wind northwest 8-10 kts at the buoy. Water temp 54.3 degs.
46006, 46059, New! Hi-Res Buoy Dashboards (at the 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 Wednesday (1/25) in North and Central CA raw local swell was producing waves in head high to 1 ft overhead and lightly textured from west wind and rideable but nothing more. At Santa Cruz surf was waist high on the sets and textured. In Southern California up north local swell was still producing waves in the head high range and clean with decent form. In North Orange Co surf was head high to 1 ft overhead and lightly chopped from northerly wind. In San Diego surf was 2-3 ft overhead and lined up but chopped from onshore winds and not rideable. head high and fairly lined up but completely chopped with whitecaps and wind in effect. Hawaii's North Shore was getting Swell #10 with waves 15 ft Hawaiian on the sets and pretty solid with clean conditions. The South Shore was flat and clean. The East Shore was getting northwest wrap around swell at 2-3 ft overhead and chopped from east-southeast winds.
See QuikCASTs for the 5 day surf overview or read below for the detailed view.
A moderate storm started building off Japan Sat (1/21) while lifting east-northeast and expanding in coverage with seas to 49 ft on the dateline Mon (1/23) then tracking into the Western Gulf later Tuesday and fading with seas dropping from 38 ft. Swell is hitting Hawaii and bound for California. A far weaker system developed behind that tracking from the Northwest Pacific to the Dateline Tues-Thurs (1/26) with up to 30 ft seas aimed east-southeast with a secondary fetch forecast redeveloping in the same area Sat-Sun (1/29) falling southeast towards and in close proximity to Hawaii with up to 38 ft seas. Remnants of that system to lift northeast and be redeveloping Mon (1/30) targeting Hawaii from a very northeast angle and also starting to target California with 26-28 ft seas. A broader system is to try and develop off the Kurils on Tues (1/31) with 34 ft seas aimed east and not making it to even the dateline. The North Pacific is active.
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis.cgius forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
On Wednesday AM (1/25) the jetstream was well consolidated tracking east off Japan with winds to 210 kts lifting slightly over the dateline reaching to a point 900 nmiles north of Hawaii before .cgiitting with most energy falling southeast and eventually tracking east into Baja. No clear troughs were present but support for gale development was still occurring. Over the next 72 hours winds in the jet are to slowly weaken and cover less ground while a trough starts building in the Western Gulf Thurs-Sat (1/28) offering good support for gale development there. East of the trough the jet is to remain .cgiit with the northern branch arching up into and over British Columbia and the southern branch continuing over Baja. Wind energy is to weaken off Japan. Beyond 72 hours winds are to be building over Japan and just off Japan on Monday to 210 kts then weakening to 180 kts on Wed (2/1) but extending consolidated east to the dateline forming a thin trough off the Kuril Islands easing east to the dateline offering decent support for gale development. East of the trough the jet is to be well .cgiit with the northern branch tracking from the dateline up into and north of the Bering Sea then falling south and reconsolidating with the jet 1000 nmiles north-northeast of Hawaii, then pushing onshore over North California, very reminiscent of the pattern in early January. Good support for local gale development in the Eastern Gulf then. It looks like the Inactive Phase of the MJO might start having a dampening affect on storm production via .cgiitting the NPac jetstream pattern for a few weeks.
On Wednesday (1/25) two swells were being monitored. One from the strong system that was over the Dateline (see Dateline Storm #10 below) and another from a far weaker system following behind it (see Weak Dateline Gale) targeting mainly Hawaii.
Over the next 72 hours yet another gale is forecast developing on the dateline Friday evening with northwest winds building from 40-45 kts falling southeast. On Sat AM (1/28) a small area of 55 kt northwest winds are to be falling southeast and targeting Hawaii well with a small area of 38 ft seas at 39N 173W. Fetch to moderate at 45 kts and continue this track in the evening with 35 ft seas at 35N 168W aimed directly at Hawaii 950 nmiles out. Fetch is to be fading from 35 kts on Sun AM (1/29) with seas fading from 30 ft at 31N 160W or 650 nmiles out. Fetch is to start lifting northeast in the evening with residual 40 kt north winds targeting Hawaii and seas fading from 22 ft at 28N 155W with a new fetch developing the north (see Longer Term Forecast below). Larger raw swell is possible for Hawaii by Sunday evening (1/30).
Dateline Storm #10
Another strong storm started developing off Japan on Fri PM (1/20) with 50 kt northwest winds and seas building from 25 ft. On Sat AM (1/21) west winds faded to 40 kts while easing east with 27 ft seas at 33N 153E. In the evening fetch was building in coverage at 40-45 kts while moving east with seas building to 31 ft at 35N 168E. The gale tracked east to the dateline on Sun AM (1/22) and grew in coverage significantly with 40-45 kt northwest winds on the dateline over a large area and 34 ft seas at 40N 177E. The gale lifted northeast some in the evening with winds up to 50 kts from the west and 38 ft seas over a solid area at roughly 43N 176W. 55 kt northwest winds built while tracking east on Mon AM (1/23) into the Western Gulf with 46 ft seas at 47N 177W peaking at 49 ft at 18Z at 47n 173W. Winds are forecast fading in velocity and coverage in the evening at 45 kts from the west and 46 ft seas over a broad area at 45N 169W. Fetch is to be fading Tues AM (1/24) from 35 kts in the Northern Gulf with seas dropping from 38 ft at 46N 160W. The gale is to dissipate after that. Large sideband swell is possible for Hawaii with a more direct pulse pushing to California. Something to monitor.
Hawaii: Swell is to be fading in Hawaii on Thurs (1/26) fading from 5.9 ft @ 15 secs (9.0 ft). Residuals on Fri (1/27) fading from 3.4 ft @ 12-13 secs (4.0 ft). Swell Direction 315 degrees
North CA: Swell arrival expected at 1 AM Thurs (1/26) building into the morning hours reaching 11 ft @ 18-19 secs (20 ft) but shadowed in the San Francisco Bay Area. Swell fading over night and fading Fri AM (1/27) from 8 ft @ 16 secs (13 ft). residuals on Sat AM (1/28) holding at 6.7 ft @ 13-14 secs (9,0 ft). Swell Direction: 297-301 degrees
South CA: Expect swell arrival on Thurs PM (1/26) under cover of darkness then building in earnest Fri AM peaking near sunrise at 5.3 ft @ 18-19 secs (9.5-10.0 ft) but remaining solid through the day. Swell fading some on Sat (1/28) from 3.5 ft @ 15-16 secs early (5.0-5.5 ft). Swell steady on Sunday (1/29) at 3.0 ft @ 13-14 secs (4.0 ft). Swell Direction 302-306 degrees
Weaker Dateline Gale
Another gale developed off the Southern Kurils on Tues AM (1/24) producing 40-45 kt west winds over a small area aimed east with 30 ft seas at 43N 161E. In the evening the gale tracked east with winds barely 40 kts and seas barely 30 ft at 41N 166E. On Wed AM (1/24) residual fetch was fading from 30-35 kts from the west winds seas 26 ft at 42N 172E. In the evening winds to hold at 30-35 kts over a broader area falling southeast with seas 24 ft at 37N 176E targeting Hawaii well. The gale is to develop a little more on the dateline on Thurs AM (1/26) with 35 kt northwest winds and 24 ft seas at 39N 178W targeting Hawaii. In the evening 30-35 kt northwest winds to be tracking east with 24 ft seas at 37N 173W. The gale is to dissipate from there Fri AM (1/27) with seas fading from 23 ft at 37N 167W still targeting Hawaii well.
Hawaii: Expect swell arrival on at sunset Fri (1/27) with swell to 5.6 ft @ 16-17 secs (9.0 ft). Swell peaking Sat (1/28) mid-day at 7.7 ft @ 15 secs (11.5 ft). Swell fading some on Sun (1/29) fading from 7.0 ft @ 13 secs (9.0 ft). Swell Direction: 320 degrees
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
No tropical systems of interest are being monitored.
California Nearshore Forecast
On Wednesday (1/25) a weak pressure pattern and light winds were over the California coast with a weak front lingering off North CA. Thursday high pressure starts building slightly well off the coast with the front dissipating off Central CA through the day. Light rain for NCal possible. Friday high pressure is to start ridging onshore over Oregon with northeast winds 5-10 kts for all of Central CA and less north of there and stronger from the east for South CA. Light offshore's forecast for Saturday and Sunday at 5-10 kts turning a little more northerly on Monday but still offshore and light. South winds start on Tues (1/31) as a front and low pressure starts building off the coast pushing 20 kts over North CA later. South winds are forecast at 30 kts for all of North and Central CA but remaining light for Southern CA. Rain for Pt Conception northward and snow for higher elevations of the Sierra.
No swell producing fetch of interest is occurring or forecast.
South Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
Marine weather and forecast conditions 3-10 days into the future
Remnants of the above system are to start redeveloping while lifting northeast on Mon AM (1/30) with 40-45 kt north and northeast winds producing 29 ft seas at 33N 155W targeting Hawaii but also swinging towards the US West Coast. In the evening 45 kt north winds to build in the Central Gulf with 29 ft seas at 38N 151W targeting Hawaii and 26 ft seas building in the gale south quadrant at 31N 145W targeting California. Fetch is to be fading Tues AM (1/31) from 40 kts from the north with 28-30 ft seas at 34N 150W still aimed at Hawaii with 24-26 ft seas at 33N 145W targeting South CA. This system to start fading from there while tracking northeast with nothing left after Tuesday evening. Something to monitor.
On Mon PM (1/30) another gale is to be brewing off North Japan with 45-50 kt northwest winds and seas building from 28 ft over a small area at 42N 160E. On Tues AM 91/31) a broad area of 45 kt north winds are to be in.cgiay generating 34 ft seas a t43N 165E targeting Hawaii well. In the evening fetch is to be lifting north and fading with seas fading from 28-30 ft at 45N 168E. This system is to fade from there.
Beyond 72 hours no swell producing fetch of interest is forecast.
More details to follow...
La Nina is Dead in the Ocean - Trending Towards El Nino
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: La Nina started developing in early 2016, but westward di.cgiaced and generally weak. And by early 2017, it appears to be fading.
KWGA/Equatorial Surface Wind Analysis & Short-term Forecast:
Analysis (TAO Buoys): As of Tuesday (1/24) east winds were over the entire equatorial Pacific but lighter over the Kelvin Wave Generation Area. The KWGA is on the equator from 135E-170W and 5 degs north and south. Anomalies were neutral over the equatorial East Pacific and neutral to light westerly near 160E, and calm into the Western KWGA. East anomalies over the KWGA when they exist are attributable to La Nina being modulated by the MJO (a.cgiified during the Inactive Phase, weakened during the Active Phase).
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): Modest east anomalies were modeled over the western KWGA (West Pacific east to 160E) and weak east anomalies were on the dateline. The forecast suggests east anomalies weakening some over the far West Pacific with west anomalies r.cgiacing them and east anomalies building on the dateline a week out. This appears to be a mixed pattern no indicating either the Inactive or Active Phase of the MJO. The first real easterly wind burst from this La Nina started on 9/23 and continued into 12/13, then started oscillating beyond. Easterly anomalies have been consistent, pulsing stronger at times, then weaker, attributable to La Nina and modulated by the MJO. But even that may be coming to an end.
Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East
Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:
OLR Models: As of 1/24 a modest Inactive Phase was present over the West Pacific reaching to the dateline. The statistic model projects the Inactive Phase moving to the dateline two weeks out and building some. The dynamic model depicts the same thing initially but with the Inactive Phase fading 10 days out and the Active Phase trying to build over the West Pacific 2 weeks out. In either case, some form of the Active Phase is projected 2 weeks out.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (1/25) The ECMF model indicates the Active Phase of the MJO is modest over the Indian Ocean and is to ease holding strength over the Maritime Continent moving to the West Pacific 2 weeks out. The GEFS model depicts about the same thing but the eastward track far weaker.
40 day Upper Level Model: (1/25) This model depicts a weak Active Phase of the MJO was over the West Pacific tracking east into Central America into 3/6. This model runs about 2 weeks ahead of what happens at the surface.
CFS Model - 3 month (850 mb wind): (1/25) This model depicts the Active Phase of the MJO was effectively gone over the dateline today and fading south of California too with neutral wind anomalies in.cgiay. The Inactive Phase is taking control for a short window over the dateline from today through 2/10 with neutral anomalies continuing, then the Active Phase returning 2/12-2/26 with weak west anomalies in the West Pacific. The Inactive Phase is to follow 2/24-3/22 with west anomalies slowly getting more traction over the dateline region from late-March on. The MJO is very weak and having little influence on winds in the KWGA, which are dictated more by La Nina. But with it fading, a more normal MJO/wind pattern should take hold in Spring. La Nina is having the effect of dampening the MJO, and producing weak east anomalies over the dateline 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: (1/25) Actual temperatures remain stratified with warm water in the West Pacific at 30+ degs C (reaching east to 168E) and the 28 deg isotherm line reaching to 175W 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 there's no signs of La Nina. Warm anomalies at +1-2 degs rule from the West Pacific pushing east to 155W. A mini Kelvin Wave is developing. Neutral anomalies are east of there to Ecuador with a pocket of less than -1.0 deg anomalies over a shallow area between 140W and the dateline and the Kelvin Wave pushing under it. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 1/18 depicts 2 pocket of of cooler water to -1.0 degs, one along Ecuador and the other at 160W. La Nina has lost control of the ocean at depth with remaining negative anomalies weakening and getting shallower.
Sea Level Anomalies: (1/18) Negative anomalies at -5.0-10 cms control 2 pockets stranding the equator from 110W to 130W and 5 degs north and south. Slowly sea levels are rising with La Nina 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: (1/25) The latest images (1.2 3.4) indicate warm water dominating the region extending from Southern Chile north to Panama and then extending west over the Galapagos reaching to 115W solid and building with neutral to weak cool temps 160W. La Nina is gone and it looks like El Nino is returning, though that is not possible.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (1/24): A significant warming trend continues along Chile, Peru Ecuador out to the Galapagos. A small pocket of cooling is out at 100-120W with neutral anomalies west of there. In any other year one would wonder if El Nino was developing. Most interesting.
Hi-res Overview: (1/24) There is no sign of La Nina cool waters from Ecuador west to at least 120W. The only real remnants are from 140W-170E and even those appear to be in collapse and heading west. La Nina is loosing coverage quickly. This is good news.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (1/25) Today's temps were rising fast at +1.635.
Nino 3.4 Daily CDAS Index Temps: Today (1/25) temps were falling some at -0.268. Temps have been oscillating warm to cool and back in 2-3 week cycles within a range from -0.0 to -0.5 degs.
CFSV2 Forecast for Nino3.4 SST Anomalies
SST Anomaly Projections
CFSv2 Uncorrected Data (1/25) This model suggests La Nina developed from June thru Oct in the -0.55 deg range then started fading with temps rising to -0.5 on Nov 1 up to -0.2 degs on Dec 1 and neutral on Jan 1. La Nina is dead. The forecast has temps gently rising to to +0.5 degs in March building to +0.6 degs in May and holding if not rising into Sept at +0.7 degs, bordering on minimal El Nino. This indicates that La Nina is over and a return to normal temps is expected in Spring. The change in the atmosphere will be slower.
IRI Consensus Plume: The mid-Jan Plume depicts temps are warming and are now at -0.2 degs. A slow increase in temps is forecast thereafter to neutral 0.0 in March 2017 warming to +0.2 degs in May and holding into the Fall. This is no different than the Dec forecast and suggests La Nina is over. See chart here - link.
Atmospheric Deco.cgiing (Indicating the presence of El Nino in the atmosphere driven by the ocean):
Southern Oscillation Index (1/25): The daily index was rising up to 7.31, but had been negative for 13 previous readings. The 30 day average was rising slightly at +0.36. The 90 day average was rising some at -0.57. All this suggests the Active Phase of the MJO was trying to get a foot in the door, but loosing some energy in the past few days.
ESPI (like SOI but based on satellite confirmed precipitation. Positive is good, negative bad): (1/25) Today's value was falling at -1.08. 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 backed off some, only to return to a more negative trend since 1/20. Of all the indicators, this is the only one that suggests La Nina is not loosing it's grip. That is to be expected though as this measures atmospheric response, not oceanic. The atmosphere lags changes in the ocean driven by the ENSO cycle.
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) are: +0.79, +1.23, +1.55, +1.59, +1.42, +0.76, +0.12 then falling to -0.87, -1.06 and -0.70 in Oct. But in Nov, it was up to +0.80 and +0.45 in Dec. This looks much like the warm phase of the PDO.
The Washington EDU index (Jan-Dec) are: +1.53, +1.75, +2.40, +2.62, +2.35, +2.03, +1.25 +0.52, +0.45, +0.56, +1.88 and +1.17 in Dec.
The PDO turned from a 16 year negative run (Jan 98-Feb 2014) in early 2014 and has been positive 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