Sunday, February 18, 2018
- Buoy 106 (Waimea): Seas were 6.5 ft @ 12.5 secs with swell 4.2 ft @ 11.8 secs from 328 degrees.
- Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 1.9 ft @ 13.7 secs with swell 1.2 ft @ 13.7 secs from 228 degrees. Wind at the buoy was west at 6-8 kts. Water temperature 61.0 degs. At Ventura (Buoy 111) swell was 1.3 ft @ 9.2 secs from 273 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 1.0 ft @ 13.7 secs from 214 degrees. At Camp Pendleton (043) swell was 1.1 ft @ 13.5 secs from 215 degrees. Southward at Pt Loma (191) swell was 1.6 ft @ 14.7 secs from 238 degrees.
- Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 6.3 ft @ 6.7 secs with swell 2.8 ft @ 13.7 secs from 317 degrees. Wind at the buoy was northwest at 12-14 kts. Water temp 54.0 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 Sunday (2/18) in North and Central CA local north windswell was producing waves at chest to head high and totally trashed by northwest winds with full chopped conditions in effect. Protected breaks were waist to maybe chest high and cleaner but still lumpy but with no whitecaps. At Santa Cruz surf was waist high or so on the sets and lined up and clean. In Southern California up north surf was flat and clean. In North Orange Co surf was waist to sometimes chest high on the rare peaks and slow but clean. South Orange Country's best breaks were near flat and clean. In North San Diego surf was knee high or so and clean. Hawaii's North Shore was getting some small windswell at chest to shoulder high with head high sets and clean with lightning just offshore early. The South Shore was flat and clean. The East Shore was getting wrap around northwest windswell at waist high and heavily warbled from northeast wind early.
See QuikCASTs for the 5 day surf overview or read below for the detailed view.
On Sunday (2/18) small swell was from an unremarkable gale that tracked over the North Dateline on Wed-Thurs (2/15) was hitting Hawaii. A broader gale developed behind it off the Kuril Islands on Thurs-Fri (2/16) with 37 ft seas producing more small swell bound again mainly for the Islands. Another gale was developing on Sun (2/18) off Japan with 39 ft seas aimed east but is to fade quickly later in the day before ever reaching the dateline. Nothing else is charted behind that. It seems La Nina is trumping the Active Phase of the MJO and the Spring change of seasons is topping even that. Not a good combination to produce storms.
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
On Sunday AM (2/18) the jetstream was pushing east off Japan with winds 130-140 kts reaching to the dateline then splitting with the northern branch pushing hard north up into the Bering Sea and beyond eventually falling south down the coast of British Columbia before moving inland over Oregon and the southern branch falling south to nearly the equator then tracking east. A bit of a trough was off the Kuril Islands offering some support for gale development there. Over the next 72 hours the pattern is to remain locked in with some form of a trough just off the Kuril Islands but getting progressively less defined while in the east the northern branch continue ridging hard north then falling down the coast of British Columbia offering no support for gale development anywhere but off the Kuril Islands. Beyond 72 hours more of the same is forecast until Fri (2/23) when wind energy starts fading off Japan dropping to the 120 kt range and the trough previously there starts fading and becoming less defined. Even at that the ridge in the east (a.k.a the "Ridiculously Resilient Ridge") is to persist likely supporting high pressure over the entirety of the East Pacific with only limited support for backdoor fronts to push down the immediate coast of British Columbia down into the Pacific Northwest offering some support for precipitation there but nothing but north winds driven by high pressure relative to swell production for California. A Spring pattern appears to be taking hold.
On Sunday (2/18) small and fading swell from a small gale the developed over the North Dateline on Wed-Thurs (2/15) producing up to barely 30 ft seas was fading in Hawaii. Also small swell from a gale that developed off North Japan and the Kuril Islands Thurs-Fri (2/16) was following right behind (see Kuril Island Gale below).
Over the next 72 hours another small gale started developing well off Japan on Sat PM (2/17) producing a decent sized area of 45+ kt west winds and positioned further south than previous gales mid-way to the dateline with seas building to 33 ft over a small area at 37N 156E. On Sun AM (2/18) the gale started lifting northeast with winds 45 kts from the west and seas 38 ft over a small area aimed east at 37N 168E. By evening the original fetch is to be gone lifting hard northeast with seas from previous fetch fading from 29 ft at 38N 174E targeting Hawaii. This system is to be gone after that.
Hawaii: Based on a mix of forecast and confirmed data swell arrival is expected on Wed (2/21) building to 3.9 ft @ 16 secs mid-day (6.0 ft) and holding through the afternoon. Swell is to be fading on Thurs AM (2/22) fading from 3.6 ft @ 14-15 secs (5.0 ft). Residual swell fading Fri AM (2/23) from 3.6 ft @ 14 secs (5.0 ft). Swell Direction: 305-307 degrees
Kuril Island Gale
On Thurs AM (2/15) a small gale developed off North Japan producing 50 kt west winds and 30 ft seas at 42N 159E aimed east. In the evening winds held at 50 kt from the west while the gale lifted northeast towards the Northern Dateline producing seas to 37 ft over a small area at 47N 166E. By Fri AM (2/16) the gale was fading with winds down to 40 kts and seas fading from 33 ft at 50N 171E starting to impact the Central Aleutian Islands. This system faded after that. Small swell is likely for Hawaii.
Hawaii: Expect swell arrival on Mon (2/19) building to 3.4 ft @ 14-15 secs later(4.5-5.0 ft). Swell slowly fading overnight and on Tues (2/20) swell is to be fading from 2.8 ft @ 13-14 secs early (3.5-4.0 ft).
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
No tropical systems of interest were being monitored.
California Nearshore Forecast
On Sunday AM (2/18) low pressure was over Vancouver Island with strong cold Arctic high pressure at 1040 mbs in the Northern Gulf producing a pressure gradient resulting in north winds at 20 kts reaching south to Northern CA with 15-20 kt north winds down to Pt Conception. The gradient is to fall south through the day with north winds building to 25+ ks over North CA and 20-25 kts north winds reaching Pt Conception later. Rain is forecast for North Ca down to Pt Arena with snow for even modest elevations building along the Sierra down to Tahoe later in the day. By Monday (2/19) the gradient is to move over California with 25-30 kt north winds over all of California including Southern CA early and holding through the day. Light snow to continue for the entire Sierra through the day fading late afternoon. Up to 5 inches of snow accumulation forecast for Tahoe. By Tues (2/20) the gradient is to hold position but weaken with north winds 20-25 kts early over North and Central CA fading to 15+ kts later and Southern CA less than 10 kts. No precipitation forecast. On Wed (2/21) a weak low pressure system is to move down and just west of the coast with light south to southeast winds for North CA early and light winds south of there and dissipating with light winds everywhere by afternoon. Thursday (2/22) high pressure is to be building in the Gulf at 1042 mbs ridging into the coast through the day with weak low pressure falling south over Nevada producing north winds 15-20 kts for North CA early and 10-15 kts for Central CA building to 20-25 kts for North CA later but holding at 10-15 kts from Monterey Bay southward late afternoon. Snow possible for the Sierra starting mid-AM continuing till 10 PM. 2.5-3.5 inches of accumulation possible at Tahoe and far less south of there. Friday (2/23) north winds to continue at 20+ kts for the entire coast including Southern CA early but fading there to near calm in the afternoon. Sat (2/24) high pressure and north winds continue at 15-20 kts for North and Central CA building to 20-25 kts on Sun (2/25). Low pressure is to be falling south inland again possibly setting up light rain for the state reaching south to Morro Bay later and snow for Tahoe starting late afternoon through the evening. A La Nina Springtime pattern is getting well established with north winds coastside and backdoor fronts pushing down the interior portion of the state.
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 no swell producing weather systems of interest are forecast.
Beyond 72 hours no swell producing weather system nor fetch is forecast.
More details to follow...
Active MJO Fading & So Is La Nina
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. A double dip La Nina is in control 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 Sun (2/18) 5 day average winds were solidly from the east over the bulk of the equatorial Pacific but moderately from the west over the Central Kelvin Wave Generation Area east to 165E. Anomalies were lightly from the east over the East and Central Pacific and modestly from the west over the Central KWGA.
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): (2/18) This model suggests moderate west anomalies were over the entirety of the KWGA extending east to 150W on the equator. This pattern is to hold through 2/22 then starting to fade with east anomalies building in the KWGA on 2/23 and continuing through the end of the model run on 2/25. The Active Phase of the MJO is filling the KWGA but expected to fade with the Inactive Phase taking control by the end of the model run likely causing the jetstream to split even more.
Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East
Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:
OLR Models: (2/17) The Active/Wet Phase of the MJO is moderately entrenched over the Western Pacific and filling the KWGA to a point south of Hawaii centered just west of the dateline. The statistical model depicts the Active Phase moving east centered over the dateline 3 days out then slowly easing east and out of the KWGA at day 15 with a modest Inactive/Dry Phase moving to the West Pacific with its leading edge reaching 160E. The dynamic model depicts the same thing.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (2/18) The ECMF model depicts the Active Phase of the MJO modestly strong over the Dateline. The ECMF model depicts it to fade fast over the next 3 days while quickly tracking east across the Atlantic and over Africa and exceedingly weak on day 15 in the Indian Ocean. The GEFS model suggests the same thing.
40 day Upper Level Model: (2/18) This model depicts a weak Active/Wet MJO pattern over the Central and East Pacific pushing east and slowly fading while pushing into Central America on 3/10. A modest pulse of the Inactive Phase is to follow in the west on 3/5 pushing east to the East Pacific and into Central America on 3/30. The Active Phase to follow in the far West Pacific weakly starting 3/20 and pushing east to the dateline on 3/30. This model runs about 1-2 weeks ahead of what happens at the surface.
CFS Model - 3 month (850 mb wind): (2/18) This model depicts a strong Active/Wet pattern is fading over the Central KWGA with west anomalies in control. The Active Phase is to hold through 2/21 with west anomalies in the core of the KWGA. A modest but broad Inactive Phase is to follow in the West KWGA starting 2/20 building east and taking control 2/25 holding through 4/7 with mostly neutral or light west anomalies forecast in the KWGA. A weak Active Phase to follow starting 4/7 in the West Pacific and in control through 5/9 with moderate west anomalies building the heart of the KWGA. A weak Inactive Phase is to flow in the west at the end of the model run 5/8-5/17. The low pass filter indicates a modest low pressure bias over the western half of the KWGA at 165E and is to push east steadily from here forward reaching the dateline 4/14 with a high pressure bias over the East KWGA at 175E and is to steadily move east and out of the KWGA on 3/15. No significant oceanic change is expected until 3 months after the change has taken place in the atmosphere, meaning no change this winter.
CFSv2 3 month forecast for 850 mb winds, MJO, Rossby etc
Subsurface Waters Temps
TAO Array: (2/18) The overview pattern depicts that warm water is sequestered to the west and cooler water is in control in the east but loosing ground quickly. Today in the far West Pacific water temps are 29-30 degs at 160E. The 28 deg isotherm line is steady at 176E and steep (meaning there is a headwind of cooler water pushing into it from the east). The 24 deg isotherm was shallow but has made significant eastward progress migrating across the PAcific to Ecuador now and 15 meters deep or more the whole way east and 75 meters deep at 140W. Anomaly wise in the East Pacific negative temperatures have gotten reestablished after a weak Kelvin Wave pushed through the area in late Jan. Today negative anomalies to -2.0 degs were broad in coverage from the East Pacific near 130W and 110 meters deep with the dividing line between warm and cool anomalies at 155W down 125 meters. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 2/12 depicts the remnants of the Kelvin Wave dissipating at 120W down 80 meters. But cool water filling the subsurface East Pacific has significantly lost is density and intensity with no core and a diffuse pattern of -1.0 deg anomalies from 160W and points east of there. Still cool anomalies continue erupting to the surface almost continuously between Ecuador to 170W. The cool pool appears to be slowly discharging to the surface. The GODAS animation appears to be 1 week behind the TAO data.
Sea Level Anomalies: (2/12) Negative anomalies at -5 cms were over the equatorial East Pacific out to 155W with a small concentration of cooler water mainly south of the equator with -10 cm anomalies at 120W and 5S.
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: (2/17) The latest images (1.2 3.4) indicate a generic and diffuse cool pattern in the Southeast Pacific. Warm anomalies are building solidly off the coast of Chile and Peru up to Ecuador and into Central America while a cool upwelling pattern is indicated along the immediate coast of Peru. Weak cool anomalies extend along the equator from the Galapagos out to 160W in pockets and generally weak and diffuse with a far smaller footprint than months past.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (2/17): A warming trend continues weakly off Chile and Peru and up to Central America advecting west on the equator from Ecuador over the Galapagos and out to 120W. There were no significant pockets of cooling water over the same area. A very weak but steady warming trend is ongoing.
Hi-res Overview: (2/17) Regardless of the short term warming trend indicated above, a weak La Nina cool stream is still present well off Chile and Peru. But warm anomalies are nearshore from Chile extending north to a off Peru and Central America. The core of cool waters are running on the equator from the Galapagos pushing west and peaking near 140W (meaning the core of La Nina is advecting west), then slowly fading out to 175E. Cool water at depth is still erupting to the surface with the breach point now south of Hawaii. Overall the cooling pattern is steadily loosing density and drifting west. It appears La Nina is in steady decline.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (2/18) Today's temps have risen significantly, at -0.231 degrees. Over all the trend is upwards since late December. Temps in this area bottomed 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: (2/18) Today temps were inching up to -0.922. A dramatic rise occurred 1/12-1/28 reaching up to -0.600 deg range. A peak low was observed on 1/10-1/12 to -1.577. On (12/7) temps hit a previous 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 perhaps a rising pattern. La Nina is in control, but it's taking a hit.
CFSV2 Forecast for Nino3.4 SST Anomalies
SST Anomaly Projections
CFSv2 Uncorrected Data (2/18) The forecast depicts temps bottomed out at -0.75 in Nov and have been slowly rebounding up to -0.50 in early Feb. The model indicates temps rising slowly to -0.3 in early April, then falling slowly to -0.5 in July then holding or rising slightly through the Fall to -0.4 degs in Oct. This suggests the peak of this years La Nina has occurred but it is to possibly hold through Summer only to start fading in the Fall. This model is the outlier with others suggesting La Nina is to die this Spring.
IRI Consensus Plume: The mid-Dec Plume updated (1/4) depicts temps bottomed out at -0.8 in early Dec and are to slowly rise, to +0.0 in May and +0.3 in August. See chart here - link The NMME consensus for Jan indicates temps -0.8 degrees below normal Nov-Dec 2018 then rebounding to neutral -0.0 in May and +0.4 degs by July. It looks like La Nina is peaking out now. The CFSv2 is in the low end of that pack.
Atmospheric Coupling (Indicating the presence of El Nino in the atmosphere driven by the ocean):
Southern Oscillation Index (2/18): The daily index was holding negative at -13.11 today. The 30 day average was falling to -3.65 suggesting the Active Phase of the MJO having a significant effect. The 90 day average was falling at +0.31 suggesting La Nina is dead.
ESPI (like SOI but based on satellite confirmed precipitation. Positive and/or rising is good, negative and/or falling is bad): (2/8) The index was stuck at -1.04 (suspect there is a technical problem with the data collection)(up from -1.11 on 1/29). The trend suggests La Nina is stable (was -0.96 on 1/6). 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. The goal is to have it rise to at least -0.5 before a significant change could be suggested.
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 = +0.12, Feb = +0.05, March = +0.14, April=+0.53, May=+0.29, June=+0.21, July= -0.50, Aug= -0.62, Sept = -0.25, Oct= -0.61, Nov = -0.46, Dec= -0.18, Jan=0.24. 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 solid 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, Nov = +0.15, Dec = +0.50. 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