Monday, February 26, 2018
- Buoy 106 (Waimea): This buoy is down and not updating.
- Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 2.8 ft @ 14.7 secs with swell 1.6 ft @ 14.3 secs from 181 degrees. Wind at the buoy was northwest at 2-4 kts. Water temperature 58.3 degs. At Ventura (Buoy 111) swell was 1.2 ft @ 13.6 secs from 241 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 1.5 ft @ 14.5 secs from 240 degrees. At Camp Pendleton (043) swell was 1.4 ft @ 14.3 secs from 224 degrees. Southward at Pt Loma (191) swell was 2.0 ft @ 13.7 secs from 221 degrees.
- Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 5.0 ft @ 12.8 secs with fading Japan swell swell 3.3 ft @ 12.7 secs from 293 degrees. Wind at the buoy was northwest at 21-25 kts. Water temp 51.4 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 Monday (2/26) in North and Central CA local north windswell and minimal Japan swell were intermixing producing waves in the shoulder high range and lumpy from northwest winds, but not whitecapped. Protected breaks were waist to chest high and warbled and mushy but not whitecapped early. At Santa Cruz surf was up to waist high and gutless and slow but reasonably clean. In Southern California up north surf was thigh high and clean and weak and unremarkable. In North Orange Co surf was waist high and nearly chopped from south wind. South Orange Country's best breaks were up to waist high and weak and heavily textured from south wind. In North San Diego surf was thigh to maybe waist high at best breaks and clean and weak and closed out. Hawaii's North Shore was small with no real rideable waves but clean. The South Shore was flat and warbled. The East Shore was getting east windswell at 1 ft overhead and chopped from moderate east-southeast trades.
See QuikCASTs for the 5 day surf overview or read below for the detailed view.
On Monday (2/26) no swell of interest was hitting any breaks in our forecast area. modest swell was hitting California and fading in Hawaii from a gale that developed on Sun (2/18) off Japan with 39 ft seas aimed east then faded quickly later in the day before ever reaching the dateline. A weak system developed Sat-Sun (2/25) in the North Gulf and fell south along the Canadian Coast producing up to 28 ft seas. That swell is heading south towards North CA, but is to arrive from a very north angle. After that a gale is forecast just off Vancouver Island falling south Wed-Thurs (3/1) producing 23 ft seas building to 27 ft on Fri (3/2) off North CA possibly result in raw local swell. Maybe a somewhat stronger system to develop after that off the North Kuril Islands on Fri-Sat (3/3) producing up to 37 ft seas aimed east. And a small system is forecast for the Central Gulf of Alaska on Sat-Sun (3/4) with barely 32 ft seas aimed southeast. But La Nina in combination with a developing Inactive Phase of the MJO is likely to continue suppressing swell development for the next 2 weeks.
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
On Monday AM (2/26) the jetstream was pushing east off Japan consolidated with winds to 170 kts and weakening while tracking east splitting at 155E with the northern branch pushing northeast eventually tracking over the East Aleutian Islands then falling south down the coast of British Columbia and the Pacific Northwest before moving inland over North California while the southern branch continued east over Hawaii and split again with some energy falling due south and most tracking east into Baja. A weak backdoor trough was off Washington offering minimal support for low pressure development there. This is the same pattern that has been in play for weeks now. Over the next 72 hours through Thurs (3/1) the pattern is to generally hold but with the northern branch pushing further north up into the North Bering Sea, then falling south again more vigorous at 130 kts forming a backdoor trough off the Pacific Northwest Coast then pushing inland over Central CA offering some support for gale development. Also a trough is to develop off the Kuril Islands lifting hard northeast also offering support for gale development. Beyond 72 hours the northern branch is to settle down again pushing over the Eastern Aleutians by Sat (3/3) perhaps forming a cutoff low in the Gulf of Alaska offering some support for gale development. But by Mon (3/5) that is to fade and the jet is to be well split with the split point literally 150 nmiles off South Japan with the jet remaining split over the width of the North Pacific with the northern branch tracking up the Kuril Islands and over the Aleutians only starting to consolidate just off the Central CA coast. This does not bode well for gale development but does open the door some to enable precipitation in the California.
On Monday AM (2/26) tiny swell from a gale that pushed off Japan on Sat-Sun (2/18) was fading in California (see Japan Gale below).
A tiny gale previously forecast to develop off the Kuril Islands Sat-Sun (2/25) with 40 kt northwest winds and 26 ft seas never really materialized.
Also swell was pushing south from a small gale that developed in the Northern Gulf of Alaska on Sat PM (2/24) (see Gulf Gale below)
Over the next 72 hours the models suggest a small gale developing off British Columbia Wed AM (2/28) with northwest winds 30-35 kts pushing south and seas building. In the evening winds to build to 35 kts from the north and seas building to 22 ft at 50N 140W. The gale is to be developing just off Vancouver Island Thurs AM (3/1) with 30-35 kt north winds over open waters pushing south with seas 23 ft at 45N 137W in the NCal swell window (308 degs). In the evening the fetch is to fall south some building to 40 kts from the north generating 28 ft seas at 45N 133W aimed south (312 degrees NCal). On Fri AM (3/2) the core of the low is to move over Cape Mendocino CA with fetch fading from 30 kts from the northwest with seas fading from 27 ft at 41N 130W (302 degs NCal). Raw proto-swell possible if all goes as forecast for North and Central CA.
On Fri AM (3/2) a gale is to be developing off the Southern Kuril Islands with 45 kt west winds and seas building to 33 ft at 44.5N 155E aimed east. The gale is to lift northeast in the evening with winds 40 kts from the west and seas 37 ft at 46N 161E. On Sat (3/3) the gale is to be approaching the West Aleutians with winds 35+ kts and seas 34 ft at 49N 168E. In the evening the gale is to be pushing into the West Bering Sea with all seas impacting the Western Aleutians. Low odds of some well decayed swell resulting for Hawaii and the US West Coast. Something to monitor.
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 39 ft over a small area aimed east at 37N 168E. By evening the original fetch was gone lifting hard northeast with seas from previous fetch fading from 30 ft at 38N 175E targeting Hawaii. This system dissipated and lifted north after that.
North CA: Swell to be fading on Mon (2/26) from 2.9 ft @ 13 secs (3.5 ft). Swell Direction: 295 degrees.
North Gulf Gale
On Sat PM (2/24) a gale was in the extreme Northern Gulf of Alaska producing 40 kt northwest winds with seas building from 24-26 ft at 54N 143W and outside the NCal swell window. On Sun AM (2/25) the gale was drifting southeast some with a respectable area of 35 kt northwest winds with seas building to 24-26 ft at 51N 140W and barely in the NCal swell window (319 degrees NCal). In the evening fetch was fading from 30 kts from the northwest with 20 ft at 48N 140W and again barely in the NCal swell window (319 degs NCal). Mon AM (2/26) fetch is to be gone with seas fading from 19 ft just off the Oregon and Washington coast at 44N 132W (319 degrees NCal). Possible north angled windswell to result for the Pacific Northwest down ito Central CA.
North CA: Windswell arrival expected Mon (2/26) late afternoon pushing to 8 ft @ 12 secs (9.0 ft) but shadowed in the SF Bay area. Swell continues early Tues (2/27) fading from 8 ft @ 12 secs (9.0 ft). Residuals on Wed (2/28) fading from 5.0 ft @ 11-12 secs (5.5 ft). Swell Direction: 310-315 degrees
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
No tropical systems of interest were being monitored.
California Nearshore Forecast
On Monday AM (2/26) high pressure northeast of Hawaii at 1040 mbs and low pressure inland over Nevada was driving a north wind flow at 15 kts down the North and Central Coast early building to 30 kts in the afternoon over NCal and 15 kts into Southern CA then. Rain is to be tracking south from Pt Reyes early and points north of there falling to Pt Conception at sunset and Southern CA overnight. Snow was falling in Tahoe early with low snow levels (below Colfax) peaking late AM then expected to fading late afternoon and overnight. 8 inches of accumulation possible at Squaw and Kirkwood with low snow levels. On Tues AM (2/27) the gradient is to continue with north winds 25-30 kts for North and Central mainly a bit off the coast early fading to 15-20 kts in the afternoon and 15 kts early for SCal fading some later. Light rain and snow from a line from Big Sur to Kirkwood southward and down into Southern CA mainly early clearing in San Diego late afternoon. Wednesday (2/28) the gradient is to dissipate and fall south with 15 kt north winds for Central CA early fading to light winds and south winds building for Cape Mendocino late as a gale builds off Oregon. Rain building over Cape Mendocino down to Monterey Bay later. Thurs (3/1) the gale is to fall south of the North Oregon border late afternoon with a front and south winds 15-20 kts pushing south from San Francisco early to Pt Conception late afternoon and Southern CA overnight. Solid rain is to be from San Francisco northward early and light rain to Pt Conception and all that falling south and holding down to Ventura County. Heavy snow building for the entire Sierra through the day lightening some overnight. Friday (3/2) the core of the low pressure system is to be moving inland over the Oregon-CA border with west to northwest winds 20 kts for all of North CA and 15 kts down into Central CA and Southern CA, but lightening to 15 kts or less in the afternoon from Morro Bay southward. Snow continuing for the Sierra but fading some late afternoon for the southern end. Saturday (3/3) light winds 10 kts or less forecast for all of California early with another low building well off the coast. Light rain along the coast early and light snow for Tahoe continuing through the day and evening. Sunday (2/4) light north winds 10 kt are forecast for the entire North and Central CA coast. No precip forecast. Significant snowfall accumulations are possible in the Tahoe area pushing 47 inches at resorts on the crest Squaw and 23 inches down to Mammoth. Monday (3/5) high pressure is to start building with north winds 15 kts for all of North and Central CA.
A gale started developing in the Southwestern Pacific on Sun PM (2/25) producing 50 kt south winds and seas building from 30 ft over a small area at 53S 170W. Mon AM (2/26) 45 kt southwest winds were lifting northeast some with seas to 35 ft at 52S 159W. In the evening fetch is to rebuild at 50 kts from the southwest over a consolidated area with seas to 33 ft at 54S 144W. On Tues AM (2/27) 45-50 kt southwest winds to continue pushing east with seas building to 40 ft at 54S 133W aimed mainly east. In the evening fetch is to continue at 45 kts from the west with the gale falling slightly southeast with seas 42 ft at 55S 124W aimed east. On Wed AM the gale is to fade with 40-45 kt west winds while racing east and beyond the eastern edge of the California swell window with seas 39 ft at 57S 114W. Something to monitor.
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 develop in the Central Gulf on Fri PM (3/2) with 45 kt north winds aimed well at Hawaii with seas building from 30 ft over a tiny area at 45N 162W. On Sat AM (3/3) fetch is to fade from 40 kts from the north with 30 ft seas aimed southeast at 43N 158W. The gale is to fade in the evening with north fetch 30 kts targeting Hawaii well with seas fading from 25 ft at 39N 155W. Sun AM (3/4) fetch is to continue falling south at 30-35 kts over tiny area with 22 ft seas at 37N 154W targeting areas just east of Hawaii. Something to monitor.
Beyond 72 hours no swell producing weather systems are forecast.
More details to follow...
Nino1.2 Region Warming
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 Fri (2/25) 5 day average winds were normal from the east over the bulk of the equatorial Pacific but weak to calm over the Central Kelvin Wave Generation Area west of 175E. Anomalies were neutral over the East and Central Pacific and weak from the west over the Central KWGA.
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): (2/20) This model suggests moderate to strong 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 be in control moderately mainly on the dateline by the end of the model run on 2/27. 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 but possibly allowing high pressure in the east to retrograde west.
Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East
Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:
OLR Models: (2/25) The Inactive/Dry Phase of the MJO was filling the KWGA and fairly strong. The statistical model depicts the Inactive Phase slowly easing east and weakening only incrementally still filling the KWGA through the end of the model run 15 days out. The dynamic model depicts effectively the same thing.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (2/26) The ECMF model depicts the Active Phase of the MJO weak over Africa. It is to fade more and while tracking east into the Central Indian Ocean on day 15 of the model run and incoherent. The GEFS model suggests the same thing.
40 day Upper Level Model: (2/26) This model depicts a solid pulse of the Inactive/Dry Phase in the Central and East Pacific with no sign of the Active Phase anywhere in the Pacific. The Inactive Phase is to push east and beyond Central America through 3/13. A very weak Active Phase to follow in the far West Pacific weakly starting 3/13 and pushing east to the East Pacific and Central America on 4/2. The Inactive Phase is to be developing strongly in the far West Pacific on 4/3. This model runs about 1-2 weeks ahead of what happens at the surface.
CFS Model - 3 month (850 mb wind): (2/26) This model depicts the Inactive Phase was building over the KWGA with weak east anomalies indicated mainly on the dateline and it's to build east and take control 2/27 holding through 3/21 with mostly neutral or light east anomalies forecast in the core of the KWGA. Beyond a weak Active Phase is to follow in the West Pacific starting 3/17 with west anomalies starting to build 3/20 and holding through the end of the Active Phase on 4/12. A weak Inactive Phase to follow on 4/10 but west anomalies are to hold through the end of the model run on 5/26. 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 4/15 with a high pressure bias over the East KWGA at 175E and is to steadily move east and out of the KWGA on 4/3. Basically the La Nina bias is to be gone in 3-4 weeks. But no significant oceanic change is expected until 3 months after the change has taken place in the atmosphere.
CFSv2 3 month forecast for 850 mb winds, MJO, Rossby etc
Subsurface Waters Temps
TAO Array: (2/26) 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 easing east today at 177E 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 25 meters deep or more the whole way east and 50 meters deep at 140W. Anomaly wise in the East Pacific negative temperatures have reestablished over a small area at -2 degs at 130W and 75 meters deep and smaller than days past. Warm anomalies were building in the West at +3.5 degs at 180W down 150 meters and appear to be building east with the dividing line between that and cool waters moving east to 150W. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 2/22 depicts warm water in the west at +4.5 degs reaching east to 150W. Cool water at -1.5 degs was filling the subsurface East Pacific and has significantly lost density and intensity from 160W and points east of there. Those 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: (2/22) Negative anomalies at -5 cms were over the equatorial East Pacific out to 155W all south of the equator and getting progressively diffuse.
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: (2/25) The latest images (1.2 3.4) indicate a generic and diffuse cool pattern in the deep Southeast Pacific aligned W to E at 20S up to the equator. Warm anomalies are holding if not building 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 warm anomalies are developing along the equator from the Galapagos out to 120W. Cool pockets were generally weak and diffuse from there west to 160W and with a smaller footprint than months past.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (2/25): A warming trend is building solidly off South Chile pushing west to the Central Pacific. A weaker warming trend continues weakly off Chile and Peru but strong off Ecuador up to Central America with solid warming advecting west along the equator from Ecuador over the Galapagos and out to 140W. There were no pockets of cooling water over the same area. A steady warming trend is ongoing.
Hi-res Overview: (2/23) A significant erosion of La Nina is underway with warming building in the entire Nino1.2 region. A broad weak cool pocket is still present well off Chile and Peru but more so on the equator from 120W to the dateline, starting to look like a Modoki La Nina than anything solid (meaning the core of La Nina is advecting west). Cool water at depth is still erupting to the surface with the breach point 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: (2/26) Today's temps were rising steadily at +0.636 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: (2/26) Today temps were steady at -0.874. A dramatic rise occurred 1/12-1/28 reaching up to -0.600 deg range. Since then temps have eased off some. Previously 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 (2/26) The forecast depicts temps bottomed out at -0.75 in Nov and have been slowly rebounding since, up to -0.55 in early Feb. The model indicates temps rising slowly to -0.40 in early April, then falling slowly to -0.5 in July then holding, only to rise slightly into the Fall to -0.4 degs in Oct. This suggests the peak of this years La Nina has occurred but a hangover from it is to possibly hold weakly through Summer before fading more in the Fall. This model is the outlier with others suggesting La Nina is to die this Spring.
IRI Consensus Plume: The mid-Feb Plume depicts temps at -0.5 degs and are to slowly rise, to +0.0 in May and +0.3 in August and +0.5 in October. See chart here - link. It looks like La Nina is fading out. 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 (2/26): The daily index was positive today at 21.95. The 30 day average was steady at -6.73 suggesting the Inactive Phase of the MJO was starting to develop. The 90 day average was rising at -0.06 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): (2/26) This index has recovered significantly up to -0.33, up from -1.11 on 1/29. The trend suggests La Nina is gone. 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 through Jan 2018. 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