Wednesday, May 24, 2017
- Buoy 146 (Lanai): This buoy is down and there is no backup site.
- Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 3.2 ft @ 14.7 secs with swell 2.1 ft @ 14.8 secs from 183 degrees. Wind northwest 10-12 kts. Water temperature 63.0 degs. At Ventura swell was 1.2 ft @ 13.7 secs from 215 degrees. At Santa Monica swell was 1.9 ft @ 14.4 secs from 213 degrees. At Camp Pendleton swell was 1.5 ft @ 12.9 secs from 204 degrees. Southward at Pt Loma swell was 2.3 ft @ 14.5 secs from 201 degrees.
- Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 7.4 ft @ 12.5 secs with swell 4.3 ft @ 13.1 secs from 261 degrees. Wind south 4-6 kts at the buoy. Water temp 53.4 degs.
46006, 46059, 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 Wednesday (5/24) in North and Central CA Gulf swell was producing surf at head high at exposed breaks and lined up but heavily textured by south winds and mushed. Protected breaks were waist to chest high and clean. At Santa Cruz tiny southern hemi swell was hitting with sets waist to chest high and clean. In Southern California up north surf was hear flat with rare thigh high sets and heavily textured early. In North Orange Co southern hemi swell was producing surf at waist to chest high on the sets and clean early. In South Orange Co surf was waist to maybe shoulder high on the sets and clean early but real slow. In San Diego surf was thigh to maybe waist high at best breaks and clean weak, mushy and slow. Hawaii's North Shore was getting the last bit of energy from the Western Gulf with waves head high and a little ruffled early by northeast trades. The South Shore was waist high and clean. The East Shore was getting east windswell at chest high and chopped from east trades.
See QuikCASTs for the 5 day surf overview or read below for the detailed view.
On Wednesday (5/24) small swell from a low pressure system that previously circulated northwest of Hawaii producing 18 ft seas was fading in the Islands and starting to hit California making for rideable surf there. Looking beyond and in the Southern Hemi on Fri (5/19) a modest gale developed south of New Zealand with up to 35 ft seas aimed northeast. Small swell from it is pushing northeast. A modest sized gale remains forecast to develop in the Central South Pacific on Thurs (5/25) producing 30-32 ft seas aimed somewhat to the northeast. And windswell is to return to North and Central CA on Wed-Thurs (5/25) driven by the usual pressure gradient over Cape Mendocino, then fade out. Weak low pressure is to generate 15 ft seas in the Gulf of Alaska Sun-Mon (5/29) offering one last push of windswell from the north of HI and CA. Then things get real quiet both north and south.
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
On Wednesday (5/24) high pressure at 1040 mbs was in the Northern Gulf of Alaska starting to generate the usual summertime pressure gradient with north winds forecast building to 35 kts over North Cape Mendocino mid-day and holding until Thursday AM (5/25) when they start fading from 30 kts and barely 25 kts by late afternoon. At no time are those winds to reach any further south than Point Arena. An increase in local north windswell is likely for exposed breaks in North and Central CA starting later Wednesday and holding into later Thursday (see QuikCASTs for details).
Also swell from low pressure that previously tracked east from the dateline was fading out in Hawaii and starting to hit the US West Coast (see Western Gulf Low below).
Over the next 72 hours after the gradient above subsides over North California a weak pressure and wind pattern is to set up offering no swell producing fetch.
Trades relative to Hawaii are to fade below 15 kts east of the Islands by early Wed (5/24). Windswell from previous fetch is to be fading out later in the day. A weak pressure and wind pattern is to set up later Thursday (5/25) and continue.
Western Gulf Low
Low pressure started developing in the Western Gulf of Alaska on Thurs PM (5/18) producing 30 kt west winds over a small area northwest of Hawaii and seas to 19 ft at 43N 180W. The gale moved east Fri AM (5/19) with west winds building in coverage at 30 kts and seas 19 ft at 42N 175W. In the evening a decent sized fetch of 30 kt northwest winds continued aimed well at Hawaii with seas 21 ft at 42N 170W targeting the Islands well but also aimed at the US West Coast. On Sat AM (5/20) the gale was in the Central Gulf with winds fading from 25 kts from the northwest and seas 19 ft at 40N 165W targeting Hawaii and the US West Coast. Fetch started fading in the evening from 25 kts with 15 ft seas at 37N 162W. The gale dissipated after that. Windswell for Hawaii and the US West Coast with arrival in Hawaii on Mon (5/22). Something to monitor.
Hawaii: Residuals on Wed (5/24) fading from 2.5 ft @ 10 secs (2.5 ft). Swell Direction: 325-335 degrees
North CA: Expect swell arrival on Wed (5/24) early at 3.2 ft @ 12-13 secs (4.0 ft). Swell fading early Thurs (5/25) from 2.4 ft @ 11 secs (2.5 ft). Swell Direction: 290 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 (5/24) high pressure at 1040 mbs in the Gulf of Alaska was ridging into Oregon starting to generate northwest winds at 25 kts with a core to 35 kts over Cape Mendocino producing north windswell but with light winds south of Pt Arena and an eddy flow (south winds) from Bodega Bay southward. Thursday the high and associated gradient to fade with north winds dropping from 30 kts over Cape Mendocino down to 25 kts late and a light flow if not eddy flow from Pt Arena southward. And by Friday light winds at 10 kts or less take over all of North and Central CA (eddy flow continuing early). Southern CA is to be protected with light winds through the entire period. More of the same on Saturday with light northwest winds for north and Central CA. By Sunday (5/28) high pressure is to start building off the US West Coast with north winds at 10-15 kts early building to 15-20 kts later along the entire North and Central coasts. Monday northwest winds build to 20 kts for all of North and Central CA with Southern CA remaining protected. Tues (5/30) the high is to start fading as low pressure builds in the Gulf of Alaska with north winds 15-20 kts for North and Central CA. The high and associated northwest winds to collapse more on Wed (5/31) at 15-20 kts limited mainly to Pt Conception.
On Wednesday AM (5/24) a split zonal flow was in effect with the northern branch tracking east on the 24N latitude line and the southern branch running east on the 62S latitude line. A weak trough was developing over the Central South Pacific being fed by only 90 kts winds offering only weak support for gale development. Over the Southeast Pacific the northern branch was falling southeast merging with the southern branch forming a large ridge pushing south to Antarctica from 150W and points east of there heavily suppressing support for gale development there. Over the next 72 hours the ridge is to push south and fade by Fri (5/26) while the trough from the west starts moving over the same area but winds feeding the trough are to still be weak at 90 kts offering only minimal support for gale development. Beyond 72 hours a weak ridge is to start building under New Zealand on Sat (5/27) sweeping east into Tues (5/30) with the trough moving east and fading over the Southeast Pacific. By Wednesday (5/31) the ridge is to fade out with a zonal split jetstream pattern again taking shape with the northern branch running east on the 27 S latitude line and the southern branch on the 60S line and nary a trough to be found. No support for gale development is projected.
On Wednesday (5/24) small swell from a gale that developed under New Zealand was tracking northeast but has a long way to go before reaching land (see New Zealand Gale below).
Over the next 72 hours a gale is forecast developing in the Central South Pacific on Wed PM (5/24) with 40 kt southwest winds building and seas building. On Thurs AM (5/25) the fetch is to build in coverage with southwest winds 40-45 kts and seas to barely 30 ft at 52S 152W. In the evening fetch is to start fading from 40 kts over a broad area with 32 ft seas at 56S 153W aimed decently to the northeast. Fri AM (5/26) the fetch is to fade from 35 kts but pushing well to the north-northeast with seas fading from 31 ft at at 54S 144W. In the evening fetch is to fade from 30-35 kts from the southwest over a broad area with seas fading from 24 ft at 51S 142W. this system is to be gone after that. Possible small swell to result mainly for the US West Coast down into Central and South America. Something to monitor.
New Zealand Gale
Another gale developed Thurs AM (5/17) southwest of New Zealand with winds 40 kts from the south-southwest and seas building from 29 ft at 54S 157E. The gale built some in the evening with a broad fetch of 35 kt south winds with 45 kt embedded south winds taking shape south of New Zealand with seas 33 ft at 49S 165E almost impacting Southern New Zealand and shadowed by New Zealand not offering swell potential for Hawaii or California. By Friday AM (5/19) the gale eased east some with 45 kt secondary fetch generating south winds a bit southeast of New Zealand with 35 ft seas building at 56S 168E targeting New Zealand, Hawaii and California (200 degs HI, 214 degs NCal and unshadowed, 215 degs SCal and shadowed). The fetch lifted northeast in the evening fading from 35 kts with a modest sized area of 29-30 ft seas at 51S 174E (198 degs HI, 216 degs NCal and unshadowed, 217 degs SCal and partially shadowed). Fetch faded Sat AM (5/20) from 30-35 kts from the south with 27 ft seas fading at 46S 176E pushing north-northeast. This system dissipated thereafter. Possible swell to result for Tahiti, Hawaii and California.
Hawaii: Expect swell arrival late on Fri (5/26) building to 1.4 ft @ 17-18 secs (2.5 ft). Swell building on Sat (5/27) to 2.4 ft @ 16 secs (3.5-4.0 ft). Swell fading on Sun (5/28) from 2.1 ft @ 14-15 secs (3.0 ft). Swell dissipating Mon (5/29) from 1.6 ft @ 13-14 secs (2.0 ft). Swell Direction: 198-200 degrees
Southern CA: Expect swell arrival on Mon (5/29) with swell 1.6 ft @ 17 secs early (2.5-3.0 ft). Swell continues on Tues (5/30) at 1.9 ft @ 15-16 secs (2.5-3.0 ft). Swell fading on Wed (5/31) from 1.6 ft @ 14 secs (2.0-2.5 ft). Swell Direction: 218 degrees
NCal: Expect swell arrival on Mon (5/29) with swell 1.5 ft @ 17-18 secs early (2.5 ft). Swell continues on Tues (5/30) at 1.7 ft @ 15-16 secs (2.5 ft). Swell fading on Wed (5/31) from 1.3 ft @ 14-15 secs (2.0 ft).Swell Direction: 214 degrees
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 in the North Pacific another low pressure system is o develop over the dateline on Sat PM (5/27) starting to get traction on the oceans surface. By Sun AM (5/28) that fetch is to be falling southeast still producing 25-30 kt west winds and seas building from 14 ft at 45N 178W somewhat targeting Hawaii. In the evening more of the same is forecast with the fetch moving closer to Hawaii with seas to 15 ft at 42N 173W. By Mon AM (5/29) the gale is to start lifting northeast with winds fading from 25 kts and seas 14 ft at 38N 166W targeting Hawaii. Maybe some windswell to result for exposed northwest facing shores late Tues (5/30).
Perhaps this system is to regenerate some on Tues (5/30) in the Northeastern Gulf with winds 25-30 kts and seas 15 ft targeting the US West Coast. Small windswell is to best possible outcome.
No swell producing fetch is forecast.
More details to follow...
MJO Inactive - SSTs Cooling in Nino1.2
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.
KWGA/Equatorial Surface Wind Analysis & Short-term Forecast:
Analysis (TAO Buoys): As of Tuesday (5/23) east winds were over the entire equatorial Pacific including the Kelvin Wave Generation Area. Anomalies were neutral everywhere including the KWGA.
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): Weak anomalies were over the core of the KWGA. The forecast suggests moderate to strong east anomalies building over the KWGA through 5/31 (the end of the run). This suggests the Inactive Phase of the MJO is to pulse again over the KWGA and solid and not moving.
Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East
Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:
OLR Models: As of 5/20 a neutral pattern was indicated with the Active/Wet Phase of the MJO over the Maritime Continent drifting east. The statistic model projects the Active Phase moving from the Maritime Continent into the West Pacific over the next 2 weeks. The dynamic model depicts the Active phase dissipating and the Inactive Phase redeveloping over the West Pacific 1 week out and holding near the dateline. These models are diametrically opposed.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (5/21) The ECMF model indicates the Active Phase of the MJO was weak over the east Indian Ocean and is to move to the Maritime Continent 2 weeks out and modest in strength. The GEFS depicts the same thing. These models runs about a week ahead of what occurs down at the surface.
40 day Upper Level Model: (5/24) This model depicts a very weak and ill defined pattern in control. A weak Inactive Phase is to track over the West Pacific 6/3 into Central America through 6/23. An even weaker Active pattern to follow in the West Pacific 6/23 tracking east through 7/3 and beyond. In short, the MJO is to be very weak and almost indiscernible. This model runs about 2 weeks ahead of what happens at the surface.
CFS Model - 3 month (850 mb wind): (5/24) This model depicts a weak version of the Inactive Phase of the MJO was over the Central KWGA with light east anomalies in play in the KWGA. Beyond the Inactive Phase is to fade out on 6/9 with weak west anomalies developing then ad holding. The Active Phase of the MJO is to develop in the West Pacific on 6/29 with building west anomalies, getting solid 7/15 and holding decently through 8/21 (the end of the run). This is likely overstated as the model has been teasing at west anomalies for months and yet they never develop. The low pass filter indicates La Nina is to hold on in the KWGA till 6/11 (previously 5/6-5/8). The model now hints at La Nina weakly redeveloping 7/21. Best guess is a very weak directionless pattern is to set up post La Nina and it will take 5 years or more for the Pacific to recharge from the 2014-16 El Nino.
CFSv2 3 month forecast for 850 mb winds, MJO, Rossby etc
Subsurface Waters Temps
TAO Array: (5/24) Actual temperatures remain stratified with warm water in the West Pacific at 30 degs at 155E. The 28 deg isotherm line is easing east to 145W. The 24 isotherm reaches Ecuador down at 30 meters and is building to 90 meters at 140W. Warm anomalies are cooling from +2 degs are in the East Pacific and +1 degs anomalies are in the West Pacific down at 100m. continuous 0 to +1 degs anomalies stretch from the west to the east. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 5/18 depicts that warm water is in the East Pac at +3 degs in a small pocket. And a warm pocket at +2-3 degs is at 180W down 150m moving east with a steady stream lifting up into the East Pacific. Something that almost resembles a warm pattern taking shape. The concern is there is not much warm water in the far West Pacific to feed any sort of a progressive Kelvin Wave pattern. The GODAS image appears to be about 1 week behind the TAO data.
Sea Level Anomalies: (5/18) +5 cm anomalies are along the coast of Peru and Ecuador but small in coverage. In the west 0-5 cm anomalies are over the KWGA easing east to about 175W, but no further east. A tongue of warm water previously reaching to 120W has vanished with only one pocket of weakly positive heights at 130W. A neutral to weak warm trend was suggested per this imagery.
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: (5/23) The latest images (1.2 3.4) indicate a generalized warm pattern is still present along the outer coasts of Northern Chile and Peru north to Ecuador then extending west over the Galapagos and out to sea out to 160W. But all the pockets of significant warming present 1 week ago are gone and the overall pattern is showing clear signs of cooling everywhere over the South Pacific. Upwelling along the immediate coasts of Peru and North Chile continues to build slightly. Looking at the large picture, warming in the southern hemi that extends east thousands of miles off the coast of South America as far south as 20S or more has backed off over the entire area. It is not well defined. La Nina is gone and it looks like an El Nino like pattern that was trying to build is now backing off compared to 2 weeks ago.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (5/22): A stronger cooling trend is developing along immediate Chile and Peru extending off Ecuador over the Galapagos out to 110W. This replaces a warming trend over the same area 1 week ago. A marked warming trend is present in the Northern Hemi from a point off North California pushing north of Hawaii and reaching west to the Philippines. Overall nothing remarkable is indicated.
Hi-res Overview: (5/22) A solid warm regime holds from Chile north to Ecuador and west to 140W and less energetic out to the dateline. It looks like El Nino is trying to develop and making headway into the Nino3.4 region. Overall waters of all oceans of the planet are warmer than normal. Suspect climatology needs to be updated to reflect this new reality, or the recent Super El Nino has significantly redistributed heat across the oceans.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (5/24) Today's temps have stabilized but much cooler than weeks before -0.519, down from the peak of +3.0 degs on 3/18.
Nino 3.4 Daily CDAS Index Temps: Today (5/24) temps were fading some, down to +0.171 degs.
CFSV2 Forecast for Nino3.4 SST Anomalies
SST Anomaly Projections
CFSv2 Uncorrected Data (5/24) The forecast has temps steady at +0.5 degs today into July then falling to +0.4 in Aug rebuilding to +0.5 degs in Oct, then falling to +0.2 degs in Dec-Jan 2018. This suggests normal to weakly warm pattern developing for the Winter of 2017-2018. CFS data suggests a Modoki style warming pattern over the dateline this Fall and Winter. La Nina is over and a return to normal temps appears to have occurred in the ocean. There is no source for greater warming with the warm pool in the far West Pacific pretty weak. Much recharging and heat buildup is required for a real El Nino to develop. We're at least 5 years out from that.
IRI Consensus Plume: The mid-May Plume updated (5/19) depicts temps are warming and are now at +0.5 degs. A slow increase in temps is forecast thereafter to +0.7 degs in Aug and holding through Dec, then falling to 0.6 degs in Jan. This is +0.1 degs warmer than the April forecast and +0.7 degs warmer than the January forecast suggesting La Nina is over and a warmer regime is setting up. See chart here - link. The NMME consensus depicts peak temp to +1.0 degs Nov through Jan.
Atmospheric Decoupling (Indicating the presence of El Nino in the atmosphere driven by the ocean):
Southern Oscillation Index (5/24): The daily index was falling to -5.27. It has been negative to 2 days. The 30 day average was rising at -2.33. The 90 day average was rising at -1.78 or just south of neutral. This suggests a return to ENSO neutral conditions has taken hold.
ESPI (like SOI but based on satellite confirmed precipitation. Positive is good, negative bad): (5/24) Today's value was steady at -0.32 or basically normal. A peak low was reached on 11/2 at -1.94, the deepest of the past La Nina event. This measures atmospheric response, not oceanic.
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): Jan 2017 = +0.10, Feb = +0.03, March = +0.09, April=+0.52 . This continues to look like the warm phase of the PDO. 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. 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