Tuesday, May 30, 2017
- Buoy 146 (Lanai): This buoy is down and there is no backup site.
- Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 3.5 ft @ 15.9 secs with swell 1.6 ft @ 16.3 secs from 196 degrees. Wind northwest 2-4 kts. Water temperature 63.5 degs. At Ventura swell was 2.6 ft @ 8.5 secs from 273 degrees. At Santa Monica swell was 1.5 ft @ 15.7 secs from 230 degrees. At Camp Pendleton swell was 1.9 ft @ 15.9 secs from 223 degrees. Southward at Pt Loma swell was 2.7 ft @ 15.8 secs from 219 degrees.
- Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 8.7 ft @ 7.7 secs with swell 7.4 ft @ 6.9 secs from 316 degrees and 2.3 ft @ 16 secs from 217 degrees. Wind northwest 21-25 kts at the buoy. Water temp 53.1 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 Tuesday (5/30) in North and Central CA local north wind swell was producing surf at chest high at exposed breaks and warbled and crumbled and nearly chopped by northwest winds early. Protected breaks were thigh to waist high and crumbled and weak and almost chopped. At Santa Cruz New Zealand swell was producing sets waves at head high to 1 ft overhead and lined up and clean and reeling. In Southern California up north local windswell was producing surf that was thigh high and clean early. In North Orange Co New Zealand swell was producing surf to chest high and clean early but fairly soft. In South Orange Co New Zealand/southern hemi swell was producing sets to shoulder high and clean but very slow. In San Diego surf was waist high and clean but mushy and slow. Hawaii's North Shore was flat and clean. The South Shore was still getting small southern hemi swell with waves waist high or so and clean and lined up. The East Shore was getting no east windswell with waves near flat and clean with light east trades.
See QuikCASTs for the 5 day surf overview or read below for the detailed view.
On Tuesday (5/30) swell from a modest gale previously south of New Zealand that produced up to 35 ft seas aimed northeast was hitting exposed breaks in California well. A modest sized gale developed in the Central South Pacific on Thurs (5/25) producing 31 ft seas for 15 hrs aimed somewhat to the northeast. Possible swell to result from California southward by the weekend. A far weaker gale was trying to develop in the same place on Tues (5/30). In the Northern Hemisphere weak low pressure started generating 15 ft seas in the Gulf of Alaska Sun-Mon (5/29) offering one last push of windswell from the north for HI and CA. Otherwise no local windswell is forecast for Hawaii (east windswell) until Thurs (6/1) and for California not until Sunday (6/4).
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
On Tuesday (5/30) weak low pressure was circulating in the Gulf of Alaska but producing no fetch of interest. High pressure was between Hawaii and California producing no fetch relative to Hawaii and a northerly flow at 20 kts pushing down the North and Central CA coast making for junky local modest sized windswell. But that gradient is to fade on Wed (5/31) as the high retrogrades west and windswell fading with it.
Over the next 72 hours relative to Hawaii, a weak pressure and wind pattern is in control until Wed (5/31) when high pressure sets up north of Hawaii starting to generate east trades at 15 kts targeting east facing shores of all Islands through Sat (6/3) resulting in small east windswell.
Relative to California, with the high retrograding west and positioned north of Hawaii, no local windswell producing fetch is to be in-play along the California coast.
Gulf Low Pressure
On Sunday (5/28) a weak low pressure system developed 900 nmiles north of Hawaii Sat PM (5/27) starting to get traction on the oceans surface with seas to 15 ft at 40N 166W. By Sun AM (5/28) that fetch was falling southeast still producing 25-30 kt west winds and seas building to near 16 ft at 39N 1161 somewhat targeting Hawaii. In the evening more of the same is forecast with the fetch moves east of Hawaii with seas to 15 ft at 38N 154W. By Mon AM (5/29) the gale is to be gone. Maybe some windswell to result for exposed northwest facing shores of Hawaii.
Hawaii: Expect swell arrival late Tues (5/30) at 2.7 ft @ 11 secs (3.0 ft) continuing on Wed (5/31) at 2.7 ft @ 10-11 secs (2.5-3.0 ft). Swell Direction: 340 degrees
North CA: Expect swell arrival on Thurs (6/1) pushing 4 ft @ 10-11 secs late morning (4.0 ft). Swell fading Fri (6/2) from 3.7 ft @ 10-11 secs (3.5-4.0 ft). Swell Direction: 287 degrees
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
No tropical systems of interest are being monitored.
California Nearshore Forecast
On Tuesday (5/30) weak high pressure at 1022 mbs was southwest of Pt Conception and ridging into the Central and North coasts produce northwest winds at 15-20 kts reaching northward up to Cape Mendocino. On Wed (5/31) low pressure moves towards the Pacific Northwest from the Gulf of Alaska with north winds 20-25 kts limited to Pt Conception and generally light from Monterey bay northward. Thursday more of the same is forecast. Then on Friday (6/2) new high pressure is to start building into the coast with northwest winds 20-25 kts for all of North and Central CA by afternoon. The gradient is to build some on Sat (6/3) with north winds 20-25 kts solid for all of North and Central CA building over the Channel Islands later. The gradient and winds to build Sun AM (6/4) with north winds 30-35 kts for all of North CA and up to 25 kts for all of Central CA. By Mon (6/5) the gradient is to edge northward with 35 kts north winds still over North CA but starting to retract from the coast of Central CA later but still 15 kts. Finally Tuesday (6/6) the gradient is to lift north winds north winds 30 kts isolated to Cape Mendocino with an eddy flow (south winds) expected for Central CA northward to Bodega Bay.
On Tuesday AM (5/30) a split zonal flow was in effect with the northern branch tracking east on the 26N latitude line and the southern branch running east on the 62S latitude line. A weak trough was over the Southeast Pacific but being fed by only 90 kts winds offering minimal support for gale development. Over the next 72 hours that trough is to ease east and east of the California swell window by early Thurs (6/1) and still weak and unlikely to support gale development. Beyond 72 hours starting Sat (6/3) the trough like pattern in the Southeast Pacific is to fade out with a fully split zonal flow taking over (the two stream running due east and parallel to each other with no troughs indicated) and winds very light in the influential southern stream continuing into Mon (6/5). Perhaps a trough is to start building south of New Zealand on Tues (6/6) being fed by 140 kt winds pushing north offering some hope for gale development in lower levels of the atmosphere.
On Tuesday (5/30) modest swell from a gale that developed under New Zealand was hitting California (see New Zealand Gale below). Also swell from a gale previously in the South Central Pacific was tracking north towards California (see South Central Pacific Gale below). And another gale developed behind that in the Southeast Pacific possibly sending tiny background swell towards CA (see Southeast Pacific Gale below).
Over the next 72 hours no swell producing fetch of interest is forecast.
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.
Southern CA: 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: Swell continues on Tues (5/30) at 1.8 ft @ 15-16 secs (2.5-3.0 ft). Swell fading on Wed (5/31) from 1.6 ft @ 14-15 secs (2.0-2.5 ft).Swell Direction: 214 degrees
South Central Pacific Gale
A gale started developing in the Central South Pacific on Wed PM (5/24) with 40 kt southwest winds over a small area building and seas building. On Thurs AM (5/25) the fetch built in coverage with southwest winds 40 kts and seas to barely 28 ft at 52S 151W. In the evening fetch was starting to fade from 40 kts over a broad area with 31 ft seas at 56S 155W aimed decently to the northeast. Fri AM (5/26) the fetch faded from 35 kts but pushing well to the north-northeast with seas fading from 27 ft at at 54S 147W. In the evening this system was gone. Possible small swell to result mainly for the US West Coast down into Central and South America.
Southern California: Expect swell arrival on Fri (6/2) building to 2.3 ft @ 18 secs late (4.0 ft). Swell is to build on Sat (6/3) to 2.6 ft @ 17 secs early (4.5 ft) holding through the day. Swell continues on Sun (6/4) at 2.6 ft @ 15-16 secs (4.0 ft). Swell fading on Mon (6/5) from 2.5 ft @ 14-15 secs early (3.5 ft). Swell Direction: 197 degrees
North CA: Expect swell arrival on Fri (6/2) building to 1.8 ft @ 18-19 secs late (3.0 ft). Swell is to build on Sat (6/3) to 2.1 ft @ 17 secs late (3.5 ft). Swell continues on Sun (6/4) at 2.1 ft @ 15-16 secs (3.0 ft). Swell DIrection: 195 degrees
Southeast Pacific Gale
A small gale developed in the South Central Pacific Mon PM (5/29) producing a broad area of 35 kt southwest winds and 26 ft seas at 54S 142W aimed northeast. On Tues AM (5/30) fetch was fading from 30-35 kts with seas 28 ft at 51S 135W aimed well to the northeast. The gale to fade from there while quickly moving east out of the California swell window. Tiny background swell is possible for California down into Central and South America.
Southern CA: Expect swell arrival on Tues (6/6) at 1.8 ft @ 16 secs (3.0 ft). Swell Direction: 193 degrees
North CA: Expect swell arrival on Tues (6/6) building to 1.6 ft @ 16-17 secs (2.5 ft). Swell Direction: 191 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 high pressure is to hold northeast of Hawaii Sun (6/4) generating east trades at 15+ kts perhaps generating more minimal short period east windswell for exposed East Shores, then fading on Mon (6/5) with windswell dropping with it.
That high pressure system is also forecast to start ridging into North California later on Sat (6/3) producing a pressure gradient and north winds to 30-35 kts over Cape Mendocino by early Sun (6/4) and continuing into Mon (6/5) resulting in modest north windswell at exposed breaks in North and Central CA. The gradient is to be fading early Tues (6/6) with windswell fading with it.
Beyond 72 hours a gale is forecast developing under New Zealand on Sun AM (6/4) with west winds building to 40 kts and seas to 28 ft at 60S 156E aimed east over a small area. By the evening that fetch is to hold and track east with seas building to 31 ft at 60S 172E. On Mon AM (6/5) fetch is to be fading from 35 kts from the west with seas fading from 27 ft at 61S 176W. Possible small swell to result mainly for California and points south of there with sideband swell for Hawaii.
More details to follow...
Inactive MJO Still In Control - South America SSTs Continue Cooling
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 Monday (5/29) east winds were over the entire equatorial Pacific including the Kelvin Wave Generation Area. Anomalies were neutral in most locations but modest easterly in the KWGA and over the far East Pacific.
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): Moderate to strong east anomalies were over the KWGA but forecast to quickly fade by 6/2 and neutral at the end of the forecast period (6/6) with west anomalies starting to develop in the KWGA. This suggests the Inactive Phase of the MJO is pulsing over the KWGA, but is to start fading soon thereafter.
Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East
Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:
OLR Models: As of 5/29 a modest Inactive/Dry Phase of the MJO was over the West Pacific drifting east. The statistic model projects the Inactive Phase is to die 7 days out with a weak Active/Wet pattern taking control and holding for the second week of the forecast run. The dynamic model depicts the Inactive Phase dissipating 8 days out before redeveloping in week 2.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (5/30) The ECMF model indicates the Active Phase of the MJO was modest over the Central Indian Ocean and is to build while moving to the Maritime Continent 1 week out, then collapsing while moving into the West Pacific 2 weeks out. The GEFS depicts much the same thing but the Active Phase collapsing before it reaches the West Pacific. These models run about a week ahead of what occurs down at the surface.
40 day Upper Level Model: (5/30) This model depicts a moderate Inactive Phase over the Central Pacific moving into Central America 6/4. A weak Active pattern to follow in the West Pacific 6/4 tracking east into Central America 6/29. The Inactive Phase to follow modestly in the West Pacific 6/24 moving up to Central America 7/9. This model runs about 2 weeks ahead of what happens at the surface.
CFS Model - 3 month (850 mb wind): (5/30) This model depicts a weak version of the Inactive Phase of the MJO was on the decline over the Central KWGA with light east anomalies in play in the KWGA. Beyond the Inactive Phase is to fade out on 6/7 with weak west anomalies developing then holding even though the Inactive Phase is to repulse slightly around 6/25. The Active Phase of the MJO is to fully develop in the West Pacific on 7/9 with building west anomalies, getting solid 7/15 and holding decently through 8/10, fading some into 8/27 (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 7/17 mainly just east of California rather than over the KWGA. Best guess is a very weak directionless pattern is to set up post La Nina and it will take 3-5 years 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: (5/30) Actual temperatures remain stratified with warm water in the West Pacific at 30 degs at 158E. The 28 deg isotherm line is steady at 145W. The 24 isotherm reaches Ecuador down at 40 meters and is building to 90 meters at 140W. Warm anomalies are building to +3 degs in the East Pacific and +1 deg 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 5/23 depicts that warm water is in the East Pac at +2 degs. And the warm pocket at 180W down 150m is fading from +1-2 degs. Something that almost resembles a warm pattern is 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 and that pattern is only getting more pronounced. The GODAS image appears to be about 1 week behind the TAO data.
Sea Level Anomalies: (5/23) +5 cm anomalies are along the coast of Peru and Ecuador but small in coverage. In the west 0-5 cm anomalies are retreating from the KWGA moving west. A tongue of warm water previously reaching to 120W has vanished with only one pocket of weakly positive heights remain at 125W. 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: (5/29) The latest images (1.2 3.4) indicate a generalized warm pattern is still present along outer waters along the coasts of Northern Chile and Peru north to Ecuador then extending west over the Galapagos and out to sea out to 160W. But the warmth in this entire area is fading significantly compared to a few weeks ago. Upwelling along the immediate coasts of Peru and North Chile continues to build with weak cool anomalies extending from Ecuador out to the Galapagos. 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 with most warming now from 120W and points west of there. La Nina is gone and the El Nino like pattern that was trying to build is now backing off compared to 2 weeks ago.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (5/29): A cooling trend continues off Ecuador over the Galapagos out to 100W with very weak cooling along immediate Chile and Peru. This replaces a warming trend over the same area 2 week ago. A warming trend is present in the Northern Hemi from a point off California pushing over Hawaii and reaching west to the Philippines. But overall nothing remarkable is indicated.
Hi-res Overview: (5/29) A solid warm regime holds from Chile north to Ecuador and west to 160W 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: (5/30) Today's temps have stabilized but much cooler than weeks before at -0.469, down from the peak of +3.0 degs on 3/18.
Nino 3.4 Daily CDAS Index Temps: Today (5/30) temps were building some, up to +0.589 degs.
CFSV2 Forecast for Nino3.4 SST Anomalies
SST Anomaly Projections
CFSv2 Uncorrected Data (5/30) The forecast has temps steady at +0.5 degs today into mid-June then falling to +0.2 in early Aug rebuilding to +0.3 degs in Oct, then falling to neutral 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 Coupling (Indicating the presence of El Nino in the atmosphere driven by the ocean):
Southern Oscillation Index (5/30): The daily index was falling from +12.20. It has been positive for 6 days. The 30 day average was rising at +0.66. The 90 day average was rising at -0.52 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): (5/30) Today's value was falling at -0.69 or trending back to La Nina. 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